Presentation on theme: "Secret Shopper Training Training developed by: Kim VanDerLinden 716.652.9400."— Presentation transcript:
Secret Shopper Training Training developed by: Kim VanDerLinden
Example Secret Shopper Training Agenda Secret shopping overview Secret shopping at XXX College Secret shopping tips and strategies Process/logistics Timeline Getting paid!
Fill out the information sheet – inside pocket of your folder. Please write clearly if you would like to get paid at the conclusion of secret shopping. Thanks!
Secret Shopping Involves posing as an ordinary customer/student and evaluating a situation. After a secret shop, the shopper completes a report (online survey) detailing what occurred during the shop. Important tool for organizations that care about customer service. Secret shopping is NOT just about looking for what is wrong. Secret shopping is NOT just about your opinions, but rather is based on observations and an unbiased report of what occurred during the shop.
How will the information be used? To ensure that XXX College students are receiving the highest quality services. To identify areas where staff/offices are exceeding expectations and also areas of opportunity and areas in need of improvement. To improve processes for XXX College students.
Secret Shopper Characteristics Reliable Organized Able to follow directions/memorize scenario Observant Able to remember details Objective/unbiased Flexible Honest Thorough
Can you keep a secret? Secret shoppers need to be discreet. Secret shoppers need to keep their work confidential. Secret shoppers need to understand the process and do the shops for the right reasons. You are not there to ‘trick’ the employees or make it hard for them, nor should you lead them to the right answers. Secret shoppers do their best to NOT influence the outcome of the shop – positively or negatively.
What makes for a high quality experience? In thinking about an office/staff member that you have interacted with at XXX College, describe a good interaction that you’ve had and try to pinpoint what made the interaction good. * Stay focused only on the GOOD!
What does a poor experience look like? In thinking about an office/staff member that you have interacted with at XXX College, describe a not so good interaction that you’ve had and try to pinpoint what made the interaction not so good.
Secret Shopping at XXX College Your assignment: You will be asked to complete in-person shops and phone shops at financial aid offices. The shops will occur during the following timeframe: August 18, August 27, Locations and approximate days/time will be specified to ensure that information is collected from several locations at several different times. You will be given a short scenario to memorize and use during all of your shops. You will not be asked to shop at your campus or with a scenario that is true for you. For this type of secret shopping, please plan to go alone. Scenarios are general – so you will NOT need to give any identifying information during the shop.
Details One in-person shop at three different campuses and one phone shop (total of four shops – three in person and one on the phone): - No secret shopping on your ‘home’ campus. - If you have transportation issues, see me during the break.
Details One in-person shop at three different campuses and one phone shop (total of four shops – three in person and one on the phone). – Yes! This is a lot of work – that is why you are getting paid. – Yes! You may have to wait in line a LONG time. – Yes! We are counting on you. If this does not sound like something that you want to do, please let me know.
Why Financial Aid? Student success at XXX College often relies on Financial Aid! Approximately 53% of XXX College students receive some type of financial aid. The financial aid process is complicated, but can be navigated successfully with appropriate help from staff.
Mission Statement The Student Financial Aid Office’s mission supports the College’s mission of putting the needs of students at the forefront of our decision-making process. In accomplishing this mission, Financial Aid Office personnel will assist students in securing the funds necessary to pursue their educational goals at XXX College. We are committed to providing quality service, reliable consumer information and access to information on a large variety of higher education funding sources.
Secret Shopping Rationale …We are committed to providing quality service, reliable consumer information and access to information on a large variety of higher education funding sources… Your Job: Is the Financial Aid Office at XXX College fulfilling their mission?
Example Scenario I have a Bachelors Degree already, what type of aid am I eligible for? ANSWER: The only aid that you may be eligible for are loans and scholarships.
Evaluating the Financial Aid Office Accuracy of information – Did the staff member provide consistent and accurate information in response to your scenario? Anticipation of your needs – Did the staff member provide an adequate amount of information to best address your scenario and your specific issue/question? Efficiency – Did you feel “bounced around,” referred appropriately, and was the staff member organized? Courteousness – Was the staff member friendly and approachable?
Example Scenario I have a Bachelors Degree already, what type of aid am I eligible for? ANSWER: The only aid that you may be eligible for are loans and scholarships. – Accuracy? – Anticipation of your needs? – Efficiency? – Courteousness?
