Healthwatch Islington has a number of volunteers who have been trained to be mystery shoppers. They visit health and care providers anonymously, acting as though they are using the service.
This enables the mystery shoppers to assess how well the providers perform, in terms of customer service and information provision. Mystery shoppers complete questionnaires after each visit, recording their findings.
Mystery shopping only shows us how the provider is performing on that particular day. Mystery shopping is also subjective, as shoppers record their personal view of how they are treated by the provider they visit. But it is great tool to use when we want to explore specific services in more depth. We often use it in combination with other types of research.
- We then write a report about what the mystery shoppers find out during their visits.
- The report will make recommendations for improvement, and also highlight good things about the service.
- Healthwatch Islington works with service providers to make positive changes based on our recommendations.
- We also use mystery shopping to measure improvement in services we have already looked at.