Moray College

Moray College
Sector-leading and innovative practice: Mystery Shopper
In session 2009/10, during self-evaluation meetings held with support teams,
managers identified a need for improvement in arrangements for feedback on
service levels provided by support teams. In 2010/11, Moray College introduced the
Mystery Shopper initiative. An employee from an external company contacts a
number of support service areas by email, telephone call and personal visit. They
make learner-related enquiries, agreed in advance by managers in the college, and
report the next day on the quality of the customer care experience. This initiative
was introduced in 2010 to provide independent evaluation of the services provided
by support service areas including registry, estates, reception, extended learning
support and the learning resource centre. Staff receive prompt feedback through
written reports completed by the Mystery Shopper.
Before the introduction of the Mystery Shopper initiative, managers believed that
their responses to enquiries from potential learners were already of a high standard.
This was confirmed through a number of the reports received from the Mystery
Shopper. However, there were some less positive experiences. An enquiry relating
to the reservation of a disabled parking space resulted in the caller being referred to
a number of departments within the college. A separate request for a bicycle locker
resulted in the same internal referral frustration for the caller. Through the Mystery
Shopper experience, managers have discovered that individual departments tend to
work closely within their own fields of responsibility. Enquiries outwith their own
remit defaulted to a referral process, which, for the customer was a frustrating
experience. As a result, a new One-Stop Support Area has been created to respond
to, and quickly deal with, any learner-related enquiries. The Mystery Shopper
experience also provides managers with direct feedback on staffs’ customer service
skills and helps to inform thinking about the college’s response more generally to
enquiries. The Mystery Shopper also provide helpful evaluative commentary on the
standard of cleanliness and signage around the college. All Mystery Shopper
enquiries are based on information found on the college’s own website. Mangers
and staff now use feedback received from the Mystery Shopper experience to inform
service area self-evaluation reports and target setting for improvement.
The Mystery Shopper initiative has brought about enhanced service levels provided
by support teams. Mystery Shopper reports are discussed with managers resulting,
where appropriate, in action plans targeting improvement in college processes or
Education Scotland
Foghlam Alba