Secret shopping, or “mystery shopping”, originated in banks and retail environments in the 1940s as a way for companies to ensure their employees were trustworthy and doing their jobs correctly. Although the practice has spread throughout other industries, the structure is essentially the same: a consumer in the target market poses as a potential customer, taking notes on what they did and (perhaps, most importantly) did not like.
At The Black Sheep, we take secret shopping to the student housing network, relying exclusively on college-aged students to pose as potential leasees through online, phone, and in-person tour inquiries. This past quarter, our network of contractors set out to evaluate 130 properties spanning nearly 30 states. From their analyses, we’ve compiled a list of what makes a property stand out, both positively and negatively.
Some may seem obvious – if nobody picks up the phone after three tries, you’re going to lose that prospect. On the other hand, some of the things that really caught our student’s attention may not be as obvious. Let’s dive in!