Cambridge BID announces winners of the sixth mystery shopping awards


Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) held its sixth annual Awards evening last week to recognise and reward the highest levels of customer service among Cambridge businesses.

The event, which was held at the Fisher Building, St John’s College, was attended by representatives from city businesses who had all signed up to have their staff and service rated anonymously in Cambridge BID’s Mystery Shopper programme.

A total of 157 businesses took part in the programme this year. Round one of the mystery shopping, which was conducted by independent market research company Storecheckers, took place in April. It assessed selling skills, staff attitude, store standards, welcome and goodbye, local as well as product knowledge, and appearance.  Round two took place in July, assessing the same criteria.

This year additional categories were added, to include two professional sector categories and one for overnight accommodation. Five businesses shared the Overall Winner title: Burr Bridal, Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, Dr. Martens, Ernest Jones and the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology. All five winners scored the maximum 100% on both their mystery shops, proving customer service is at the heart of everything they do.

Cambridge businesses achieved an average score of 85%, higher than the national average (81%), making it one of the top UK locations assessed by Storecheckers.

The 14 individual category winners were:

Best Overall Customer Experience 2018

  • Late Night Venue: St Radegund
    “The service here was excellent; it didn't matter that I had to visit by myself as I was made to feel almost part of a family. I will not hesitate to recommend this as somewhere to visit in the future.”
  • Restaurant: Varsity
    “I received polite, helpful and efficient service. This is a lovely restaurant with great service and my lunch was tasty.”
  • Café: Bould Brothers
    “This is a great venue to which I would return. Not only is the fare of excellent quality but the colleagues, although busy and under pressure, managed to find time to make the experience memorable.”
  • Independent Business – Fashion & Beauty: Burr Bridal
    “I would definitely recommend this location as I felt that the colleague had good experience in the field and excellent product knowledge. I was assisted in a warm and engaged manner, with a straight to the point, honest approach, which definitely worked well for me.”
  • Independent Business – Other: Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery
    “The unique service provided and the empathy and engagement of the colleague could not have been bettered.”
  • National Business – Fashion: Rohan
    “The knowledge and enthusiasm for the products shown by the colleague really made them sound desirable and I also felt they were happy to help me as a customer and were genuine in their wish to help.”
  • National Business – Shoes & Accessories: Dr. Martens & Ernest Jones (Lion Yard)
    “I cannot praise this staff member highly enough for the very personal approach and excellent rapport built. They were very happy to go and locate items in which I was interested, to express views and to make helpful suggestions.” (Ernest Jones)
    “The service was friendly, upbeat and genuine. I felt that the level of attention I received and the rapport building was exceptional - excellent work.” (Dr. Martens)
  • National Business – Other: Molton Brown
    “This was a very enjoyable experience: friendly, competent and professional. The staff member would do a good job of helping anyone who wanted advice and help in choosing products for themselves or for a gift.”
  • Professional Business – Open Door: Metro Bank
    “I can't really praise the service enough. I was asked questions to establish where I banked now, what I was looking for, what type of accounts and more, all in a friendly and helpful manner, leaving me wanting to sign up straight away. The member of staff could not have been more helpful, friendly or enthusiastic.”
  • Professional Business – Other: Gonville & Caius Conference Office
    “The call handler was very helpful, demonstrated a genuine interest and was constantly friendly throughout the call. They demonstrated a ‘want to help and accommodate’ and a 'can do' attitude.”
  • Leisure/Attraction: Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
    “The staff member was friendly and helpful - they answered all of my questions. They were an excellent ambassador for the Museum and went out of their way to give me more than enough information for my query.”
  • Market Traders: Il Molino UK
    “The staff member smiled and tried to help me. They asked about my needs and made suggestions. I thought the staff member came across as helpful and knowledgeable.”
  • Overnight Accommodation: Hotel Du Vin
    “All staff looked very smart and the person who showed me to my room was excellent. The whole hotel was clean and well-kept, furnished appropriately for the era of the building and very atmospheric, especially the Reception.”
  • University B&B: Downing College
    “Every staff member I met acknowledged me either with a smile, at the very least, or by saying “hello”. It was hard not to feel that you were staying in a reasonably upmarket hotel room rather than college accommodation.”

Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID, said: “In a world where online shopping is growing, it is the personal service offered on the high street that keeps people coming into stores and reinforces the relevance of the high street.  The Cambridge BID Mystery Shopping programme allows us to recognise the efforts of individual stores and businesses through 14 sector specific awards and I’d like to congratulate these winners all of whom have demonstrated service excellence at the highest level.”

The awards were presented by The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Cambridge, Councillor Nigel Gawthrope, who said: “This initiative is all about celebrating and showcasing the many businesses that continue to provide superb shopping experiences and fantastic customer service in Cambridge, as well as providing support and guidance for businesses who want to improve.

“It’s a privilege to present this award today to businesses that have clearly gone that extra mile to ensure their customers are being treated to excellent customer service.”


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