One Million Mystery Shops

1,000,000 Mystery Shops

By – Susan Reilly, Head of Sales and Marketing


Customer Perceptions, having been in existence for almost a quarter of a century now, have completed over one million customer satisfaction/feedback assessments in this time.

What does having one million pieces of feedback mean? It means we can pull together some fairly robust statistics as to exactly what your customer wants.

One thing for sure is, times have changed, whilst 10 years ago, the primary focus for customers was a “good price”, this has dramatically changed since. Customers are now much more complex when it comes to the decisions they make. Below you will find the key drivers resulting in higher satisfaction levels and ultimately higher spend and likelihood for repeat business.

1.) Feelings.
It might be unusual that we talk about feelings when it comes to your customer, however feelings matter. Fact! Customers want to feel loved, to feel wanted, to feel important, to feel valued. Take a minute to make your customer “feel” special. The more feelings a customer can attach to a store, the more memorable the event, hence the more likely they are to return.

2.) Time.
Time is key to customers, and everybody has less and less each day. Nobody wants to “waste” time. Queues are the single most annoyance when it comes to shopping. A queue will deter a customer before they even fully step into your store. You have no chance if your stores have long queues. We need to be ahead of the game, ensuring we are utilising every tool in our reach to minimise the time spent queuing and waiting. Efficiency is key.

3.) Knowledge.
Customers hate bluffers. They can spot them a mile off. Don’t put staff in front of customers if you have not trained them in fully on the products. This does your reputation considerable damage. Staff need to be confident in what they are selling, and also need to be confident in saying “I don’t know, but let me get the answer for you”.

4.) Promises.
Empty promises are a pet peeve for customers. Don’t tell your customer that you will give them a call in 2 days time if you have no intention of doing so. If you commit to something, you must deliver. Have a robust system for recording when following up calls must be made and stick to it. The system should be transparent so any staff member can pick up the calls if needed.

5.) Answer Me!
How many times have you felt like screaming this down the phone, or to your laptop screen when you just want somebody to answer your question. Customers want to talk to you, and they want to talk to you through a variety of channels. Keep the lines of communication open at all times. If you have a phone number listed on your website, then answer the call when it comes through. If you have an email address listed on your website, then answer the email when it comes through. If you have a facebook page, then answer your messages….. see where I am going with this? If you list a channel for your customers to communicate with you, then you absolutely must have this channel manned in a timely manner, i.e. within a 24 hour period max.

Make sure to follow our Linked In page, and check out our blog section on our website regularly as we will be telling you exactly how to achieve each of these points in much more detail.

Our first tutorial on making the Customer FEEL good, is coming soon…………….

You name it, we can do it!

Family at the restaurant

By – Megan Clarke, Client Account Manager.


Mystery shopping can offer an endless range of unimaginable insights.  So, before you come to the conclusion that mystery shopping provides limited information, let’s take a look at some of the more unique projects we have carried out.

Aside from the more regular convenience store visits, hotel stays and finance calls, we have an array of past projects that we are sure will intrigue you.

We have sent the underaged demographic to shops to buy cigarettes to see if staff are checking for ID and we have sent people to funeral homes pretending they have had a bereavement to assess the empathy of staff.   Some have been sent to visit the cliffs, some have made video consultations with the doctor for the contraceptive pill, cold/flu and back pain.   We have assessed photo machines in shopping centres, assessed charity collectors on the street and even travelled on the ferry to price the products on the boat.   To make things even MORE exciting, we have challenged people to the adventure rooms and got them to break the rules, sent them on thrilling theme park rides and sightseeing adventures across land and sea.

Not only can the scenarios be wonderfully weird but the profile of the lucky individual undertaking the assessment can be requested and we will make it our mission to meet the specifics.  We have sent ladies with a bigger bust to lingerie stores to try on bras and to get seriously specific, we have used a shopper over 50 with a stigmatism in one eye, no history of heart disease and a prescription more than plus 5 on their lens to test an optician.

We are always willing to take on new challenges, things we have never done before in an aim to provide our clients with the essential information they need to grow and strive.

Need more information? Click HERE

2019 Irish Restaurant Awards

2019 Irish Restaurant Awards

By Lynn Carr and Jean Ragg, Senior Client Account Managers, Customer Perceptions

On Monday May 13th, we were delighted to be invited to attend the 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards. Now in its 11th year, the Irish Restaurant Awards are arguably the biggest night of the year in the Irish hospitality industry. This year’s event garnered over 90,000 nominations from the public.

This was our 4th year in attendance as the official mystery shop provider of the Irish Restaurant Awards and what a wonderful night it was.

Across a 5-week period in March and April, Customer perceptions conducted 450 Mystery Guest Inspections across Ireland. The results of these inspections held 40% of the weighting for the awards. It was no mean feat for the Customer Perceptions team, but as always, we were up to the task.

With 6 courses ahead, prepared by some of the best chefs in the country, we could not wait for the awards to begin. The starter, prepared by Ethna Reynolds of Nook Restaurant in Sligo, was a beautiful Tostada with Slow Roast Pork Belly, Beetroot Crema, Pickled Rhubarb, Salsa and Feta. This was followed by a Wild Garlic and Nettle Crumb Soup served with a selection of breads prepared by apprentice chefs.

The fish course was a beautiful Steamed Monkfish prepared by Paul Hynes of La Cote Seafood Restaurant in Wexford, while the main course prepared by Tom, Flavin of The Limerick Strand Hotel was Wild Boar with Free Range Pork Boudin and Mature Cheddar Colcannon.

To finish, dessert was a Velvet Cloud Set Cream with Valhrona Opalys, Strawberries and Highbank Balsamic prepared by Conor Mee of Courthouse Restaurant in Carrickmacross. This was literally heaven on a plate. The All-Ireland Cheeseboard followed this, and was divine, consisting of goat’s cheese, blue cheese and brie.

Loam Restaurant in Galway scooped the top prize of Best Restaurant in Ireland, while Graham Neville of Dax Restaurant was awarded Best Chef in Ireland. We were delighted for Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill who won Best Restaurant in Leinster, a much-deserved prize for a local establishment.

It was a fantastic night. It was a true testament to the hard work of the Restaurant’s Association of Ireland and a great opportunity to celebrate the commitment, passion and skill of those in the industry. As we left, the Krispy Kreme doughnut wall caught our attention. A snack for the road, as if we hadn’t eaten enough already!


For more information on our Hospitality Services click HERE

Retail Excellence Retreat and Expo 2019

Customer Perceptions are delighted to be exhibiting once again at the Retail Excellence Retreat and Expo, which is taking place at Citywest Convention Centre, Dublin, from the 21st to the 22nd of May 2019. This is Customer Perceptions third year exhibiting at this fantastic event.

We are located at stand N5, and will be on hand to have a chat about any Market Research services you may need.

We will have plenty of information available on all of our services such as Mystery Shopping, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Audits, Social Media Monitoring, Focus Groups and much more. Drop by to see a live demo of our reporting dashboards. You will be amazed at how much insightful data you can have at the touch of a button.

We are also pleased to announce we will have demos available on the day of our instant customer feedback tool called TellUsFirst™. This tool gives you the power to talk to your customers before they leave feedback elsewhere.

This year, the Retail Excellence Retreat and Expo has a fantastic line up of speakers. We are really looking forward to hearing some of the speakers. Keith Rogers, Head of Operations in Ecco will give a talk about how to ‘Motivate Your Team To Motivate Your Business’ – a fantastic topic. We are also really interested in hearing Jean McCabe, MD of Willow talk about ‘The Willow Store – from Clicks to Bricks’. Jean and her team led Willow to winning the Retail Excellence Store of the Year 2019.

To organise a meeting with us during these two days, please email We would be delighted to chat to you on the day.

Alternatively follow our social media accounts for updates throughout the two days.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women's Day Walk

By Megan Clarke, Client Account Supervisor, Customer Perceptions.

