The UK has some of the most interesting mystery shopping assignments. A while back, I wrote about the extreme mystery shopper who had even purchased and crashed a car as part of an evaluation of automobile insurer service. Now comes this story from the Times (of London) Online about a mystery shopping study where secret shoppers are paid to go to church.
Christian Research, the group sponsoring the mystery shopping study, points out that although more than 70% of people in England consider themselves Christian, fewer than one in 10 attend church. The purpose of the study is to determine what keeps people from attending church and how those reluctant worshippers can be brought in to the fold.
The study is using experienced mystery shoppers to evaluate, “the sermon, welcome, atmosphere, warmth, comfort and appearance of churches around the country.” They are choosing shoppers who are not churchgoers, in an effort to get reactions from outsiders. In some ways this sounds more like opinion-based market research than true mystery shopping, but the idea is an interesting one: Hire mystery shoppers to find out what can bring more people into the churches.
What do you think? Would you take money to go to a church you would not normally attend?