The Secret Truth about your Customers

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It can take years to develop a loyal customer and only seconds to lose one.

Why do some of our members continue to return time and time again while for others it has become an annual visit to renew their membership and little else?

Customer loyalty can be fickle and subjective, one bad experience can hamper their whole impression of the venue or worse consistent bad experiences or a repeated irritation can wear down loyal members until they decide to try out your local competitors. Low and behold they have now fallen into the annual visitor category.

Boards, managers and staff can be equally one-sided when it comes to viewing the venue they know and love from an independent stance; why would we change the 15 minute wait queues in the bistro when it is the system that has always been in place? Aren’t the soggy napkins under the steak a presentation feature? Oh, and who really cares about servicing the smoking decks? It’s not like they make us any money. In this day and age of peer reviews and social media, word of mouth has become more important than ever and more often than not, it is these long held practices that have been in place for the past 10 years which are eating into your customer loyalty and reducing your share of the market.

The beauty of having an independent customer or Secret Shopper visit your venue to try out your range of services is that they are not predisposed to any of these views. They are able to communicate both hard messages and pleasant reminders giving you an indication of how good your judgement is. With this in mind, we have seen a huge resurgence in Secret Shopper or Mystery Shopper programs. In response to this demand we have developed a program which we are delivering across a number of Club and Hotel venues throughout Queensland. The database of results has also allowed us to create a benchmark so you can see where your venue rates against other venues.

If you think it is time to now start looking at a Secret Shopping program for your venue, we would recommend that you look at particular areas of concern so that we can develop a program that addresses these issues. Alternatively, if you would like a general overview to get started and get a feel for the program, a general shop can be completed looking at a broader scope of your venue.

The team at DWS can arrange anything from one visit to a number of different shoppers visiting your club over a few weeks, on specific days and at times as required. Another option is to encourage your staff and management to visit your local competitors and to conduct a Secret Shop at those venues to get their objectivity flowing.  This creates an awareness among your staff of the venues and services your customers are using when they are not at your venue.

If you would like to discuss Secret Shopping or other available forms of customer research including focus groups or customer surveys please give Sam a call on (07) 3878 9355 or email

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