At Customer Perceptions, we each set a quarterly goal that we want to achieve. For Q1 2019, my goal was to organise a team building activity for each quarter of the year. I knew great things would come from this as it would give us the opportunity to communicate with each other outside our normal day-to-day.

For Q1, I decided to incorporate fundraising into our team activity and increase our corporate social responsibility. Everyone on the team felt this was a great idea and jumped at the chance to do something for the community.

I came across an advertisement on the Women’s Aid Facebook page which gave me the idea of organising an event to help raise funds for this charity on International Women’s Day. The entire team donated, and we set out for our lunchtime walk on Friday, March 8th.  We walked the length of the Navy Bank in Dundalk and back to the office where we enjoyed an organised lunch together.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and at the end, we were so happy to send our donation off to Women’s Aid which is such a great cause. They have been working in Ireland since 1974 and channel their efforts into stopping domestic violence against women and children. This was a fitting charity to raise money for on International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate gender equality and women’s achievements.

Happy International Women’s Day!


If you would like to know more about Customer Perceptions click HERE

Day 3 at Catex

Customer Perceptions - Catex

by Ruth O’Connell, Account Manager, Customer Perceptions

“We arrived at the RDS for the third and final day of Catex 2019, we were super excited for what the day had in store for us. Our lovely neighbours in the UCC ensured our energy levels were kept up by supplying us with an endless amount of pizza slices. Coffee and Pizza, breakfast of champions.

We were again in awe at all of the interesting and eye capturing displays and stands. Each time we visited a new stand, our rubber arms were twisted to try a sample, it would be rude not to 😉 From pizza, to cakes, burgers, ribs, goujons, and ice cream, the options were endless.

The day began with the Declan Byrne, President of the Bartender’s Association hosting a seminar, it was followed by a question and answer session at the Chef Network Lounge on how to progress your career and succeed in the industry, which was also extremely enjoyable and interesting.

After a lovely chat at the Laura Ashley stand, I cannot wait for their tea rooms to come to Ireland, I will most definitely be visiting for an afternoon of tea and treats. An afternoon of sophistication and bliss, it will be something not to miss.

Later in the day, the Avonmore Irish Latte Art Competition took place, there were some magnificent creations. To end the day the results from the Barista and Latte Art finals were announced, well done to all involved especially to Wojciech Tysler who will go on to represent Ireland at the World Barista Championships in Boston in April. I personally struggle to make a nice cup of coffee never mind topping it off with a work of art.

The last day did not disappointment, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and all the interactions with the different people we met from all industries. We also left Catex with a delicious Strawberry Gateaux from Patisserie Royale. We are excited to bring this back to the office for tea time tomorrow.

Thank you Catex 2019, it was a pleasure.”


For More information on our services click HERE

Catex Continues… Day 2

by Lynn Carr, Senior Account Manager, Customer Perceptions

We were delighted to return to Catex on Wednesday February 27th for Day 2.

After a very successful first day, we were looking forward to building more relationships in the hospitality industry and also, checking out the innovative and eye-catching stands put together by some of Ireland’s largest foodservice and hospitality businesses.

We were delighted to catch up with some our current clients on day 2, including; Henderson Foodservice, AIL Group, Acorn Insurance and the Restaurant’s Association of Ireland.

Some of the mouth-watering events throughout the day included a Vegan Dish Competition, an Irish Beef Fillet Competition, the Avonmore Irish Latte Art Competition and a Chocolate Masterclass. We were also delighted to note a Career Q&A whereby chefs hoping to pursue, progress and succeed in a career in the industry, had an opportunity to pick the brain of some of Ireland’s finest.

That evening, the Irish Cocktail Champion of 2019 was announced, with Oisin Kelly creating a vodka and elderflower sensation, which he named Solstice. Oisin will now represent Ireland at the World Cocktail Championships in China later this year!

The final and largest event of the day, the Aramark Chef of the Year 2019 competition, took place in the Chef Ireland Competition Feature Area at 5.30pm. A huge congratulations to Oran Colhoun to took home this prestigious award.

