Category Archives: telephone mystery shopping

Mystery Shopping Gambling Operators

With online now the dominant gambling channel in the UK and research indicating that 450,000 children gamble very week is it time for operators to increase compliance monitoring of gambling and betting in general?

“New report indicates 450,000 children gamble every week” Source Gambling Commission

Gambling Operator Mystery Shop Customer Research

Gambling Operator Compliance Testing

Whether the venues are betting shops, bingo halls, racetracks or adult gaming centres, operators need to play close attention to those who use their services. Young people are particularly vulnerable and it’s in the gambling sectors best interest, both morally and financially to ensure those who are not legally allowed to gamble are challenged.

Of course, we can’t always tell by looking, how old an individual is. The risk to the operator and licence holder if it’s found to be negligent in this situation can be a large fine and enforced monitoring.

Gambling operators need to adhere to Gambling Conditions and Codes of Practice  which  helps them to ensure that they trade responsibly as part of the licence conditions.

Key elements included in codes of practice under section 24 of the Gambling Act 2005 are as follows:

  1. gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  2. children and other vulnerable people are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling
  3. assistance is made available to people who are, or may be, affected by problems related to gambling.

Compliance Monitoring for the Gambling Sector

Gambling operators don’t need to leave compliance to chance though. By building a robust compliance testing framework the risk of regulatory intervention can be significantly reduced. In addition, a proactive approach to under age sales testing as part of Challenge 21/25 also increases awareness amongst staff around the importance of regulatory gambling codes of practice.

Tern offer a range of uk mystery shopping services and age restricted testing, so whether you’re a pub, casino or racetrack there are some practical steps you can take to keep you the right side of the Gambling Regulator.

Our Gambling Sector Mystery Shop Coverage:

  • Pubs and Arcade FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals)
  • Casinos
  • Bookies and Racetracks
  • Adult Gaming Centres including Motorway Services

2016 News Stories Relating to Gambling

MPs urge clampdown on bookmakers’ betting machines
UK Gambling Commission Issues Warning Over Underage Gambling

Other useful links

Consumer Credit Mystery Shopping

Rent to View Mystery Shopping

The Rent-to-Own Sector

With the FCA shifting its focus towards companies supplying in the Rent-to-Own  marketplace, high cost credit providers are continuing to attract the attention of the financial regulators.

So, is it now the right time for these high cost credit companies to focus on the customer first? After all, the rest of the financial services industry has faced a deeper level of scrutiny for a much longer period of time.

The number of consumers accessing high cost credit in the UK

 “In the UK, up to 400,000 people use rent-to-own firms to buy household appliances, paying the money back over three years.” Source BBC News

With such high numbers of people accessing these lines of consumer credit, it’s essential for compliance and arrears teams at these firms to take a pro-active approach in support of the customer.

If the high cost credit industry is to continue unrestricted, avoiding enforced price caps, then those supplying short term credit to consumers through lease agreements or rentals need to have a more inward looking philosophy.

Date Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

Providing clear communication on consumer credit

It’s time for the sector to be more diligent with customer communications, whether that’s transparency on contract terms, clarity on the overall cost of credit or termination fees. Helping customers to have a clear understanding of the product offer and the costs of purchase ensures that companies sell in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.

Staff play by far the biggest part in the way consumers interpret the information given. They are also the highest risk area when it comes to the consumer failing to understand what they are committing to. Making sure the correct affordability checks are conducted and that the customer has all the required information to make an informed decision should be standard.

Areas of customer risk for consumer credit providers

  • Clarity of Payment Terms
  • Termination Fees and right to cancel
  • Transparency of overall cost
  • Affordability checking
  • Contract Terms and the small print
  • Treatment when payments are missed

 Taking the right approach

By doing things in the right way, the benefits gained are not only for the consumer, they are also for the company. Making sure that complaints and arrears figures for consumer credit don’t form a bigger part of the business means that companies can avoid ratings downgrades, damaging newspaper articles and greater regulation from the FCA.

There will always be a demand for short term higher cost credit however it’s in everybody’s interest to make sure the customer doesn’t become distressed when gaining access to it.

 Mystery Shop Research for Consumer Credit Companies

Tern provide second line of defence mystery shop research to some of the biggest financial companies in the UK. We provide our clients with evidence based research in the form of digital mystery shop reports . These reports are feature rich and can include embedded audio, video and survey scoring.

For more information on how we can support your compliance and operations teams call us on 01939 235555

Estate Agency Mystery Shopper

Estate Agency Mystery Shopper

Award winning estate agency service can start with a mystery shop

With an ever increasing amount of house buying research and activity taking place in the property portal market, traditional high street agents are having to work harder than ever to exceed their customers expectations. We can help you to achieve this with our combination estate agency mystery shop programme using pre-formatted reports and scenarios.

