Is anyone Mystery Shopping their competitors? If you are, what are your main takeaways?

(Rikki Sambrooks) #1

We’ve just had a third party complete the mystery shopping for our upcoming BDM competition at PMC and it was FASCINATING to listen to what the mystery shopper had to say on how the candidates performed, if they asked for the business and if they showed value. It got me thinking about how often we take for granted that our customer knows what we’re selling, what we stand for and what our value is - without really providing any evidence or going that extra mile or even focusing on building a relationship rather than just trying to close. It would be great to hear from those that are mystery shopping, and if so, what have you learnt and have since implemented in your business and teams. For those that want to mystery shop but aren’t sure how to get started, it would be great to contribute on this as well.

(Adam Hooley) #2

@rikki mystery shopping is an awesome tool that has been used in every industry forever. We have also been using it in property management to better understand our competitors and our own business. When you do mystery shopping I’d suggest you always do both your competitors and your own business. One of the key components of the msytery shop is to assist in identifying your own point of difference and how you deliver that message to your clients.

(Ashley Giles) #3

Are there any companies that you can get to mystery shop your own business? Or perhaps the platform can fill that space… (I do yours you do mine)

@jeremy with Wendell Property, I would love to have someone mystery shop our team. So, if anyone knows of a company, or wants to do a swap scenario, contact Jeremy. @murrayhome I think you might be keen for this?

(Adam Hooley) #4

Great idea @ashley.giles. Mystery shopping each other.

(Ashley Giles) #5

@rikki could you share the framework we did for the BDM comp Mystery Shop.

(Terri Handy) #6

I think that quite often, a team will “assume” that their competitors are doing things a certain way. Their beliefs will often be based around justifying their own behaviour around certain things eg Those guys always discount or throw in advertising, that is why we missed out on that management. This is a great way of destroying myths.

Also, mystery shopping your own team certainly sorts out if everyone is following process. How long does it take to call someone back? How did the receptionist answer the phone? What material is being sent out from the office?

My son works with a retail liquor outlet and the team gets mystery shopped all the time. He loves it! They are awarded points and it is used as a KPI for their store so everyone feels responsible. They look at their depth of knowledge around stock, including specials, how they are greeted when they walk in the store, how the staff member is presented (including name badge), if their tattoos are showing - it is really detailed. As a young person entering the workplace, this has been great for him to understand what the businesses expectations are and is a clear way for him to receive feedback and measure his improvements.

(Colleen Sutherland) #7

I have done mystery couple of times. What I found was astounding. Not from them but how I do it. I’m sensational if I’m comparing my presentation to the big guys in town. 2 places never even asked my name.

I actually went into their offices and not over the phone. I had to ask for any printed information let alone their fees.

I must do it again to see what’s what around town. I’ll let you know how I go.

(Ashley Giles) #8

Why did I think this would be right up your alley! Haha… We might have to employ you to mystery shop our guys over the phone!

(Sarah Martin) #9

Can someone help me with this! How do you get around the fact they want names to do a check on RPdata to confirm ownership?!

(Rikki Sambrooks) #10

Hey @sarah - You could always take the angle of an interstate investor looking to purchase and the property hasn’t gone unconditional yet so you don’t want to disclose details of the property - that way you’re just focusing on their services, market knowledge etc. I had this a lot when I was a BDM and ensured follow up ready for settlement.

(Sarah Martin) #11

This is great! Thank you so much @rikki

(Terri Handy) #12

We will want to hear how this goes for your @sarah - just saying :wink:

(Adam Hooley) #13

Hi @sarah ,

I find a property in RP data or price finder that has never been sold. I then google earth it so I can see what type of home it is and make up a story like, it for my father or I’m in the process of buying it privately. The key to mystery shopping is to find a property that, when googled, nothing comes up. You be assured that if you ring a BDM and they are near a computer, they will be googling it as you speak.

Good luck!

(Ashley Giles) #14

Great ideas above guys! Lets loop back here @sarah when you have done one! We would all love to see the results…

(Glenn Lehman) #15

I like this idea. I think I would like to come up with a report guideline and then engage other people to mystery shop not only my competitors, but also myself and then produce a report.

This seems easy if I am checking leasing services. How though do I check out owner services? And how do I find someone who can mystery shop me personally?

Am I unfairly wasting time and resources of my competitors If I have them providing services that can never result in actual business?

Finally, does anyone have a sample report that would be produced by the shopper? Or a spreadsheet on how they track the results to see if you are improving?

(Adam Hooley) #16

@glenn Mystery shopping has been around for a long time. I would expect that people would be mystery shopping my business and wouldn’t see it as a waste of time. It keeps the business honest. The key to mystery shopping your business is not so much the results of the mystery shop but the actions you take away to improve on. These are the items you would measure your success on, as you complete them and implement process improvements across the business.

I have attached a Mystery shop checklist that can be used to base a mystery shop call on.Mystery Shopping Checklist.pdf (144.0 KB)

(Rikki Sambrooks) #17

We recently conducted a mystery shop on our finalists for the annual PMC Business Development Championships. We used the below survey to score each finalist in the initial stages of making contact to a prospective landlord. Our mystery shopper (based in NZ) gave a cover story of wanting to find out information about the property management services available by local agencies surrounding her parents home as her parents were looking to relocate back to NZ. The below survey was used to document answers and give an overall score. You could certainly implement something like this into your businesses.

(Glenn Lehman) #18

Just to follow up we hired a company that does projects to mystery shop us and 5 competitors. I gave her the name of 2 of them and ask them to discover the others. I budgeted 10 hours to the task and set a goal of the end of the month.

Now I can’t sleep cause what if I am the BDM she calls … :exploding_head:

Seriously though thanks to everyone who share questions. i actually gave them to her and ask that she decide what is important. I will share the results when I get them, although I might have to redact a few company names.

(Rikki Sambrooks) #19

Thanks for the update @glenn - it will be great to hear the outcome, particularly on how your office went and how that compares to what you think you service value is. Would also be great to see what questions the company decided to go with.

(Adam Hooley) #20

@glenn yes it would be great if you were happy to share your results in forums. Don’t panic. Mystery shopping is all about improvement. I’d be more excited to see the things I could work on to improve, then worried. Good luck :+1: