Improving service with mystery shoppers

Using mystery shoppers is not a new idea, but it's become even more important in an era when consumers have gotten more choosy about service. In the Boston metro area, several large hospitals are running ongoing mystery shopper programs, focusing on what incoming patients see and how they're treated. At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, for example, the management uses six mystery shoppers to study operations in its 26 waiting rooms and emergency department. The shoppers use a 45-item checklist to rate conditions, including such criteria as whether Kleenex and hand sanitizers are available and whether staff members check in patients promptly and politely. Hospital executives say that the program, which rewards high-performing employees with bonuses, gift certificates and other benefits, has boosted patient satisfaction ratings substantially.

To learn more about Boston hospitals' mystery shopper programs:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe