Mystery Shopper Winners (and why)


District 96 ran a contest in December 2020 to test out how clubs responded to prospective guest inquiries.

In my persona of “Sandi Long”, I send an inquiry to clubs in the District between December 3rd and 9th.Of the 135 clubs, 61 responded within 48 hours, 62 didn't respond by December 14th. A few have responded in the weeks following.  For those that didn't respond - some inquiries went to spam folders, other clubs didn't have their contact information setup correctly in Club Central.  Note, that a  club can request to not be listed on find a club, and some corporate clubs in the District have done so.

The style of the responses varied. The styles break down to a short “hello” style, a zoom link invite, use of the Toastmasters International template, and a longer email explaining Toastmasters. Corporate club responses were very similar, but also included the message of needing to be an employee or other associate. Advanced clubs sometimes asked about the respondent's Toastmaster level. Some clubs phoned “Sandi”. They either got “Janice” or her voicemail. Some people left a voicemail for “Sandi” even though the voice mail message was clearly not hers, others didn't. Once I replied to the club with the "You've been mystery shopped!" message, some clubs invited me to attend anyway!  We also had some dedicated Toastmasters in corporate and inactive clubs who replied encouraging the prospect to join a club other than their own.

The TRIO had some criteria they used to pick the "best" responses.

How welcoming was the message?  

  • A personalized message tailored to the person (but using a template)
  • Spelled the prospect's name correctly 
  • Formatted nicely for easy reading - consistent fonts, bullet points, headings
  • An offer to respond to questions, continue the conversation before the meeting
  • More than just a zoom link to a meeting
  • Told a bit of a story to express empathy, but NOT making assumptions about the prospect's level of speaking/nervousness/et

What first impression did the message give?

  • Expressed the benefits of Toastmasters
  • Was too much of a pitch for the club
  • Had too many details about fees, pathways education, story
  • Provided contact information, links or attachments for more information
  • Response was timely - within the 48 hours
  • Expressed a bit about the club culture

Did the message miss the target?

  • Branding guidelines violated
  • Personal business signatures should not be used in conjunction with Toastmaster messaging
  • Incorrect information included
  • Inconsistent fonts, spelling and grammar errors
  • Too long, too much information
  • Other email addresses in the "to"/"cc" without an explanation
  • Subject line of email unclear

Clubs that made the shortlist

  • SpeechBond
  • Well Spoken Professionals
  • Golden Speakers
  • Burnaby Toasters
  • Metro Speakers
  • Vancore
  • ITD
  • Talk of the Town


Well Spoken Professionals

Talk of the Town Toastmasters


Responses are in the Google folder linked to this article