Covert Auditing is performed when the Auditee (the body or person being audited) is unaware they are being audited. The process is very similar to Mystery Shopping performed in the Business-to-Consumer sector.
Covert audits give a ‘truer’ picture of the day-to-day practices of an organisation. It is not unknown for organisations to put on their ‘best face’ for visitors whilst ‘insiders’ get a more raw view of the reality. Some in senior managers assume that their staff will pass on all relevant information but existing staff have to worry about any potential negative impact to their jobs and careers. External covert auditors do not have to filter their observations in this way.
As with all audits (covert or overt) full discretion is guaranteed, with information gathered during the observations being only reported to agreed contacts within the organisation.
Covert Audits are typically follow two themes:
Undercover visits typically following a script where the auditor presents as a new or current customer contact and then assesses the experience your organisation delivers against criteria agreed with you prior to the visit or visits taking place and reports back.
Some clients want to know when visits will take place, who by, and be quite specific about the scenarios we act out, whilst others give us a more general script and ask us to look for weak areas. We are flexible, and will do our best to delivery what you ask for.
Undercover visits where the auditor presents as an internal member of staff to the organisation. Typical examples are as new employees, or staff visiting from other locations. The auditor will then assess the experience against criteria agreed with you prior to the visits and reports back.
This kind of covert audit is a little more involved as a number of issues have to be addressed before they can take place, for example, passing security checks or gaining clearances, a high level awareness in HR departments to emulate the processes behind a new starter, etc.