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Mystery Shoppers Ltd is a customer experience consultancy, specialising in using mystery shopping programmes to achieve clients’ objectives; usually, continuous improvement, compliance or competitor monitoring.

With over 27 years’ experience, Mystery Shoppers Ltd has grown one of the biggest panels of mystery shoppers in the UK with over 260,000 mystery shoppers and a large panel of professional video shoppers.

Mystery shoppers are trained to present as genuine customers and can carry out assessments on various points of contact such as:

  • Face to face visits (standard visits or audio/video recorded)
  • Telephone
  • Social media and webchat
  • Email and letter
  • Website and app

For improving staff performance, mystery shopping programmes have proved to be more cost-effective than customer service refresher training. MSL is one of the few specialist mystery shopping companies flexible enough to tackle the largest and most complex UK, European and international projects as well as successfully completing micro programmes for smaller companies.

Automotive, Catering/Hospitality, Charities/Voluntary, Finance/Investment – Personal, Gambling/Online Gaming, Government/Local Authority, Insurance, Public Services/Utilities, Retail, Telecommunications, Transportation, Travel/Tourism, Wellness/Fitness
Consultancy, Event Evaluation, Group Discussions/Focus Groups, In-Home/Doorstep Interviews, In-Store Interviews, Mystery Shopping, Online Results and Data Portals, Retail Audits, Telephone Interviewing, Web Usability Research
Business-to-Business, Competitive Intelligence, Consumer, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction, International, Online Panels, Opinion Polling, Pricing, Social Media
Affluent, College/University Students, Digital Consumers, Disabled People, Ethnic Minorities, Hard-to-Reach, Senior Citizens, Unemployed, Women, Youth/Teens
Africa, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Northern/Western Europe, Republic of Ireland, UK, USA, Worldwide
Senior Contacts

Paul Grafton (Chairman)
Sophie Grafton ( Managing Director)
Matthew Pepperell (Director of Client Services)

Breakdown of Personnel

Admin/Support staff: 26
Executive/Research staff: 29
Non-research: 3
Data processing: 5
Telephone interviewers: 30
Telephone managers/supervisors: 1
Total Number of Employees: 51 to 100

Addresses

Dalton House
60 Windsor Avenue
London
SW19 2RR
Tel: +44 (0)207 0426390
Email: enquiries@mystery-shoppers.co.uk
Establishment date: 1991

International House
Waldon Way
Holsworthy
Devon
EX22 6ER
Tel: +44 (0)1409 255025
Fax: +44 (0)1409 255026
Email: enquiries@mystery-shoppers.co.uk
Establishment date: 1991

International Addresses

Mystery Shoppers Botswana
PO Box 47356
Plot 5681 Office 7C
Broadhurst,
Gaborone
Botswana
Tel: 00267 3162612
Email: enquiries@mystery-shoppers.co.bw

Mystery Shoppers Kenya
Eden Square,
7th Floor,
Chiromo Road,
P.O. Box 856 - 00600 Nairobi,
Tel: +254 203 673 567
Email: enquiries@mystery-shoppers.co.ke

Mystery Shoppers Myanmar
4(C), 46(A), Pantra Street,
Dagon Township,
Thingangyun Township,
Yangon
Myanmar
Tel: +9595002021
Email: sales@mystery-shoppers.com.mm

How Mystery Shopping can be Part of the Solution for Local Authorities

Mystery shopping can (if implemented correctly) not only give a good picture of strengths and weaknesses but it can also be the most effective mechanism for addressing any weaknesses found.

Operational managers will almost certainly agree that getting large groups of staff to change their behaviour is extremely difficult and takes a considerable amount of time and effort.  This is even more so when staff are spread over a large number of units.  We have, however, proven that mystery shopping used as a Continuous Improvement Programme can achieve more change in a shorter timescale than even very expensive options such as staff training courses.

This is because so often the reason staff are not complying with the laid-down Customer Service Standards is not because they don’t know how to do their job, nor because they are taking a slack approach, but simply because they don’t get regular feedback.  They may be rushing a transaction because they are concerned about the number of calls waiting to be answered, or by the length of the queue in front of them.

They may not be able to tell the difference between an external and an internal call.  They may not realise that even if there is only one person in the queue, but they need to complete the documentation for the last person they saw before dealing with the next, that an apology for keeping them waiting would be appropriate even if the wait was only for two minutes.

Using mystery shopping as a Continuous Improvement Programme gives individual staff feedback so they know how they come across to their customers.  We all know we should be proactive in telling staff when they’ve done a good job as well telling staff when we see something that could be handled in a more effective way.  Mystery shopping assessments can provide just that – a piece of paper which gives supervisors and managers an excuse to talk with an individual staff member about their personal customer service style.  Whether it’s a pat on the back or a discussion on how the situation could be handled better next time it will have a beneficial effect as long as everyone understands it’s about everyone trying to improve rather than an exercise in catching people out.

What can Mystery Shopping offer to local authorities?

Primarily, as with commercial organisations, mystery shopping is used to measure both the tangible and intangible elements of the customer experience. Such measurement is important because (as they say) “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.

