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What Does a Mystery Shopper Look for in a Senior Housing Facility Shop?

A mystery/secret shopping program is a service that helps companies evaluate sales processes, find any employee-related issues, profit leaks, or anything that could affect customer satisfaction, profitability or legal compliance. Shoppers pose as a customer and evaluate the company on its service.

Denver HGV Senior housing
Image by faceless b via Flickr

We are often asked by senior housing facilities to create mystery/secret shopping programs to help them evaluate any of these issues.

A mystery shopper will call a facility and ask on behalf of a spouse or loved one, like a mother or father. They may say they are looking for housing for someone with Alzheimer’s, or someone who may need basic level care, in senior housing or assisted living.

The shopper is already evaluating whether the person on phone is empathetic, inviting, genuine and caring, while also following a sales process. For instance, the mystery shopper may evaluate if the associate asks for an appointment, and at the same time, they want to see if the employee is also treating them with courtesy and respect while asking them about their needs.

During their visit, the mystery shopper check for exterior cleanliness, immediate staff friendliness and how long it takes to be greeted. They are also looking for the backup psychological element. Are residents happy, content and treated with respect, or are they treated like children? Does the facility smell mediciney? Does it feel like a home or a hospital?

Mystery shoppers evaluate the sales process during their visit. Are salespeople courteous, empathetic, friendly? Do they try to connect emotionally while successfully moving through the sales process? They want to see how successful the staff is in discovering needs related to medicines, showering, dinner reminders, depression.

They also evaluate the effectiveness of the tour, whether they were told about the facility’s benefits as they relate to the shopper’s needs, like asking about their diabetic father, and explaining the kitchen and dining facility process.

Shoppers will even evaluate the end of the visit and followup. Did the staff offer friendly parting greetings? Did they follow up within 48 – 72 business hours with a phone call or letter, asking if they answered their questions?

Our clients may sometimes ask for an audio mystery shop (phone and in person) and/or video mystery shop, which offers more information than printed transcripts. This way, clients can see their staff’s expressions and body language. They can hear tone and ascertain how passionately staff members communicate.

In short, they want to make sure their facility is the kind of facility they want to send their own parents or loved one to.

Measure CP is a proud member of ALFA, the Assisted Living Federation of America.

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