Mystery Shopping: Secret Agent Man

October 11, 2005

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Fly to a fine hotel. Stay for a couple of nights. Eat at all the resturants and have a drink at the bar. Be sure to lay by the pool and visit the gym. Finally, stop by the casino and do some gambling. We will pick you up at the airport and pay for everything.

Sounds great so far.

Then answer 2,118 multiple choice questions and prepare detailed narratives of everything you have done, carefully noting and commenting on any deviation from the exhaustive standards of an international corporation committed to consistant worldwide excellence. Be sure to include the name, height, age and hair color of each and every bellhop, housekeeper, server, bartender, dealer, cashier, pool attendent, shop keeper, valet, driver and concierge you come into contact with. Note their greeting and whether they smiled. Did they thank you and ask you to come back again? In the resturant were you offered a beverage (other than water) within 2 minutes of being seated? In the casino, did they announce and wait for approval on every bill change of $100? Were dirty towels by the pool stored out of sight of guests? Do all the faucets in all the bathrooms work? Are there at least 10 hangers of which 5 are skirt hangers and are there additional satin hangers in your closet? Were the lights dimmed and music left on after turndown service? Is the sign for the ice machine clearly visible and clean? Was your request for a wake up call answered within 3 rings? Was the call itself delivered with in 3 minutes of the requested time?

Now you are beginning to get the idea of what it means to be a mystery shopper.

I have spent the last few days at the Park Hyatt, in Mendoza, Argentina as a guest of the management, but not even my hosts knew I was there. I am pleased to report that even though it was a long weekend, one of the busiest leisure weekends on record according to the Buenos Aires Herald, and the hotel was completely full every night, it was a wonderful place to be. Like any large organization with scores of employees, not everybody was perfect and not every service was flawless, but in general it was excellent. That is hardly a surprise from an organization committed enough to hire a company to send people around the world monthly to visit and evaluate their hotels.

Businesses large and small talk about a commitment to customer service. The very best organizations actually mean it! From small independent restaurants to large multinational chains they hire companies to “shop them”. Mystery shopping companies, like Service Sleuth, have an army of detailed-oriented note takers willing to go under cover and tell companies how they are really doing.

My assignment was admittedly a plum! You´ll generally have to start at the bottom, driving to a furniture store in the sticks on a Sunday to report on how they are doing. If you prove yourself as careful, punctual and reliable you´ll soon find yourself getting paid a few bucks (and more importantly having your expenses covered) while you go to the movies or out to eat.

As a business owner, I believe that if you can´t measure, you can´t manage. Mystery shopping is the tool that lets businesses measure. As an individual, I love the idea of getting something for nothing, but each and every time I do a shop, I am struck by how much work it is. Soyan and I have together spent atleast 40 hours completing the detailed evaluation forms, and that doesn´t even take into account all the time doing the actual evaluations, but if you´d like to take a shot at being a mystery shopper visit Shurlock and click on new shopper signup.

1 Comment »

  1. Mystery Shopping: Secret Agent Man

    Fun job!…

    Trackback by Office Max! — October 12, 2005 @ 10:57 pm

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