Mystery as shoppers put staff to test

HUNDREDS of council staff in Edinburgh have been tested through a new "mystery shopper" project.

During 2009, 264 different "mystery shopper" tests were held for 19 different areas of council service in person, by e-mail and on the telephone.

The mystery shoppers said they were satisfied with the service they received in seven out of ten cases, although the satisfaction level was four per cent lower than a year earlier.

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The best results were regarding enquiries about special uplifts, noise, Edinburgh Building Services and roads services, with the lowest scores for mortgage advice, business improvement teams and assessment and advice services.

In telephone tests, staff were judged to be polite in 92 per cent of cases, down seven per cent on 2008. The number of times staff were said to be friendly also fell seven per cent to 88 per cent.

But the face-to-face experiences were very similar to the previous year.

Mark Turley, director of the council's services for communities department, which carried out the mystery shopping tests, said: "Customer care ratings have not changed significantly over the last year."

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