Whether you are a brand new or experienced mystery shopper, proper preparation is a critical part of completing your assignments correctly.
Download and review the shop guidelines as soon as you receive the assignment. Even if you have done a particular shop many times, always read the guidelines and report form before doing the shop. Clients make changes from time to time.
Use a highlighter to identify key issues of the shop. If you have questions, this is the time to ask them. Don’t wait until the day the shop is due. Most companies prefer that you contact them by e-mail, but the shop guidelines will tell you the best way to contact them. Give your scheduler time to respond.
In rare situations, you may discover requirements that make it impossible for you to do the shop. If you have to cancel an assignment, do it immediately, but only if you have a good reason. One male shopper told of having to cancel an assignment because he didn’t think he could convince the employees that he was pregnant, a requirement of the shop. Because he immediately read the instructions, discovered he couldn’t do the shop as required, and notified his scheduler, the shop could be reassigned right away.
If you are asked to confirm the shop, do so immediately. You can also take that opportunity to ask any questions you have about the shop.
There may be things you have to do before going to the location, such as making a reservation or an appointment, or completing a telephone shop. Allow time to do these tasks before making the visit.
Don’t take the form with you to do the mystery shop. Instead, make a tip sheet you can refer to during the shop to remember all the things you are to do. For example, it might be helpful to have reminders of which departments you are supposed to visit, the things you need to time and the employees for whom you need to get names.
The information you receive will vary from one company (and one client) to the next. You will always receive written guidelines on doing the shop. Some companies provide detailed manuals with all of their policies and procedures and everything you need to know about shopping for them.
Companies may want to conduct a telephone session with you, especially the first time you do a shop for them. It gives you the chance to ask any questions, and they can feel confident that you understand what is required of you.
In some circumstances you will receive face-to-face instruction. This might involve meeting with someone at an office, classroom training with other shoppers, or field training where you go into a business and conduct an actual shop or a test shop.
Whatever form your instruction takes, make sure you understand what you are supposed to do. If you have questions at any point in the process, ask for clarification. They want you to ask questions about anything you are not sure of.