Mystery Shopper Exercise (Health Library – Keele University & University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust)

Title of project: Mystery Shopper Exercise North Staff logo

Project team: Customer services Manager – University Campus Library; Senior Library Assistant – University Campus Library; Deputy Health Library Manager

Resources required:

  • Involvement of library customers – specifically students.
  • Staff time and mystery shopper’s time.
  • Mystery shopper guidance packs – instructions, scenarios, guidance on expected service levels.
  • Template of the previous University Campus Library’s mystery shopper exercise report and mystery shopper packs as guidance on how the method should work.
  • Knowledge of the services available at the Health Library and the library’s customer mix to ensure the scenarios tested are suitable to the library.
  • Vouchers as mystery shopper participation incentive.
  • Technology – Microsoft Excel for results analysis.

Timeframe: January 2013 – ideal completion by Easter 2013

Description of product/service: Customer service survey using the Mystery Shopper method. The Health Library’s survey will focus on the medical, midwifery and nursing University students. Health Library’s exercise needs to be comparable with the exercise conducted at the University Campus Library in winter 2012. The report produced needs to be able to stand alone on its own as NHS Library report; but also to be able to be read conjunctively with the University Campus Library’s report as a cross-libraries survey.

Alignment to local, regional and national drivers

Local drivers: Unwritten library aims from the NHS and the University to provide good customer service to all customers.

National drivers: Library Quality and Assurance Framework – criteria that ‘Library/knowledge service development/improvement is informed by relevant information’ – which could include the results of a customer survey.

Published literature: numerous journals articles have been published demonstrating how libraries/information services in other sectors have used mystery shopper exercises successfully to test certain aspects of the library service and gain insight into how their services are really being delivered. The public sector and higher education in particular have documented using this method.

Intended outcome for customer / organisation / library: To produce a report that can be read on its own as an assessment of the Health Library’s service, and which can be read conjunctively with the University’s Library report as a cross-libraries survey.

  • To identify any improvements needed to the library‘s customer service.
  • To provide a benchmark which future repeat surveys can be judged against to ensure standards are being maintained or improved.

Next steps:

  • Discuss and write the scenarios to be tested at the Health Library – for inclusion in the Mystery Shopper packs.
  • Recruit mystery shoppers from the Health Faculty Schools.
  • Brief mystery shoppers.
  • Run the mystery shopper exercise.
  • Results analysis and report production.
  • Act on any identified improvements needed.
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