Most people have experienced the ‘pass-off’. In a world where customer service no longer seems to be a priority, being passed off to someone else for assistance seems insignificant most of the time, but it can also make us feel as though we are not important. As a Mystery Shopper, emotions are not impacted as much when we are passed off to someone else – but frustration is felt almost immediately.
Once a mystery shop is accepted, several attempts are made at various times to reach our targeted leasing agent on the telephone. When we finally make contact, we adjust our schedules accordingly to be sure that we don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet with that specific agent. We set up a timeframe to meet and we allocate additional time to get there so that we are able to locate the community and arrive promptly at a time when we know the target will be there. Prepared and focused we enter the leasing office, make contact with our target leasing agent who then passes us off to another associate explaining that ‘so-and-so’ will be taking us on a tour of the community. Because we are professional and cannot jeopardize our identity as mystery shoppers, we proceed with the non-targeted agent – frustrated that the process will no longer go as planned.
Although it is easy to be disappointed when this happens, you can ease your frustration by keeping an open mind and understanding that:
- IT HAPPENS. There might be numerous reasons why you are being passed off to another associate – ‘Your target leasing agent just doesn’t feel like assisting you’ is more than likely NOT one of them.
- Leasing offices are busier than most people realize. Leasing agents don’t just ‘lease apartments,’ they are part of a team that is managing a multi-million dollar asset that hundreds of people just happen to call ‘home’. Residents can be demanding and require attention, some more often than most. It just might be that one of those residents is requesting to meet with your target agent about something that cannot wait and the meeting has suddenly been set to occur during your scheduled tour. Try looking at it this way: Because your target agent wants to ensure that you get the full attention you deserve and that you experience an uninterrupted tour, he/she might arrange for another associate to ‘take care of you’.
- Many communities are managed by one company and owned by another. Despite what we might want to think, owners tend to look at the financial side of the business and leave the management and customer service to the management company that runs the community. Because owners are not always aware of what goes on minute-by-minute in the leasing office, there will be times when they have questions that need answers. It just might be that your target agent is the community manager who passes you along to a leasing consultant when you arrive. Try looking at it this way: Your target agent is probably juggling multiple tasks – despite his/her good intention of setting an appointment with you to tour the community, somewhere on the other side of the country a board room full of executives is looking at data and numbers and needing information specific to the community you are shopping – and they need it yesterday. Your target agent is now in the ‘hot seat’ and is needed by numerous people who are unable to wait. Because this kind of information cannot be delegated and your targeted leasing agent believes that you are an important priority, you are put into the capable hands of a fellow associate who is available and can focus completely on you and provide you with the best possible service.
There are multiple scenarios that may result in you being handed-off to another leasing professional. Most leasing agents are professionally trained to give their full attention to the customer coming through their door. By understanding that leasing associates and community managers have multiple responsibilities and often experience countless interruptions on a daily basis, we can better appreciate that ‘hand-off’ that happens from time-to-time. Complete the mystery shopper report on the agent that you were passed off to and be sure to document what took place, what was said and if you noticed anything going on that might have caused it.
Because it does happen from time to time, by looking at the pass-off differently, we can ease our frustration and focus on the overall shop so that we accurately report what we initially set out to accomplish, even if we miss that opportunity to meet with the targeted agent.
As you dive down into the trenches, you will find there are numerous nuances that are the part of any job and ultimately, its your education and/or experience that will determine your success as a mystery shopper or in any other field! There are many mystery shopper tips provided on this site that will help get you on the fast track to success. Try the “10 commandments of mystery shopping”.