Mystery shopping can be used to measure service levels met by customers using all the usual communication channels –

  • Telephone enquiries (contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, call handling, transfers)
  • Out-of-Hours calls (what do callers meet when ringing out of office hours, what facilities are there for leaving messages and how quickly are they called back)
  • Callbacks (returned calls in response to messages left on answerphones or voicemail during office hours)
  • Language line (what facilities are there for callers who do not speak English?)
  • Textphone / Minicom (contactability, speed of answering etc)
  • Fulfilment track (how reliably and quickly is material requested by phone received by post?)
  • Emails and social media (contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, language, layout)
  • Webforms (as for emails)
  • Websites (are telephone numbers and email addresses shown valid and up to date? How useable is the site? How quickly can simple tasks be achieved?)
  • Face-to-face (are premises easily accessible, well-signed, clean and in good condition, how welcoming are staff, how smart, was there a wait and if so how long, how well did staff handle the enquiry?)
  • Letters (contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, language, layout)

We can also offer call recordings, high quality digital face-to-face recording and covert video visits.  This will allow your staff to watch/listen back to the experience and see for themselves exactly how the interaction went. This is a fantastic training tool as good examples can be shared across the company.

Increasingly, local authorities are trying to direct a lot of the contact to their websites, which is hugely efficient when done right. We’re able to arrange for assessments to be carried out on the website that can be  videoed and include audio from the user where any thoughts and frustrations can be shared throughout the experience.

Our Experience

Mystery Shoppers Ltd have extensive experience in working with Councils. Since 2004, our benchmark and bespoke programmes have provided data for training purposes and result in measurable outcomes in a standardised, easy to utilise format.

 “(the project*) has helped me gain valuable insights into our face-to-face and phone channels. Importantly, their data are supported by an excellent suite of analysis tools.”.” Barnet London Borough

"I was very impressed working with Mystery Shoppers when developing plans to support our new Customer Experience Strategy. I received really useful help from the organisation on how to translate our requirements into an approach that was robust and would deliver what we wanted." Enfield Council

“The results are used for improving our services and to help encourage customer centric service planning. The mystery shopper findings are particularly useful for services when the outcome might determine the satisfaction of a user with a service. For those services it is very useful to have an impartial assessment of our services.” Gedling Borough Council

Source: Mystery Shoppers Ltd Solutions

“Working in partnership with Mystery Shoppers Ltd. has been a pleasure. The staff are knowledgeable and passionate and their work has helped me gain valuable insights into our face-to-face and phone channels. Importantly, their data are supported by an excellent suite of analysis tools. I have no hesitation in recommending their services.”

Barnet London Borough

"I was very impressed working with Mystery Shoppers when developing plans to support our new Customer Experience Strategy. I received really useful help from the organisation on how to translate our requirements into an approach that was robust and would deliver what we wanted. We were also able to work flexibly with them as information gathered in early waves led us to consider new aspects and it was encouraging that our requests to flex were positive met by the company. I would rate them very highly in terms of customer care and expertise in their field and recommend them to organisations seeking a partner to work with who can help them improve their business through customer focused programmes."

Enfield Council

"Gain Credit's partnership with Mystery Shoppers Ltd has been valuable and insightful. The data produced has been high quality and it has significantly helped us to develop our procedures and improve the quality of service we offer our customers. The team are proactive, innovative and professional. I have no hesitation in working with Mystery Shoppers again for our next project."

Gain Credit

"Mystery Shoppers have provided me with a tailor made mystery shopper programme to measure my business performance. They were quick to understand my priorities and offer customisable solutions to meet my business needs. They are incredibly helpful and have made the process so simple. The programme has helped identify focus areas that I have been able to work on and improve my shops performance."

Royal Trinity Hospice

"Unilever uses mystery shopping as one of the key measures for its consumer care operation. Since 2004 we have carried out regular campaigns to ensure that our consumer service targets have been achieved by our call centre. The programme was developed in conjunction with Mystery Shoppers. Their input was invaluable in ensuring that appropriate measures and scoring criteria were adopted. This covers both hard measures (e.g. time to answer call) and soft skills (did the caller feel valued?). Calls are made to our own advisers and to competitor’s carelines. The ongoing support from Mystery Shoppers has helped us to enhance the criteria used to give more differentiated feedback. They have also been on hand to help with interpretation of data and to advise on how this can be used to deliver improvements. I am convinced that the use of this programme has helped us to deliver a better service for our consumers.”

Unilever

"Battersea have been working for the past three years with Mystery Shoppers Limited. This has been and continues to be a successful and an enjoyable relationship. One of the deciding factors in choosing MSL over other agencies was the availability of shoppers across the UK to facilitate visits to our third party agency fundraisers working on private site locations across England and Wales. The added bonus has been the exemplary customer service and the attention to detail provided by the whole team who look after our account. There is always someone there at the other end of the telephone to answer any concerns or queries that we may have. Due to the nature of fundraising, we have lots of daily changes to our territory site list and the team are quick to respond to any requests for site visit cancellations that are made. Similarly, changes or additions to our report questions are well accommodated. The portal to access the reports is user friendly and updated regularly and the option to receive pdf alerts when the report is ready is particularly useful to respond to any urgent issues arising from sub-standard mystery shops. I would highly recommend working with Mystery Shoppers Limited."

Battersea

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