Similar to the day previous, our lovely neighbours made for great company throughout the day, especially Patisserie Royale, who insisted on keeping our sugar levels up – who are we to argue?
By the end of day 2, it was very obvious to us why this is Ireland’s largest foodservice and hospitality show! We didn’t want to go home and already couldn’t wait for the 3rd and final day.

Catex 2019 – Day 1

Catex Exhibition is Ireland’s largest foodservice and hospitality show, which takes place every 2 years in the RDS, Dublin. With more than 10,000 participants attending the last event in 2017, we were expecting big things, and Day 1 did not disappoint!

Catex 2019 kicked off at 10am on Tuesday 26th February, with the crowds appearing straight away.
Our stand was located just inside the main door on the right, so it was a lovely welcome face for all the crowds as soon as they started to arrive 🙂

We were located directly opposite the UCC Coffee stand (UCC Coffee – The Total Coffee Solution) which meant the wonderful baristas there kept us in coffee for the day. Along with our other lovely neighbour, Patisserie Royale, keeping us in cakes, we knew this was going to be a good event!

There were some incredibly impressive stands on display throughout the show and none other than Henderson Food Services, and it was so lovely to catch up with the Barista Bar team.

Also great to see so many people from the Hospitality and FoodServices Industry there – Laura from Butlers, Michael from Bujo, Dara from Insomnia and Charlie from JumpJuice, as it’s always a pleasure catching up with these guys.

At 11am the Chefs Network Masterclass kicked off and continued throughout the day with some of the finest chefs producing mouthwatering dishes!

The Avonmore Barista Championship was one of the main events for Day 1 where Ireland’s leading Barista’s put their skills to the test in this intensive challenge – and it was great to see one of the regional managers for Insomnia on the judging panel.

With companies going to such lengths with impressive stands, displays and innovation, it easy to see why this is classed as ‘Catering Inspiration’. We are looking forward to the next 2 day already.

Fitzers 5k Run/ Walk

Fitzers 5k Run/Walk

On Saturday 23rd February 2019 some members of the Customer Perceptions team took to the street of Dundalk to participate in the annual Fitzers 5k Run/ Walk in aid of Marie Goretti Children’s Respite and RehabCare Dundalk.

Whilst the rain pounded down on the crowds, it didn’t stop any of the team finishing with a smile of their face (and slightly out of breath!).

A massive well done to the organisers, the entire team involved in putting the race together as this clearly took a lot of time and effort, and didn’t go unnoticed.
Well done to each and every participant, and thanks to all the crowds who were there to cheers them on.

Looking forward to next year 🙂

Audits for your Business – Presto Audits

Presto Audits

What are Presto Audits?
Customer Perceptions bring a new technology to our Clients in the form of Presto Audits. Our Presto Audit system allows you or your colleagues to conduct any type of audit on your phone/tablet. We collate easy to interpret results instantly for you, in the form of a Dashboard.
This is perfect for internal audits that you currently complete on excel/word. The survey is designed and uploaded to the system, and you can have immediate access to the survey through your app.

Who should use Customer Perceptions Presto Audits:
Presto Audits work very well for a variety of tasks:
• Internal Store Audits
• Coffee Machine Audits
• Quality Control Audits
• Staff Observation Audits
• Compliance Audits
• And many more…

Features and Benefits of Presto Audit
The advantages of using our Presto Audit system are as follows:
• Actionable Insights via our dashboards.
• Instantly alerts you to areas that need attention.
• Highlights your company strengths.
• Offline capability – no need to be in an area with internet access.
• Unlimited number of users can be set up.
• Easily track who has completed their allotted audits.
• Change/Amend your audit form any time you wish.
• No investment in hardware – use existing phone/tablet.
• Easily upload pictures to the audit form.
• Automatic analysis for you at the touch of a button.
• Customisable Dashboards.
• Software is company branded with your colours/logo.
• Drill down reports per store, area, manager and much more…

by Susan Reilly, Senior Project Manager, Customer Perceptions.