Question from a mystery shopper:
Do the employees who are mystery shopped read the reports submitted by shoppers? I sometimes return to shop the same location again, and I am concerned that employees will be able to figure out that I am the secret shopper if they have read the reports I wrote about past visits.
If they do read them, why would clients allow that? Doesn’t it make mystery shopping less valuable if the employees know exactly what was reported?
Many client companies do share mystery shop reports with the staff who were shopped. There are good reasons to do so.
One way mystery shop report data is used is to provide feedback to employees. The shop report lets them know how they did—where they performed well and how they could improve. The specific data in a mystery shop report can help employees to improve their performance or get positive reinforcement for doing a great job.
If the mystery shopping company or the client is concerned about the shopper being identified, they may remove identifying data that would make it clear who the shopper was. However, most of the time there is probably enough information (such as the date and time of the shop visit) that the employees could possibly know who the shopper was—especially if they have access to video surveillance tapes and can identify the transaction.
Does this mean that if you return to a location the employees will spot you as the mystery shopper. Possibly, but probably not. If you are concerned about that possibility, consider changing your appearance slightly on future visits. Nothing extreme—just style your hair a little differently, wear glasses instead of contacts, or other minor tweaks.
We may think we have been “made” when in fact we haven’t. That is just a part of the paranoia that comes with secret shopping, especially when you are new. Something to keep in mind: If they know I am the shopper, why do they not get a perfect score?