3. Mystery Shopper
Members of the Fans' Forum completed the mystery shopping exercise at the Stoke fixture on 4 December 2011 and the Fulham fixture on 28 April. The Club provided a comprehensive update on the feedback collated from the exercise.
The feedback was worked out on a points basis and overall, the Club's performance was rated as 64% at Stoke and 68% at Fulham, showing a slight improvement between the two fixtures.
Feedback was collected from all areas of the stadium, excluding the Lower Bullens. ‘Betting' and ‘Programme Sales' received the lowest scores at both fixtures. The Club has a new programme designer for the 2012/13 season and all feedback has been passed on to improve the service for this season. With regard to betting, supporters were finding better odds elsewhere and it was not clearly communicated where to collect winnings.
Stewards were by far the best performing department with 77% across the two fixtures. They were described as helpful, friendly, and welcoming. A point was raised that stewards did not escort supporters to their seats if they queried its location but the Club confirmed that they are advised not to leave their dedicated posts in the stadium. The only negative feedback was a lack of knowledge on other areas of the Club, for instance whether the Box Office was open after the match. In response to this feedback, the Club is developing a hand-held guide of helpful information for each steward, which will be updated on a regular basis.
Food and beverage was the second-highest scoring department overall, slightly ahead of retail. Staff were described as polite and friendly. There were some points raised regarding staff not apologising for the length of waiting time, prices too high, and an incident of hot food running out in one area of the stadium. All feedback has been passed to Sodexo so that they can improve the service for the forthcoming season.
Retail was rated as 70% overall, with staff described as courteous, helpful and speedy.
Overall, with the exception of stewards, there were some inconsistencies in other departments so the Club is working to ensure there is a consistent approach to customer service.
The Premier League also conducted a series of mystery shopping exercises and stewarding was rated 94% overall, and food and beverage was rated 90% overall. Similar points to those raised by the Fans' Forum exercise were highlighted by the Premier League in terms of queue management and they were particularly positive about stewarding. The Club were rated as 11th in the Premier League mystery shopper results and is hopeful that the results will improve again next season.
Forum agreed that there are some inconsistencies in customer service across various departments and this could have an adverse affect on the results.