This blog will hopefully answer some of your questions of why schedulers can sometimes get crabby when the shops don't get completed (We're sorry - but we want to do the best for our clients we can possibly do!) I will try to cover how we handle overdue shops, as well as why we sometimes can't offer extensions, even if it's early in the month.
This morning, as I was sorting through overdue shops (172 of them to be exact), I thought to myself,"Maybe these shoppers just don't realize what kind of time frame we are working on or how important it is for the shops to get done." I also thought, they really don't know what is involved for companies and schedulers, so I thought I would let you know our process. I can't vouch for all companies, but I am sure it's probably similar. We can't expect you to follow the rules, if we don't tell you what they are!
Many of our clients are monthly shops, so we do have SOME flexibility SOMETIMES. However a good number of our clients are weekly or have different shop periods that are not necessarily monthly. You may have shops you regular do that we've allowed extensions 3 times for. It doesn't mean we will be able to on that 4th time, even if it's the beginning of the month.
Before we remove overdue shops, we look for "clues" that indicate whether the shop has been done or the shopper has intended to do it. We go through many steps to make sure that the shopper didn't complete it before removing it. It's our worst nightmare to have to reschedule shops, so we would much rather work with shoppers to get their reports in.
Daily Process of Handling Overdue Shops:
1) First, we check to see if the assignment has been "accepted". We ask shoppers to accept, as a way for us to know that they did acknowledge the shop. If it has not been accepted, we may remove it right away.
2) When did the shopper login last? We can see this on the back end. If the shopper is overdue, by even just a little bit, it's concerning to us if they haven't logged in for a week. If they had just logged in, we'll set that one aside and give it some time before we take any action.
3) Has the shopper opened up the shop to review it? If they haven't opened it up, we know for certain that they didn't do the shop, because they wouldn't have been able to review the questions. A shop might be different from one month to the next, so it's always necessary to look at a report to make sure there are no changes to the instructions.
4) Has this shopper "flaked" on a shop before? Do they have a history of signing up for shops and not completing them? We check out the history to see how many times the shopper has completed shops, versus how many times they have declined or not completed shops.
5) Has the shopper emailed or called? We always check through our emails to make sure there isn't one from a shopper with a problem or question.
6) Has the survey been partially filled out? Are there attachments or recordings?
7) Lastly, if we do nothing with these, the system will eventually remove them if they sit there too long.
Do We Have a Rhyme or Reason for Due Dates? The Answer is YES!
Q: Why, at the beginning of the month do I see shops just due 2-3 days later, only to see them keep getting scooted out further and further throughout the month?
A: There couple be lots of reasons we don't have a big window. It could be a client that we do multiple shops for per month, so have to make sure they are staggered throughout the month so we don't have multiple shops in the same day. They could be a client that we shop different periods instead of by month. Or, it could simply be because we want to get them done and to make sure we have them done by the end of the month. Now, I know it sounds like we have lots of flexibility when we have the whole darned month to get them done in, right? To give an example, I just removed a high end fitness clothing shop, with great pay for the 5th time. I've scheduled it to 5 shoppers, all with a 4 day window. They have all not completed to the shop, so now we are getting to the end of the month and I'm looking for the 6th shopper. Hoping the 6th time is a charm!
What happens to shoppers that don't complete shops?
Q: Are shoppers that do not complete shops still offered shops?
A: The answer is both yes and no. Sometimes, we are downright desperate to get a shop completed so we will give shoppers a 2nd and 3rd and sometimes even a 4th chance. However, if we do have a shopper that has never let us down, they will have first priority. We have set up our system so that any shopper can request any shop. However, once a shopper has a history of not completing or declining shops, they are not able to self assign shops that are self assign shops any more. We then will approve them on a case-by-case basis. We don't do it to be "mean" or spiteful, however, it's something we have to do so we can make sure that we can keep our clients happy!
Q: What does the client do when a shop doesn't get done?
A: That depends! Some clients go elsewhere. They ask for bids from our competitors. Sometimes they are understanding. Sometimes they aren't. If we had a client that we frequently did not get 100% of their shops done, there is a good chance we would lose them.
I hope this helps you understand why we do what we do when we have to remove a shop! Please remember, it's nothing personal!
How much is your restaurant losing at closing time?