What’s better than a birthday?

Here at Above Benchmark, we love birthdays. What’s not to love about getting together with your team, indulging in cake and showering someone with gifts to mark another year of life? Birthdays are awesome and a fantastic excuse to celebrate.

But do you know what we love around here, even more than birthdays? Work anniversaries. They take the cake, so to speak.

For most businesses, work anniversaries usually stay under the radar and until recently we haven’t done anything to mark the milestones. It was about this time last year, Belinda our Scheduling Extraordinaire popped a post on Facebook saying “Happy 1st Work Anniversary to me!” full of pride and excitement. It was at that moment my heart sank. How could one of my valued employees be tracking her work anniversary and I wasn’t? I felt awful! It was at that moment I did some serious reflecting on what my team here at Above Benchmark really meant. I’d be lost without them! I searched through all employees records and marked their work anniversaries on my calendar and set reminders so I’d never miss one again.

A work anniversary is the BEST celebration of all. It’s a golden opportunity for the employer to really let the team member know what they mean to the business. It’s a chance to check in to make sure they are happy in their role and feel supported. It’s also a perfect time to set new goals for another year of employment. Let’s not forget, it’s also another reason to have cake and connect on another level.

Last week was Belinda’s 2nd work anniversary and I didn’t miss it. While we didn’t have cake, we took time out of the office, had amazing coffee and reflected on the year that was and the new projects she would like to head up over the next 12 months.

We’re on a quest to share more about what we do behind the scenes of our Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction services. We’ve recently started a News feed page on our website, just for updates like these that don’t really belong on a Blog, but that shareworthy in their own right. I’ve compiled a few interview-style questions and I’ll be sitting down with the team to go one-on-one over the coming months. I’m really looking forward to introducing more of our team to you all.  And yes, I’ll be having a go too!

For now, I’d love to introduce you to Belinda.  She’s had an incredibly positive impact on our team in the 2 years she’s been working with us. I hope you enjoy learning more about her.

What did you do before joining Above Benchmark?
I worked in the public sector (local, state and federal government) for 19 years. Most of that time was spent in marketing and communication roles. In 2009, I followed my passion for good nutrition and exercise and started a personal training business. I spent the next 8 years helping women achieve their health and fitness goals.    

What prompted you to apply for a position with a Mystery Shopping company?
I was looking for part-time work I could do while still running my personal training business. I needed a challenge and a new focus. When I read the Above Benchmark ad, it sounded perfect. I liked the role description and thought it would enable me to utilise skills from my previous roles. The working conditions sounded great and after speaking with Jen, I had an appreciation for the role that Mystery Shopping plays in improving the customer experience and increasing sales.

How would you describe your daily role at Above benchmark?
It really depends on where we are at in the month. At any time, I could be reviewing applications and deciding which shoppers will do which surveys or looking to hire new shoppers. There’s a lot of texting and emailing to fill vacant assignments or follow up on overdue assignments. Each month, I also plan for the month ahead (setting the shopping dates and administration dates for the team), review the client orders for the month, list the surveys and write the newsletter.

What do you love the most about what you do?
It may sound strange, but I love that each month the role itself is essentially the same. I like that we work in a cycle of prepping the month, listing the jobs, filling the jobs, hiring, reporting and then back to prepping again. But I love that even though the cycle is repeated each month, no two months are the same. There are new challenges each month, and a range of projects on the boil to improve the business and bring in more clients. Jen runs a tight ship and what impressed me most about her business was how organised everything was. I love a good system, so this role is perfect for me.

What frustrates you the most about what you do?
There are two!

1) Mystery Shoppers who cancel at the last minute. We understand things happen and people occasionally need to cancel but when lots happen at the last minute, it takes me away from other important work and can be stressful at the end of the month when we are running out of time.

2) Mystery Shoppers who just flake on a survey. Occasionally we have shoppers who don’t even let you know they can’t keep their commitments, we just never hear from them again. This really frustrates me because I like to be positive and give people the benefit of the doubt. Some Mystery Shopping providers tend to treat their shoppers like numbers whereas we pride ourselves on having open and honest communication with our team. We take this lack of communication quite serious and terminate shoppers when this happens.

If you could make an appearance on any TV show, what would you choose and why?
A lifestyle program. I’d probably be talking about reducing waste, redecorating, art and craft, healthy cooking or camping.

When you’re not working, how do you love to spend your time?
Camping/fishing in northern New South Wales.
Making my own cleaning products and toiletries and working towards a zero-waste home.
Sewing – I run a small business (Bunny loves Teddy), custom-making clothing for girls. www.instagram.com/bunnylovesteddy 


Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
In 3 years, I hope to be living in Newcastle (closer to family and closer to the ocean). From a work perspective, I hope to still be working with Jen and the team at Above Benchmark.

Thanks to Belinda for sharing that behind the scenes snapshot.  We certainly hope she’s still working with us in a few years time, even if it is from Newcastle! While we can’t do a lot about Mystery Shoppers who cancel or flake on their surveys, we’re so pleased to have never missed a client deadline. Thankfully,  there are always other shoppers willing to step up at the last minute and help us out!

If you would like to learn more about Mystery Shopping or if you have a question you’d like to see one of our team members answer during our next one-on-one, please reach out.

We’d love to hear from you.