Learning how to be a skilled mystery shopper takes time. Some feel they are a natural, but there are common mistakes many mystery shoppers tend to make early on. Sometimes the idea of mystery shopping sounds fun and appealing to prospective mystery shoppers due to the simple fact that they are getting paid to go shopping. However, being a secret shopper requires much more than a knack for shopping. In order to be a skilled mystery shopper, a person absolutely must have integrity, the ability to develop memorization techniques, follow instructions and remain objective. This is easier said than done, but with time and dedication, strategies can be implemented and mystery shops can become second nature.
Read The MSPA Code Of Ethics
One thing is certainly true about becoming a mystery shopper- you do not have to pay or even be certified. But, certification is a wise investment for several reasons. The main reason I always suggest new shoppers pay the $15.00 fee and get at least MSPA Silver Certification is that you will learn proper etiquette for performing shops. There are many expectations almost every single mystery shopping company has for any shopper given assignments. If you don’t get certified, by all means, read the MSPA Code of Ethics. There are some serious “need to know’s” held in the Code of Ethics that will prevent you from getting a bad reputation. There are dos and don’ts when conducting mystery shops like taking kids and company on certain shops. If you don’t know certain ethics, you can easily get disqualified and your shop can be rejected.
Read The Instructions Immediately When Assigned Shops
When you are assigned a mystery shop, read the instructions immediately! If you fail to do so, you can miss important information and fail to take action that may be required early on in the shop. For example, some mystery shops may require you to make a phone call or schedule an appointment as much as a day or two in advance of doing the on-site shop. There may also be specific time frames that are required for certain shops. In other words, read through the shop to cover your bases and also to be sure the shop is one you are capable of doing. Nothing upsets a scheduler more than to have shops canceled last minute because of issues that could have been avoided if the shopper had read through the instructions upon assignment.
Read The Instructions More Than Once
Mystery shopping can somewhat be compared to an acting script. While some are easier and require less information, there is often a role that must be played and lines to remember. How many actors will go to the set without having studied and practiced their lines? The same goes with mystery shops. Have your “script” down and memorized to the best of your ability. Know your strategy so that you are prepared for your role.
Remember The Little Details
Nothing is more embarrassing than having to go back into a location and make up some stupid excuse for having to see an employee that you were required to get a name for. The small details are the one’s that will get you and it is usually these small details that you must really remember to gather while on the shop. This is a major reason for studying shops several times prior to going on-site. There are ways to remember these details, especially for shops where it would be appropriate to use a cell phone or a grocery list. These are little tips you can learn by getting certified. Using a cell phone to text details or a grocery list to note them can be a life-saver.
Remain Objective In Your Thinking and In Reports
It is crucial, no matter how “nice” or “how” rude an associate is to observe their behavior “as is” and to not let it affect the overall reporting of a mystery shop. It can be tempting to comment negatively on an entire shop when an associate behaves badly or the opposite- to report too positively when an associate is extremely helpful. As a mystery shopper, you must keep your composure and report very accurately. When filling out reports, you also must uphold this honesty and create reports that avoid using terms such as “rude,” “friendly,” and “polite” too much(unless requested). Instead, use terms that explain the behavior. What did the person do that was rude or polite. Did they not greet you, smile or make eye contact? This is the correct way to report. If they were friendly, did they go out of their way to be helpful and how? Did they smile and ask you how your day was, offer you assistance that was outside of their department? Keep things like this in mind when doing reports. The client wants to understand the exact actions of their employees. They want more reporting and less opinion.
Keeping these factors in mind will help you to become a more trusted mystery shopper and will enhance your chances of getting more assignments.