Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Especially considering the increasingly competitive landscape of the beer industry, success in the craft beer sector is going to take a big team effort. Yet, even inside the team, a culture of insulation and isolation can easily grow. That’s why an outsider’s opinion can be so valuable, but how do you go about getting an honest, unbiased outsider to evaluate your beer business?
Well, when it comes to the impressions and workings of your bar, tasting room or restaurant, Secret Hopper is a mystery shopping company that focuses on helping craft breweries better understand and improve such services. While beer is the anchor of the industry, any company, in any industry, has trouble surviving and being successful without quality customer service. With more than 5,300+ breweries in the United States, Secret Hopper aims to determine what sets a brewery’s customer experience apart.
“Secret Hopper believes that an outsider’s perspective can bring surprising and helpful information to any brewery,” said Andrew Coplon, founder of Secret Hopper. “Secret Hoppers are undercover guests who will provide honest, first-hand feedback about their experience at the establishment. They will share their first thoughts upon arriving, feedback on the atmosphere, and detailed accounts of the customer service they received while spending time at the brewery.”
Secret Hopper wants to let breweries focus on their brand and the beer, while it helps clients once again see their brewery or other beer-related business from the other side of the bar. The service hopes to help businesses analyze trends, track improvements and make their brand stronger one pint at a time. And the price isn’t too bad at all.
“Secret Hopper’s basic service costs the craft brewery $40 per visit,” said Coplon. “Out of this $40, essentially $20 goes back into the brewery in the form of the Secret Hopper purchasing a flight and a pint at their establishment — making the net cost approximately $20 per visit. When a craft brewery approaches Secret Hopper about scheduling visits, that brewery is able to hand pick the demographic of beer drinker they would like to conduct the assignment. Secret Hopper has a large network of Secret Hoppers that can be selected based on age, gender and type of beer drinker. Prior to any mystery assignment, Secret Hopper works with each craft brewery to create a custom questionnaire in which the Secret Hopper will be completing following their visit. Over the course of their visit, the Secret Hopper will stay undercover while gathering objective information about these points. Secret Hopper aims to keep all data as objective as possible and eliminate all forms of bias.”
A customer’s first impression of your brewery will have a great impact on the remainder of their experience, even before they try your beer. Secret Hopper will let you know what they say. Its beer drinkers are lined up to give honest, objective feedback.
Is the music too loud? Do you smell freshly brewed beer or freshly mopped floors? Are the bathrooms dirty? Let us help determine what guest shoppers believe you have right and what may need improvement.
How long do customers have to wait for a beer? Do the servers offer recommendations? Do they offer beer to go? Does the staff make the customers want to return? These are some of the topics we will help your brewery discover.
“One of Secret Hopper’s standard points on their questionnaire is whether or not the bartender asks the customer if they would like any beer to go upon closing their tab,” said Coplon. “In many instances, this is a question that is rarely asked although it is an easy add on to create additional profits. The Secret Hopper program would first monitor if a craft brewery’s staff is asking this question, and if not, encourage them to do so. Over the following months, Secret Hopper would monitor if the change is being made and if it is truly sticking — with the ultimate goal being the brewery successfully creating an additional source of income. This question, along with the others in the Secret Hopper program, help create long-term benefits for the brewery including greater profits in addition to a fine-tuned tasting room.”