There are a great number of things that a mystery/secret shopper might evaluate when it comes to health care facilities. In addition to traditional things like customer service and brand protection, there is a significant number of care issues that can be evaluated in a doctor’s office, in an emergency room, or in an immediate care center.
With an immediate care center, for example, a mystery shopper might call ahead to confirm that the staff member taking their call is friendly and courteous. The staffer should inform the shopper that a proper diagnosis can’t be given over the phone. They should set the prospective patient at ease by assuring them that they have several doctors present, or that the wait is not unreasonable. If there is a waiting period, the mystery shopper should be advised of another nearby (non-competitor) location where the wait is much shorter. The staffer’s goal is to keep the shopper/patient engaged in the conversation, satisfied with the service they’re getting, and ultimately to bring them into the clinic.
When the shopper goes in for their visit, they can complete their evaluation with a series of questions. Was the location easy to find? Was there adequate and appropriate parking? Was there easy access to the entrance? Was the signage good and, if at night, properly lit? Was the lobby clean? Were they greeted in a timely manner and treated in a dignified, friendly, and respectful manner? Did they get the right paperwork and a basic needs analysis? Were they advised how long the wait would be and, if appropriate, get some kind of apology?
While waiting, our shopper might look for collateral and other marketing materials. If it’s a coordinated company brand, is that brand being appropriately represented? What about signs on the wall? Restrictions on cell phone use? Are their generic laser printer copies of notices on the walls or is everything presented professionally and according to the coordinated brand identity?
During the actual triage and treatment portion of the visit, the shopper will evaluate whether the attending medical staff conducted themselves in a professional, friendly, and discreet manner, the quality of the obligatory weight and blood pressure readings, their comfort, whether proper procedures were followed, and even whether the attending nurse and physician washed their hands.
For our purposes, we work with a Registered Nurse who trains shoppers on how to present symptoms. While, certainly, a shopper can’t show up at the emergency room claiming to have a broken leg when they don’t have one, the shopper can show up at a facility and express certain symptoms to verify that they are diagnosed properly. It’s not enough for a shopper to go in and say they have a migraine. We expect them to relate the symptoms so the medical staff can make a diagnosis.
By doing a mystery shop for a healthcare clinic, we show them areas where they can improve their patient care, which means they can help more patients more effectively.