The Benefits of Mystery Shopping

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Many managers usually ask us, “Why do we need mystery shopping?” or “How will mystery shopping benefit our hotel?”We are here today to answer these questions for you and more.Let’s start with the most basic, but very important question of, “What is Mystery Shopping?”To TrueGuest, mystery shopping is a training and observations tool for managers.With shoppers acting as normal customers writing detailed reports about the service they experienced, managers are able to get the rare glimpse of the service from a guest’s perspective.Mystery shopping provides a great look at the service a hotel provides that you, as a manager cannot personally see.By using these reports, a service improvement training program can be implemented with the proper accountability.How often do you train and train on service standards only to get poor “official” scores on guest service?How do you know where to begin to find out what went wrong?Mystery shopping reports provide that accountability tool for managers.They can find out exactly what is or is not happening that creates poor service.

magnifying_glass1There are many hotels that tell us, “We are doing well in our guest service scores, so we do not need any mystery shopping!”To those hotels, we say, “Congratulations!”But think of it this way; who fills out those comment cards that you regularly base your success on?The guests that take the time to fill out the comment cards are almost always either the guests that had a wonderful visit or the guests that had a completely terrible visit. This probably accounts for only 1% of your total guests.What you are essentially saying is that you do not care about how any of the guests in between feel; a good 99% of them.You are risking the loyalty of the guests that you provided below-average service to, who did not feel like filling out your comment cards.How would your corporate office respond to that?Comment cards are like a crapshoot; you hope that you get “good” guests this month and that they give favorable scores.Why not turn that crapshoot into a sure thing?Mystery shopping provides an unbiased, objective look at your service at any given time.Managers are then able focus on keeping service consistently high by pinpointing and correcting any service deficiencies instead of waiting for a guest to comment on them.Unfortunately, they probably will have chosen another hotel by then.

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TrueGuest Service Tips for Every Hotel!

Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_Hospitality copy2We are very fortunate to be able to stay at some of the top hotels, including some amazing five diamond properties.  While your hotel may not have the staffing budget of a five diamond hotel, there are still plenty of service tips that everyone can learn from the five diamonds.

Here are some tips for providing five diamond service that does not cost much:

  1. Teach all of your associates the phrase ‘my pleasure’:  When a guest says ‘thank you’, associates at top properties always respond with ‘it is my pleasure’.  Other properties respond with ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘no problem’.
  2. Every associate must be guest focused instead of task focused:  At a three diamond hotel, a housekeeper held up the elevator that I was in to wait for her friend so they could go to lunch together.  The next day at a five diamond, an engineer who happened to be walking near an elevator saw me walking down the hallway and automatically pressed the elevator button.  The engineer was aware of my need as a guest.  The housekeeper was only aware of her own need for a lunch break.

Servers and Bartenders Split Checks (and steal) in a Blink of the Eye

It never amazes us to hear about all of the ways our Mystery Shoppers see servers and bartenders stealing from their hotels. With the advancement in technology, especially point of sale systems, you would think that it would be harder for servers to steal. However, in many ways, it actually makes it easier.

micros1_fullWith the advancement in technology, a server can make a guest check in seconds. That means they can easily manipulate a guest check in seconds. Here is one example our Mystery Shoppers see. A server serves 2 breakfast buffets and presents check number 101 to a customer. The customer pays $40 cash. Instead of closing the check to cash, the server pockets the cash and goes back and splits that check and creates check number 102 for 1 buffet and check number 103 for 1 buffet. Now the server has two open checks for very popular items that he/she can do many things with. He/she can present a check their next customer who orders a buffet or they can add additional items to the buffet or transfer it to another guest check. The opportunities are endless.

This not only works with buffets but with any items that are not prepared by the kitchen such as beverages, deserts, and especially alcoholic drinks.

How can you protect your restaurant?

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