Mystery Shops as a Performance Boosting Tool

Performance Boosting Tool

How can you use Mystery Shops as a Performance-Boosting Tool? EPMS has been mystery shopping apartment communities nationwide for almost 40 years.  If you or your team are being shopped, we have many training tips available to help you ace it!  Implementing a mystery shopping program in your company is an investment in both time and money, but it can yield great rewards. 

Why do we do mystery shops?

The purpose of mystery shopping is “to help an associate understand what the company expectation is for the prospect experience, and how their performance meets or exceeds this.  Then coach. That’s it!”  ~ Joanna Ellis, CEO, Multifamily visionary, and creator of the Ellis Mystery Shop Program.

Mystery shopping is not intended to judge or intimidate people.  The goal is to let people know exactly what the company wants and give a snapshot of how they are doing in their individual performance.  Reviewing the results shows areas for improvement and reinforces existing areas of success.  Mystery shopping is meant to help you.  If the perception in your company is that mystery shopping is a trap, be the person to change that mindset, whether you are the supervisor or the associate who was shopped.

If you have just been shopped, how do you respond?  Do you look over it?  Do you discuss it with your manager, get emotional, and panic?  Did you know that every shop completed on an Ellis standard shop form has a link to a coaching tool on it?  It’s part of our mission for mystery shops as a performance-boosting tool!  Most of our clients who use a customized form also have a custom coaching tool. 

Follow-up and coaching tools can help easily evaluate strengths and weaknesses identified in your shop.  You can set goals for yourself and plan a timeline for any action items.  If you are a supervisor, provide a date, uninterrupted time, and a private location to review shop results with the shopped team member.  Setting a firm appointment for review in a non-conflict time will reduce their sense of dread.

When viewing your own shop report, look at the questions you missed.  If you focus on the few items you missed, chances are good that everything else will fall into place.  If you need additional training or resources, note it and make a plan when reviewing the shop with your supervisor.  Be specific in your personal plans to improve on any weaknesses that were pointed out in the shop.

If you are a manager reviewing a shopping report in a coaching conversation, here are some tips to make the review process smoother and more beneficial as a performance-boosting tool:

  1. Focus on two positives and two opportunities.  Don’t get bogged down in the details or let some comment or observation make you lose your focus.  Keep it simple and straightforward.
  2. Respectfully review and collaborate on the performance.  Be respectful of the team member’s time, and always remember what you are trying to achieve. 
  3. Listen carefully to your team member’s feedback and give them your full attention.  Develop a clear, concise action plan based on what you discover in your conversation.

FOCUS!  Focus like a S.T.A.R!

  • ST: Situation or Task – Stay on a topic related to this situation or task.  Don’t get off on a tangent.  Determine the obstacles you need to overcome to reach your goal.  Look at the opportunities (missed questions) first and how that impacted your score. 
  • AR: Action or Result – What will be done differently going forward to achieve the desired result?  What resources will help you toward that goal?  Being able to engage in collaborative conversations will benefit the well-being of your entire team.

Reviewing Mystery Shops as a performance-boosting tool as part of a development conversation will make your team thrive!

Don’t let this become a scary conversation that everyone dreads. 

  • Good leaders help by looking at the performance and then providing guidance.
  • You were hired because you were interested in providing a great customer experience with your company mission in mind.
  • You know what you need to do but ask for resources like training, mentoring, etc., to help you achieve that goal.  A simple change like putting rollers on a chair may make it more natural to stand up when greeting guests.
  • The sky is the limit when you change your mindset!

If your company has a mystery shopping program in place, keep in mind that it is a training resource that is intended to help you develop your skills and build your career.  It is not a trap or a headhunting mission.  View mystery shops as a performance-boosting tool to help you and your team achieve your goals.

Presented by:

Rachelle Ellington
Performance Stategist
Ellis | Edge2Learn