The people who are most successful as mystery shoppers are the ones who take it seriously and treat it as the business that it is. Mystery shopping can be interesting and enjoyable, but it is a business and you need to be a professional. Here are some tips to become a better mystery shopper.
Be reliable. As many as 25% of secret shopper jobs accepted by shoppers are not completed and have to be reassigned. This creates lots of work for the companies as those jobs still have to be done, often at the last minute. If you take an assignment, do it on or before the due date.
Hone your writing skills. You do not have to be a great writer to be a great secret shopper, but you need solid writing skills. If you think your grammar and writing may not be up to par, take a business writing class at your local community college or keep a couple of good reference books on hand to check your writing.
Communicate. Do not hesitate to contact the mystery shopping company when you have questions about an assigned shop, or if something goes wrong before, during or after the shop. This is critical. Do not be embarrassed if you do not understand something or if you made a mistake. When you have a question or a problem, let the mystery shopping company know right away. They will appreciate it.
Read and follow the guidelines for the shop. The guidelines describe exactly what the client wants you to evaluate. Failing to follow the guidelines means that your shop may not be accepted and you will not be paid.
Complete the shop and the report on time. When you are offered a mystery shopper job you will know when it must be completed. There may be a range of days and times, or it may be very specific. In either case, put it on your calendar so you remember to do it before the deadline. Then do your report as soon as possible after your shop visit—the client needs the information while it is still fresh.
Always do your best work. Some people think of mystery shopping as a fun way to make some spare cash. It can be that, but it is first and foremost a business. Be a professional.
Wendy Johnson says
I signed up to mystery shopping for Secret Shopper. As part of the registration process I gave them my full social security number. Now I am wondering if that was the right thing to do. Is this a normal request for these companies?
Cathy Stucker says
Wendy, many companies will not pay you until they have your SSN. They need it to report your income to the IRS at the end of the year. They are only required to issue a 1099 form if they pay you more than $600, but they need to keep records of what they pay to each contractor even if it is less than $600. Just make sure that you are applying to legitimate companies. I have a list of ~150 of them at http://MysteryShoppersManual.com/mystery-shopping-companies.