Most mystery shopper jobs require that you include several timings. These may include:
- The time you arrived and the time you left
- How long you were at the location before you were greeted by an employee
- The time between placing an order and receiving it
- How long it took to check out
- And many others.
Timings are vitally important to the client. Many of their standards to relate to client service times. Customers want speed and efficiency, and clients need to know that they are meeting client expectations.
The client may ask for timings rounded to the nearest minute, or they may want them down to the second. How can you get the specific timings needed to make your mystery shopper reports accurate and complete? Here are some of my favorite tips.
Wear a digital watch. Trying to discreetly get timings from an analog watch can be difficult. Use a digital watch with a display large enough to read at a glance. Make sure the display includes seconds, as well as the hour and minute.
Get a stopwatch with a lap timer. There are many small stopwatches that attach to your keychain or easily fit in your pocket. Many digital watches also include stopwatches. You want a lap timer so you can capture multiple timings. The way it works is that you tap a button each time you want to capture a time. Learn how your stopwatch works and practice with it so you can get timings without looking at the stopwatch.
Use your cell phone. Your cell phone may include a stopwatch. If you can use it without drawing attention, that may be an easy way to get timings.
Make notes during the shop. Be very careful about making notes during a shop; however, if you are discreet, you can jot a few timings, names and other notes. Go to a closed restroom stall. Send yourself a text message. Jot a few notes on your shopping list or in your check register.
Back up your timings with a digital recorder. Record the shop so you can verify the timings you took during the shop visit. Do not rely solely on the recording—technology can fail. However, reviewing the recording can be a good way to double-check your timings.
Timings that do not add up will cause the editor to question your report. When you complete your report, check your timings against each other. For example, if you say you were at the location 32 minutes, but individual timings add up to 38 minutes, something is wrong.
Getting your timings right will make your reports valuable to mystery shopping companies and clients.