Hospitality Guest Service “Secret Shopper” Project
We have studied many important concepts principles and theories pertaining to managing quality service in hospitality. This project opportunity will allow you a chance to practically apply all the concepts you have learned this semester to the evaluation of one guest service experience in a hospitality operation. You will gain experience developing an evaluation form, evaluating all aspects of a hospitality guest experience and thinking strategically about how you, as a hospitality leader, would make improvements to the guest service in this hospitality operation.
To complete this project, complete the following four steps:
Step One: Pick a Segment of the Industry to Evaluate
Select a segment of the hospitality industry you will evaluate for this project. For example, a hotel, a meeting or event, a quick service restaurant, a full-service restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, etc. You must evaluate this hospitality guest service experience in “real time” using the evaluation form you will develop. Therefore, you cannot retroactively complete this project. This evaluation must be based on an experience that you have during the project module time frame and must be completed after developing the evaluation form.
Step Two: Develop a “Secret Shopper” Evaluation Form
After you have selected this segment of the industry you will evaluate develop a comprehensive hospitality “secret shopper” evaluation form. This must be a comprehensive evaluation form that can be used to carefully evaluate and analyze the key aspects of the hospitality service experience. The form must include:
1. An evaluation of, at a minimum, the following key concepts and topics from the course this semester that impact the guest service experience:
providing the service quality and value the guest expects (assess the quality and value provided)
setting the scene for the guest experience (evaluate the service setting or service environment)
hospitality organization’s culture (look for evidence of a strong or weak corporate culture)
staffing for service (evaluate the staff at this restaurant and assess if it appears careful attention was paid to appropriately staffing this restaurant with “service naturals” or if you see evidence of “warm body syndrome”)
training and developing employees to serve (evaluate the staff to assess if it appears the staff have been adequately trained and are competent in their jobs)
serving with a smile: motivating exceptional service (evaluate the staff and assess if they appear motivated and empowered)
involving the guest; the co-creation of value (analyze the use of co-creation in the establishment and determine if co-creation is effectively utilized)
communicating for service (evaluate how this organization uses information to quality and value to the service experience to include information provided by the website, information provided in the service setting, etc.)
waiting for service (evaluate the planning and management of any wait time at this establishment)
fixing service failures (evaluate how effectively service failures (if applicable) were handled)
2. A rating scale (I would prefer you use numerical values (i.e. 1 = poor, 2 = average, 3 = good, 4 = excellent) to rate each of these components of guest service that impact the guest service experience.
3. A place to write notes
As long as your form meets the three requirements you can be as creative as you would like in the development of your form.
Step Three: Evaluate the Customer Service Experience
Evaluate a live customer service experience, paying close attention to the aspects of the service experience that are relevant to your “secret shopper” form. Remember you do not take the form with you! The point is to be a secret shopper. Make plenty of mental notes or perhaps type a few notes here and there in your smart phone. However, be discreet. Additionally, make sure you are in no way obtrusive to the operation as you are assessing the customer service experience.
Step Four: Complete the “Secret Shopper” Form
You should complete the form as soon as possible after the experience while the experience is still fresh in your memory.
Step Five: Analyze the Customer Service Experience, Summarize the Experience and Make Strategic Recommendations
Analyze your form and your notes. Assess the overall customer experience using the standards developed in your “secret shopper” form. Write a 5 – 7 page essay that includes a brief summary of the overall experience, a summary of the key strengths and key weaknesses of this operation and a thorough overview of the steps you would recommend the manager of this operation take to improve customer service at this operation, specifically addressing the major weaknesses that you identified.