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15 & 16 JUNE 2021


Online Reviews V Mystery Guest

Since the inception of TripAdvisor many more review platforms have been birthed. It goes without saying that they contain invaluable insight for hospitality businesses, so does it make sense to embrace all this ‘free’ feedback and ditch mystery guest?

At Silent Customer, we advise our clients to use both our Mystery Guest and our Customer Review Management platforms because, while they both deliver feedback, they don’t have the same output: 

- Customer reviews deliver a true and general overview of how the public see your brand and insight as to whether you need to take radical actions

- Mystery guest generates detailed, targeted insight and learning.    

But what if you had to choose just one?

Here are some considerations:


Customer reviews are essentially free and the software to manage them is relatively inexpensive.

Mystery guests need to be paid by you, whereas customers who leave public reviews, pay you!


Customer reviews are generally short and subjective and often with very little narrative evidence to explain why something was good or bad. However, due to the sheer quantity of them, if you have a review management platform, you can easily benchmark poor and well performing sites as well as identify some actional insights through key word analysis. You can also solicit direct customer feedback and your NPS.         

Objective feedback is far easier to extract from mystery guest as the assessor is expected to give examples of what happened at each stage of a detailed customer journey. The feedback tends to be less frequent but far more detailed, targeted and expansive. It will give you quantifiable feedback about areas of your business that customers wouldn’t see, or care to tell you about.   


Although collectively, customer reviews are a great way to measure overall satisfaction and can be used as a reliable KPI, they don’t support targeted learning very well as it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. However, by way of supporting teams in learning how to manage customer complaints, a customer review management platform is a very useful tool indeed.  

With mystery guest you can look at each step of your customer journey, at a glance, across one site or all and over time. You can also ask the assessors to check more sensitive areas of your business that paying customers wouldn’t be aware of, such as nut allergy procedures and revenue incentives. In terms of helping your teams to understand customer expectations and affect behavioural change, they are invaluable.   


Customer review management platforms aim to make one voice heard through all the chatter. By identifying key words and using sentiment technology to filter through the noise, they do generate some useful insights which are sometimes mirrored in mystery guest. Review management platforms also enable you to respond to all your reviews and customer feedback from one interface!

Mystery guest platforms have been built specifically for business development and training. They are designed to extract precise data and identify new or missed revenue opportunities.

Silent Customer

To know where you sit in the market and to keep ahead of the game, you must be using at least one of these feedback tools. However, at Silent Customer we realise that data, by itself, does not initiate change but people do, so we work closely with our clients to make sure they are interpreting feedback in a meaningful and actionable way.

Our values are centred around influencing change through positive suggestions rather than criticism. This at the core of everything we do so, while data is our game, making people happy is our aim.

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