There are many ways in which mystery shopping is beneficial in the Education Sector; we’ve helped:
- Universities, Schools and Colleges assess and improve their application processes and Open Days.
- Accommodation Providers assess how their inbound enquiries are handled.
- Exam Boards test whether candidates are able to cheat without being caught.
- Test Centres measure their compliance to government standards in regards to identification.
In many cases, the student is now a consumer and has a choice – not just with which institution but with which life route to take; going to college, 6th form, further education, higher education or joining an apprenticeship programme or similar and heading straight into work. This makes it even more imperative for educational institutions to understand student motivations and to communicate the right messages in order to drive recruitment.
In recent years there have been a lot of changes in the Education Sector; with the introduction of higher university fees and the removal of the cap on student numbers, Universities are fighting to enrol as many students as they can.
Mystery Shoppers Ltd recently carried out a programme for a student accommodation provider whose objectives were to gain insight into the service provided by their accommodation teams. Our mystery shoppers posed as students, visited the reception and made enquiries about the student accommodation. Our Client was confident that each student would have been offered a tour in response to their enquiry, to the surprise of those in charge of the accommodations’ residents, the first wave of mystery shopping revealed that:
- 68% were not shown around the property by a member of staff
- 58% did not have the price or availability explained to them
- Only 11% were asked if they wanted to book accommodation during their visit.
We all know the saying “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” and this is a prime example of that. Now that our Client has got this information, they can put further training and procedures in place to fix the problem areas; MSL will then continue to visit the sites periodically to measure these areas on an ongoing basis. When staff know mystery shopping is taking place, you often see an improvement in performance straight away as they’re always on guard for potential mystery shoppers.
In addition to designing a programme that can assess how your processes are perceived, we can also design one to provide information on how your competitors are approaching this challenge by mystery shopping their processes and providing this data for comparison. Benchmarking in this way will ensure you’re always one step ahead of the competition.
With the introduction of The Office for Students regulating higher education, it’s also hugely important to ensure that the students are made to feel like your institution is complying with the regulations. Can you be sure your students feel that your University is “inclusive of every student, whatever their background and that their higher education will be a fulfilling experience that enriches their lives and careers.” We’re able to test this specifically by sending shoppers who meet specific demographic profiles to test whether they feel they are treated in this way.