Why customer service matters

New online entrants have delivered a revolution in the estate agency marketplace and your staff must ensure that their professionalism and local knowledge gives you a clear advantage over the competition, however you market your service.

With over 25 years’ experience conducting mystery shopping research we understand the current challenges faced by the sector. We have developed a bespoke estate agent mystery shopper programme to help. We can provide you with a high level review of your operations – our combination programmes have led to a direct improvement in customer engagement and satisfaction within local branch networks.

What are the benefits of mystery shopping for estate agents?

A mystery shopping exercise will help you gain a detailed understanding of:

  • How well you engage with sellers and buyers at the initial point of contact.
  • Competence via your different communication channels; walk-in, telephone and email.
  • How you could work more efficiently to deliver a quality, cost effective service to your customers.
  • See how you compare with other estate agents through our ‘Estate Agency Bench-marking Programme’ (EABP).

Who are our mystery shoppers?

Our mystery shoppers are selected from a 20,000 strong database, spread throughout the UK. Operating since 1989, we have built up an enviable team of experienced researchers.

How is the mystery shop conducted?

The mystery shopping exercise takes place over a defined period, usually a couple of weeks on a variety of days and times.  Our shoppers will follow the brief as either a buyer or seller to measure:

  • Standards of response to buyer enquiry
  • Response to seller enquiry.
  • Call/Email response times.
  • Physical visits to the branch to test ability of staff to conduct a full customer fact find.
  • How the subject of fees is introduced
  • How objections are handled
  • How you up-sell from the standard package offer
  • How you differentiate yourself in the market place

 How are the results reported?

Results can be viewed through our bespoke reporting dashboard which can be viewed online.

All of our mystery shopping packages include:

  • A digital mystery shopping scorecard report.
  • Detailed commentary on findings and areas for improvement.
  • Your sector benchmark.

We think that mystery shop research is such a good way to review your performance that you will want to make it part of your standard business practice. Over time you will be able to monitor your improvement to check your level of service is heading in the right direction, for you and your customers.


New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  20/08/2015

With an overhaul in consumer rights due this October, along with a proposed Consumer Rights Bill, it’s time you brushed up on your customer service standards. The new Consumer Ombudsman will allow customers to raise a complaint about businesses in any sector, bringing focus to areas which may have been previously overlooked.

The new consumer ombudsman will be positive for both business and consumers alike and will seek to clarify core consumer rights:

New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

The New Consumer Ombudsman Website

The core consumer rights as defined by the bill will be:

  • Right to get what you pay for;
  • Right that goods and digital content are fit for purpose and services are provided with reasonable care and skill;
  • Right to have faults in what you buy put right free of charge, or to be provided with a refund or replacement.

According to the latest figures released by the Ombudsman services, 66 million complaints were made about products and services last year – equating to a complaint every 1.2 seconds.

Find out what this will mean for you as a consumer by visiting Which or the new Consumer Ombudsman websites.

How will the new Consumer Ombudsman help to shape a better customer service experience?

Experts in dispute resolution the ombudsman will be available to sort out complaints about the companies which have joined the organisation. They will provide an independent, impartial and cost effective means of resolving disputes outside the courts.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will mean that the new ombudsman will be available across all consumer sectors. Ensuring your service standards are in order will avoid consumer complaints down the line.

Using mystery shopping as an effective measure of customer service experience:

The financial services and energy sector have both been proactive in the use of mystery shopping as a pre-emptive tool against poor service for many years; gaining insight into their call centres, face to face interactions and online service delivery.

Mystery Shopping is an effective means of driving up your core standards and will make sure your customer journey is clear and understood by all.

Looking to improve your own customer service standards?

Tern can support you with telephone calls to assess your contact centre, video mystery shopping for detailed evidence gathering and standard written mystery shop reports which are all delivered through our easy to use online platform. This will provide you with all of the evidence you need to form a detailed audit; see the  rmystery shop report examples page to see what this looks like in practice.

Read more on this story from around the web

This is Money
Retail Week

Call centre mystery shopping

How to get the most out of Call Centre Mystery Shopping.

