Mystery Shops

Improving Lead Conversion

How are your onsite leasing teams performing? Ellis’ apartment mystery shopping services give all of the data and reporting you need to monitor your leasing performance and measure it against your established expectations, historic performance, and the performance of other properties, companies and markets across the country.

What specific action can you take to get the best results for your properties? Once you have objective feedback on leasing performance, you’re in a better position to assess performance and take action for improvement as needed. Ellis provides you with valuable tools, training and resources to help you quickly reinforce strengths and address any problem areas.

Shopping Products Tailored to Your Needs:

Ellis offers a variety of mystery shopping services which can be used individually or in combination. Ask us to recommend what would be most helpful for you.

Telephone and Onsite Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a customer (mystery shopper) conducting a telephone shop of the apartment community and an in-person visit to the community
  • Provides objective and timely feedback on the telephone and onsite leasing presentation

Telephone Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a prospect (mystery shopper) placing a telephone call to the apartment community
  • Evaluates skills for converting telephone calls to onsite visits

Internet Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a prospect (mystery shopper) completing an online form (through an Internet listing service/property website) linked to a specific apartment community
  • Evaluates timeliness and quality of response to Internet leads and also helps identify technical and SPAM issues

Video Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a prospect (mystery shopper) conducting a telephone shop and who is equipped with a hidden video camera to conduct an in-person visit to the apartment community *
  • Provides audio and visual understanding of the telephone and onsite presentation.

Virtual Leasing Experience Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a prospect (mystery shopper) placing a telephone call to the apartment community
  • Evaluates telephone and virtual tour skills, assessing the whole virtual leasing experience

Self-Guided Tour Shop

  • Begins with an individual posing as a customer (mystery shopper) either conducting a telephone shop of the apartment community or setting an appointment online and conducting a self-guided tour onsite
  • Provides objective and timely feedback on the self-guided tour experience

Show of Success

  • 8,000 Shops Monthly
    By shopping approximately 8,000 apartment communities every month over 82% of NHMC’s Top 50 companies nationwide, we help provide insights into industry trends and where our clients can make the biggest impact.
  • Over 1MM Shops
    Over 1 million mystery shops on apartment communities across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Latest Technology
    Continual reinvestment in the latest technology and education to improve services and products, keeping us abreast of industry trends that can give our clients an advantage.
  • Comprehensive Tips Library
    Robust online library features over 100 training tips and performance enhancers.
  • Service Oriented Team
    Operations team of 80+ team members who coordinate the shop program, communicating details to our clients and shoppers.
  • Shopper Accessibility
    Extensive reach to 6 Million+ shoppers nationwide (U.S. and Canada)

Comprehensive Shopping Reports

Ellis offers the most comprehensive shopping reports available. Keeping in mind that the customer’s experience now plays a factor in their decision to rent at your community, Ellis has added a Customer Experience component to each shopping report. The Customer Experience component reaches beyond the factual, objective feedback of the mystery shopping report, allowing expression of those subjective, emotional and powerful reactions of the customer’s interaction to be shared with you. The valuable feedback includes a Customer Experience rating – 1 to 5 stars – and is offered at no additional charge as a complementary enhancement to your mystery shopping reports.

Each shopping report includes:

  • Fair and unbiased feedback
  • In-depth written evaluation
  • Audio and/or video recording (optional)
  • Powerful technical and emotional/customer interaction reporting
  • Ellis’ exclusive Customer Experience 5-star rating evaluation
  • Targeted online performance-based training modules
  • Accurate, prompt, and professional review of every shopping report
  • Real-time reporting on our customer dashboard
  • Summary data reporting and download capability
  • Participation in our exclusive quarterly Ellis Benchmark

Shop Report Notifications

We deliver alert-based reporting via e-mail and real-time dashboard reporting based on permission levels.

Push Reporting

  • Completed Shop Report
  • Quarterly/YTD Summary Reporting
  • Quarterly Ellis Benchmark Reporting

Real-time Dashboard Reporting

  • Understanding trends by shop type and by section
  • Prioritizing action items/accountability through color-coding
  • Understanding performance by region, VP, RM, etc.
  • Understanding top and bottom performers
  • Understanding technique and customer experience by question
  • Providing access to historical shop data by onsite team member
  • Providing access to action planning/training modules
  • Offering data exportable as PDF and XLS


Have you ever wondered how your leasing professionals compare to those in comparable management companies nationwide? Our nationwide benchmarking program lets you know just that, by evaluating performance on several key metrics across our entire database of mystery shops and resident surveys each calendar quarter. We also maintain a database of historical results for all benchmarks.

In a data driven world, companies are continually utilizing various metrics and benchmarking to understand their overall performance. Ellis has been in the business of customer feedback for the multifamily industry for over 30 years, providing mystery shops, resident surveys and online feedback tools. Throughout our history, Ellis’ customer feedback tools have continued to evolve to support and measure leasing performance and customer experience throughout the customer’s journey with you.

Benchmarks for the original mystery shop and more recent resident survey programs will remain separate, but will be published in a combined quarterly letter, recognizing top performers in both programs.

Benchmark Historical Results


Benchmark Calculation

  • Traditional – 10 objective industry benchmark questions
  • Customer Experience – 9 subjective benchmark questions based on 5- star rating

Participation Requirements

  • 30 or more completed, eligible shops in the calendar quarter (all shops, including video, that contain the 10 key questions will be considered eligible)

Ranking and Placement Guidelines

  • Tier 1: 70 or more shops per calendar quarter
  • Tier 2: 30 to 69 shops per calendar quarter
  • Platinum winners for each Tier will be the only companies identified in the benchmark letter. At least one of the benchmarks outlined below must be met to qualify as “Platinum”.
    • Traditional Benchmark Score for Platinum: 97% to 100%
    • Customer Experience Benchmark Score for Platinum: 4.6 to 5.0

The 10 Ellis Traditional Benchmark Questions:

These 10 key questions must be included in the shopping report form for any company who wishes to participate in the Ellis Benchmark.

  • Setting an Appointment
  • Obtaining a Telephone Number
  • Positive First Impression
  • Identifying the Prospect’s Specific Needs
  • Discussing and Showing the Property
  • Condition of the Apartment Shown
  • Selling of the Apartment Features & Benefits
  • Overcoming Objections
  • Asking for a Deposit
  • Would the Prospect Lease from that Associate

The 9 Ellis Customer Experience Benchmark Questions:

  • The community amenities struck me as:
  • The upkeep of common areas throughout the property was:
  • The leasing professional came across as:
  • The level of engagement by the leasing professional was:
  • The leasing professional’s attempt to relate the home to my needs and interests was:
  • The way the home and community were presented by the leasing professional was:
  • Based on my experience, the thought of calling this community home was:
  • What the property offered in exchange for the rental rate was:
  • I envision the quality of life here based on the amenities and features offered as:

Implementing a Mystery Shopping Program

Mystery shopping allows you to collect objective and qualitative “real life” data on the experience of your customers from their perspective. Through this technique, you can gain a more dynamic picture of customer service and identify key areas for improvement, making it easy to identify what changes you want to put in place.

Ellis can show you how to:

  • Plan your mystery shopping program
  • Establish a mystery shopping budget
  • Select a mystery shopping company
  • Establish expectations and goals for the program
  • Develop a mystery shop template
  • Establish a mystery shopping schedule
  • Utilize the mystery shop results as coaching tool
  • Refine training courses based on mystery shop results

You Should Know

Creating a positive customer experience makes a huge difference to your bottom line.  For instance, a poor leasing performer needs at least 150% more leads than a top performer to convert a telephone call to a visit.