During the Shop No one is going to know you are secret shopper, although it may feel like you have a neon sign over your head. Make sure you know your scenario and the ‘correct’ answer. Know your story line! Be ready to act/play the role of new student, potential student, confused student, etc… Make the scenario your own (e.g., I already have a degree from XXX University, what kind of financial aid can I get?) Take notes during the shop and immediately document all details of the interaction after the shop. Time it – be sure to bring a watch. Get the names of staff you interact with. Be objective/unbiased.
What does it mean to be objective?
Objectivity Objectivity = judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices. VERSUS Subjectivity = judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts.
How to achieve objectivity? – Leave your biases behind. – Leave your personal financial aid experiences at the door. – Do not try to trick or lead the staff member. – Other strategies?
Scenario How do I apply for financial aid? You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online at or you can pick up a paper application from any high school, college, university, or public library. We recommend that you submit the FAFSA using the web. The system will help you with your questions and the information gets to the Federal Processor faster. To submit your FAFSA, you will need to apply for a PIN number on the FAFSA web site. If you are under the age of 24 and not married, your parent must also obtain a PIN number.
Scenario I was filling out the FAFSA application and it is asking for my parent’s information. I am under the age of 24 and live alone in the U.S. My parents are in another country. What do I need to do to complete my FAFSA? If you are under the age of 24 and not married or have dependents, the Federal Government requires that you submit your parent’s income information. If your parents do not live in the U.S., you are still required to submit their income. They must provide you with their Income Tax report for the prior calendar year (most foreign countries have an income tax system) or another document that shows their income. When completing your FAFSA, report their income information in U.S. dollars. Keep the documentation, as the College may request this information for verification purposes.
Scenario I have a Bachelors Degree already, what type of aid am I eligible for? The only aid that you may be eligible for are loans and scholarships. How do I apply for a loan? What type of loan are you looking for? For a Stafford or Perkins loan you must first apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA. You can submit a Loan Request form available on the XXX College web site and click on “Important forms.”
Scenario I am an international student with an F1 Visa. What kind of financial aid can I get? International students are not eligible for Federal or State Aid. If you need help with paying your fees you can apply for a Short Term Loan. If you can get a US co-signer you can apply for a private loan. You need to visit the International Students office regarding these loans. You may also apply for scholarships.
Documenting the shop Complete an online form about your experiences, as soon after the shop as possible. Give as many details as possible and avoid vague language like: “I had to wait in line a really long time.” “Staff members were friendly.” Some information on the form will be mandatory.
Other suggestions for documenting the shop Please spend time on the evaluation – think about your responses and read the questions thoroughly. Stick to the facts and report what you observed. Avoid extreme language and don’t be overly dramatic. Avoid commentary about what you would do differently if you worked in financial aid. Include positive comments, as well as any negative. Don’t make comparisons to your other shops. Treat each shop as a unique, individual experience. Make sure your comments are consistent across each shop. Don’t contradict yourself. Don’t let one aspect of the shop effect all others aspects of the shop. If in doubt, leave part of the evaluation or a question blank, rather than falsify information.
As soon after each shop as possible, visit this link to complete the evaluation:
We’re relying on you! If you can’t do the shops, please let me know sooner, rather than later. We have several ‘checks’ in place to ensure that you actually complete the shops. For your own records, document when you did each shop and when you submitted your online survey of each shop. You will only get paid if you complete all of your shops. You are an integral part of improving XXX College for current and future students! Please do your best and contact me if you have any questions.
Secret Shopper Contract ___ I agree to complete in-person and/or phone shops of XXX College financial aid offices during August 18-27, ___I will keep my secret shopping role and assignments confidential. ___I understand that travel may be required to different campuses in order for me to complete an in-person secret shop. ___I agree to notify the XXX College Secret Shopper contact person, should I be unable to complete my secret shopping assignments during the week of August 18-27, ___I agree to complete an online evaluation after each secret shop. ___I will be truthful and honest in my evaluations. ___I will not falsify any information. ___I understand that if I do not complete all the required shops, I will not be paid. ___I understand that if I falsify any information, I will not be paid.
Final Thoughts/Getting Paid Please read and sign your secret shopper contract. You will be mailed a check to the address you provided ONLY if you complete all the shops. Just like your other jobs, payment is not immediate! Expect a check by Sept 19 th IF you complete all of your shops and follow the process outlined today. I will notify you via on August 29 th if I do not have all of your secret shops. Unfortunately, most personal circumstances cannot be taken into consideration and again, you will only be paid if you complete all the shops according to the process outlined today. If there is any aspect of your evaluation that makes me question whether you actually did the shop, I will have to ask you to repeat the shop at a different campus.