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  23/10/2014

Automotive Mystery Shopping for Car Dealerships, Manufacturers and Auto Services  Whether it’s assessing car showroom standards, service desk knowledge or the selling skills of the dealership representatives, the evidence we gather puts you in the driving seat of your customer experience.  Our mystery shopping programmes are built to look at key moments within the customer journey to help you understand and evaluate a range of factors.  With new car sales in a dynamic period of growth ensure that you maximise your business and sales potential with greater insights on performance.  ‘UK new car market up again in August 2015, marking 42nd consecutive month of growth’ 04/09/2015  Each programme that we deliver is made-to-measure to fit the requirements of your business model. We will support you in that process with the benefit of 25 years of experience.              Call us on 01939235555  Contact Us Client Video Testimonials  Automotive Mystery Shopping  How we conduct the automotive industry mystery shopping visits.  We can audit your business whether you're a vehicle showroom, tyre service centre or car hire company, by capturing hard evidence to assess areas of importance to you. We do this by using either video mystery shopping, audio device recording or getting our mystery shoppers to complete detailed written mystery shopping reports.   Watch the sample video.   What can we cover:  Showroom standards and presentation Test drive delivery and sales representative product knowledge Knowledge of automotive finance options and dealership event incentives Aftersales quality checking With this information you can:   Understand missed sales opportunities and implement training for improvement. Identify at dealership level, areas of non-compliance and poor service Verify that advertising campaigns are launched on time and executed properly Seek opportunities to improve the consumer journey from the initial enquiry How we deliver the reports and visit analysis:  After the visits/reports have been completed you will have access to a comprehensive suite of mystery shopping reports delivered through our online dashboard.

Call Centre Mystery Shopping – Telephone Mystery Shopping

We have all been there and unfortunately it’s happening with increasing frequency, press one for sales, press two for enquiries, press three for billing and four for any other enquiry. It’s at this point when our hearts sink as we realise we are about to disappear into a labyrinth of sub menus before we get to speak to a real person. I’m sure that most of us are in favour of efficiency savings and streamlining processes but sometimes the customer experience can be lost in automated call routing systems. What we need here is some call centre mystery shopping.

How many times have you been frustrated wasting your time on hold?

Consumers will accept automated call services to a degree as they realise it supports getting better value products and services and in some occasions results in a shorter calls. That said once you manage to get through to a call handler or operative the way the call is managed is extremely important, providing anything other than an excellent service can cost your business lost revenue and lose you customers. 

Whilst mystery shopping your contact centre can’t adjust the fundamental dynamics of how your calls are routed, you can still ask your mystery shoppers to provide feedback as a focus group. By conducting call centre mystery shopping you will be able to identify issues and problems you might not have known existed with either the call routing or service levels.

Do you rely to heavily on your contact centre call board to tell you the customer experience?

The numbers on the call centre dashboard are all people with different perceptions of your business, as they listen to your call hold music there opinion is being shaped before they even get to speak to the person they need.

You most likely record your calls already so it is possible for you to review a call when a complaint is made and see where a call operative has gone wrong. You can even ask for customers to complete an automated customer satisfaction survey at the end of the call. However sometimes this does not give you the complete customer picture. You can read more about our thoughts on mystery shopping vs customer satisfaction in our blog and why a customer satisfaction responses from real customers will only give you part of the picture and is not a complete measure of service.

What are the benefits of  Mystery Shopping your Call Centre?

Using mystery shopping for your call centre, as opposed to post customer satisfaction surveys, means that you can approach the service with predefined set of measures in place.  Customer Experience Managers, this is our call as customers for you to you to understand the full customer journey for your call centre. Why wait for the complaint to shape your approach to business change. Customer apathy towards modern call centres is well documented and has taken many column inches in our tabloids, a bleak picture of our customer relationship with call centres indeed ‘UK call centre customer service ‘in decline’  Browen Morgan – Research Live.

This is why when the call is finally answered the operative should be  courteous, polite and have the ability to resolve the customer query in the right way. If you have a known problem you can address it by making  sure that you can bring a record of it to your training sessions and then use mystery shoppers to ensure that is has been removed from the system.

So have you ever wondered how good your contact centre really is?

A high number of call centres in the UK are using call centre mystery shopping as a way of regularly reviewing performance with a view to enhancing customer service and improvement training.

By conducting call centre mystery shopping you can separate the experiences out from your main accounts and complete a survey defined against company standards.

You can consider the call from a number of perspectives and the mystery shopper can score the call operative alongside the brief. You might do this might be in relation to a compliance requirement but equally the way the call is handled in terms of customer journey can be measured, just like any other mystery shopping exercise:

Before you embark on a mystery shopper programme for your call centre you might like to consider the following points.

  • Are the call centre mystery shoppers roleplaying a new or existing customer?
  • Does the mystery shopper need a fake account number?
  • How far does the role play need to extend before shopper exits the call?
  • What am I trying to measure or understand?

If you’re considering running a call centre mystery shopping programme, Tern provide can provide you with guidance and we can tailor the programme to your needs. We can measure areas in isolation or as a complete customer  journey.

For more information on how we can help contact us today. For more information on how online an telephone journeys interact with other distribution channels go to our page on online and call centre mystery shopping.