Four businesses gain 100% scores in Mystery Shopping awards

Cambridge BID award winners

Four overall winners were toasting their success at Cambridge BID’s seventh annual Awards evening, held at St John’s College last week.

Designed to celebrate the very best customer service in the city, the event was attended by representatives of all 150 businesses that participated in Cambridge BID’s 2019 Mystery Shop programme - including eateries, attractions, accommodation providers and retailers.

Independent market research company, Storecheckers, was commissioned to implement the programme and covertly assess standards of customer service against criteria such as selling skills, staff attitude, store standards, welcome and goodbye, local knowledge, product knowledge and appearance. Round one of the mystery shop took place in April with the second round in July.

Exceptionally, four businesses achieved full marks across both rounds of mystery shopping: Castle Fine Art; Fraser Hart; Gonville & Caius Conference Office; and Lockhouse Games.

“I’m pleased to say that Cambridge was once again amongst the top performing centres in the UK for service and customer experience,” commented Jeff Caplan, Managing Director of Storecheckers.

“A key stand-out in this year’s results was the timeliness and quality of welcome given to customers visiting Cambridge stores, with 75% of customers being acknowledged without having to wait and 50% of these rating their greeting as welcoming and warm.

“For restaurants, the equivalent figures were a near-perfect 96%, putting this sector at the top of our national rankings for initial welcomes.”

A total of 14 businesses were announced as individual category winners:

Best Overall Customer Experience 2019

Late Night Venue: The Cambridge Brewhouse

“The staff member showed good knowledge in recommending a Ruby beer as their in-house stout was not available. They smiled and seemed very welcoming and happy to assist when I went to the bar.”

Restaurant: The Punt Yard

“The service we received was excellent: friendly, professional and it appeared genuine. The servers knew about the products they were selling and offered genuine advice in a friendly manner.”

Café: Le Patissier

“I loved this venue. There were great colleagues, great atmosphere and the quality of food was some of the best I have had. I would go out of my way to recommend it.”

Independent Business – Fashion & Beauty: Burr Bridal

“I received excellent customer service with a personal-touch service from friendly and enthusiastic staff members. I was left feeling encouraged to continue the fitting process with the business.”

Independent Business – Other: Millers Music

“The service could not have been more friendly or helpful. I was given lots of information and reassured that I could buy something within my price range. I felt that I would have the shop’s support whatever I chose to buy or rent and that I could return at any time for free advice.”

National Business – Fashion: Bravissimo

“Not only do I plan to return, I have joined the discount club, taken a brochure home and plan to purchase the other two items I tried on, via the catalogue.”

 National Business – Shoes & Accessories: Fraser Hart

“The colleague seemed genuinely interested in me, what I wanted and they did their utmost to help me and to get my business. I would recommend the shop.”

 National Business – Other: Castle Fine Art

“The colleague could not have been more enthusiastic or pleasant if they had been selling their own artwork. They were extremely knowledgeable and talked with confidence. They appeared to really enjoy talking to me about the art and never made me feel anything less than a valued potential customer.”

Professional Business – Open Door: Premier Travel

“The staff member was very easy to discuss a purchase with and also offered future help via email, without hesitation. I would strongly recommend the service to others.”

Professional Business – Other: Gonville & Caius Conference Office

“I would definitely recommend this business as I would feel confident that other people would get the same genuine, helpful service.”

Leisure / Attraction: Lockhouse Games

“I would very much recommend the venue to family and friends. It was great fun. The staff members were so friendly and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble for them, and it seemed that they really cared about us having a good experience.”

Market Traders: Il Molino UK

“I would definitely return as the staff member made me feel at ease and was able to explain the difference in the olive oil taste, origins, processing and quality. I was invited to try samples and the interaction felt natural and positive.”

Overnight Accommodation: Regent Hotel

“We both felt all the staff members we encountered were professional in all dialogue, yet very friendly with exceptional eye contact.”

University B&B: King’s College

“The real star was the staff member setting up the breakfast room - they were so happy and so chatty and really made me feel welcome above what was required; they engaged in casual conversation and explained how the breakfast process worked… the energy they had shone out from them.”

“Excellent customer service plays a vital role in helping high street businesses to compete with the convenience of online shopping,” commented Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID.

“In a recent survey of Cambridge shoppers we found that more than 91% are likely to return to a local business if they receive good service, with 42% describing customer service as essential to their decision-making. At Cambridge BID we’re committed to helping businesses improve their customer experience year on year, and we’re delighted that 150 businesses have once again taken part in our mystery shop programme.”

Following the award presentations, which were made by The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Cambridge Councillor Gerri Bird, participants enjoyed the opportunity to network over drinks and canapes. All participants will receive personalised feedback over the coming weeks, together with an invitation to take part in tailored customer service workshops next Spring.


Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) consists of 1,200 city centre businesses, working together to promote the city to visitors, residents and workers, while ensuring they experience a welcoming and vibrant street scene that is both clean and safe.

Cambridge BID Limited