Mystery Shopping Starts at the Top

There was a really interesting aticle in the Daily Mail today about Linda Jackson, the first female to become the head of French car manufacturer Citroën:

‘They ignore me and turn to my husband’: British Citroen boss, 58, reveals how she ‘has faced sexism in showrooms and sales staff who ignore her’ when she goes mystery shopping

This article is interesting in that Jackson spoke to the Mail about how she has been the victim of sexism in showrooms and how sales staff have ignored her. The reason why she experiences this is that she continues to be a mystery shopper, despite the level she has reached.

Very few people who become the head of such a large organisation continue to explore the customer experience to this degree. But Jackson’s comments in the Mail are extremely revealing:

Mrs Jackson said: ‘You do learn a lot about how the customer is treated. Sometimes you go into a showroom with your husband and they just turn to your male partner and say, ‘how would you like to spend your money?’

‘This is what we need to change. We want to make it easier for anyone to buy a car.

‘When women go into a dealership, they want to touch, feel and drive the car. They don’t want hard pressure. It’s not about being a woman. It’s about how I would want to be treated as a woman.’

When it comes to research, there are many different forms and types available, and when a company carries our a range of both qualitative and quantitative research, the insights can be invaluable. But this focus on the customer experience must also be lived at the very top of an organisation, and when the leadership have such a close connection to the real experience, and not just that which is being reported, it can help to improve not just sales and growth, but lead to real and profound changes in the way we treat one another.

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