Mystery shopping

Mystery shopping is a reliable way to assess the ease of access to your housing and/or homelessness service.

Our mystery shopping exercise helps you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your service, from initial contact to delivery of advice. 

Why use Shelter?

We have over ten years' experience running mystery shopping exercises for local authority housing and homelessness services and work in partnership with JKS Mystery Shopping & Training Ltd, a leading UK market research agency.

We understand the challenges and realities of delivering advice services, and provide detailed, robust assessment by experts who understand the reality of running housing advice and homelessness services.

What are the benefits?

A mystery shopping exercise will help you gain a detailed understanding of:

  • How well you engage with customers at the point of initial contact.
  • How you compare with other local authorities we've recently worked with.
  • How you manage people, from initial contact to diagnostic interview and advice.
  • How you could work more efficiently and deliver a quality, cost effective service to your customers.

Our exercises have led authorities to improve customer engagement and work more efficiently.

Who are our mystery shoppers?

Our mystery shoppers are selected from a 20,000 strong database, reflecting a diverse range of ethnicity, age and experiences. Many have experienced homelessness and will use their own life experiences, whilst others are provided with scenarios to use. We ensure none of our shoppers are known to you, or have previously sought help from your service.

How is the mystery shop conducted?

The mystery shopping takes place over a four to six week period at a variety of days and times. Exercises are set up to provide an assessment of:

  • Standards of access and customer care.
  • Approaches to gather information about service users and their situation.
  • Initial advice provided, including confirmation of next steps and appropriate delivery or signposting to available housing options.

How are the results assessed?

One of our experienced business support consultants provides analysis of calls and face to face visits as part of a summary written report.

For telephone or face to face services, each shopper is asked to contact the Housing Options Advice team and rate their experience against a number of assessment criteria including factors such as the initial contact, customer service skills, and the guidance provided.

Review of housing options website

A website review will ask a number of key questions of the service. Examples of these questions include; is the site intuitive and easy to access? Does it provide accurate and useful information? Does it detail how to contact services and manage expectations of what that contact provides?

How are the results reported?

All our mystery shopping packages include:

  • A scorecard report.
  • Detailed commentary on findings and recommendations.
  • A webinar presentation to feedback results and discuss recommendations and options.

How much does it cost?

Our mystery shopping packages starting from £1,500. Alternatively we can design a bespoke exercise to meet your specfic requirements.

by choosing to undertake mystery shopping with us you will receive further follow-up discounts on other Shelter consultancy services.

Contact us

For further details of the various packages available and to discuss your requirements please call Harinder Birring on 0344 515 1155 or email

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