Language Access Secret Shopper Program (LASS)

LASS is a secret shopper program run jointly by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Operations.  Started in 2010, LASS secret shoppers visit more than 200 of New York City’s service centers to assess how well the centers provide services to customers who do not speak English.  LASS findings are important in helping the City identify areas for improvement and highlight exceptional customer service.  Examples of centers visited include Police Deparment Tow Pounds, Parks Department recreation centers, and Human Resources Administration income support and job centers.

LASS secret shoppers visit walk-in service centers throughout all of the City’s five boroughs, pretending that they do not speak English and ask for information about the services offered.  As part of their visits, secret shoppers also observe and rate interactions with frontline staff and security, determine the amount and quality of translated signage and documents, and assess the quality of interpretations, all while staying in character.  At the end of the shops, secret shoppers, MOIA and OPS meet with agency managers and report on their findings.  Where necessary, agencies take corrective actions.

If you are interested in becoming a secret shopper, view the summer internship description.  LASS prefers interns who are fluent in Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Russian, French Creole, Korean and Bengali.  These are the top six languages spoken in the City other than English.  LASS will accept, however, applications from interns who speak other languages.  In the past we have had interns who speak French, Urdu, Dutch and Hindi.