Mystery shopping services can be a vital training tool for people in the leasing industry, where building customer relationships is key. When it’s been used in the past, the secret shoppers have uncovered problems most often when the professional is speaking with someone on the phone or communicating via the Internet. A mystery shop determines that the professional is not really carrying on a conversation or is not really familiar with the rental communities. The services of a mystery shopper can unveil some of these problems and provide ongoing measurement to be used for training purposes.

A mystery shopping program such as Customer Perspectives can provide a clear picture of how your customers are actually being treated in real time situations, not just when the regional manager is visiting, for example. If you’re considering taking on a customer satisfaction service such as mystery shopping, here are 10 things to consider:
1) When deciding what a mystery shopper should look for, make sure it’s an expectation that you have properly documented in, say, the employee training manual.
2) You’ll want the shopper to ask questions that are short and direct.
3) What you ask the shopper to do should change with the times—keep it current.
4) Ask the mystery shopper to go beyond customer service and notice other aspects of the business that are important—store hours, associate interaction, store greeters.
5) A mystery shop can include observing how often a cashier offers add-ons to the customer.
6) Consider increasing the mystery shopping intervals at locations that are under-performing.
7) Don’t restrict when a mystery shop can occur. This might create artificial conditions that would not tell the true story.
8) Ask a mystery shopper to comment when he/she notices positive customer service, not just negative experiences.
9) Look for automated email notifications from your mystery shopping service, so that you are alerted in certain circumstances, customized by you.
10) Make sure the organization has a robust online reporting that will help you identify trends.