This is one in a series of posts on mystery shopper business practices.
This week we examine three points in the MSPA Code of Professional Standards and Ethics For Mystery Shoppers about communication with mystery shopping providers. All secret shoppers who achieve MSPA http://www.mspa-na.org/certification commit to uphold this code, and they are standards that all mystery shoppers, whether certified or not, should follow.
I agree to give immediate notice to the shopping company if I cannot perform a shop for any reason.
Of course, it would be best if you never had to cancel an assigned mystery shopper job. However, real life intrudes, emergencies happen, and sometimes it is impossible to complete the assignment.
It should go without saying that you should not cancel an assignment lightly. The mystery shopping provider is depending on you to complete the assignment. If you cancel, they have to find someone else to complete the mystery shopper job by the deadline. Canceling for frivolous reasons can mean that you do not get future assignments from that company.
When you have an emergency and can not do the shop, give the mystery shopping company as much notice as possible to allow them to reschedule the shop. You may also wish to offer alternatives, if you can, such as an alternate date when you could complete the shop or the name of a shopper who might be able to fill in for you. They may not be able to accept your suggestions, but it is a good idea to offer any assistance you can.
I agree to return follow up calls or e-mails in a timely manner.
There may be times when the mystery shopping company has to contact you with a question about your report. The editor is on a tight schedule to get reports released to the client, and if they need information from you they need it quickly.
Typically, the editor will send an email or leave a voice mail message detailing exactly what information is needed. Respond as soon as you possibly can with the answer so that the editor can make any necessary changes to your report and release it to the client. Get the answer to them the same day, or not later than the next day.
I agree to keep paperwork and notes for at least 60 days in case questions arise by the client.
Even though the report has been released by the editor, the client may have questions or require additional detail. File your notes and other paperwork so that they can be quickly retrieved in the event you need to respond to client questions.
If the client questions your report and you can not document what happened your report may be rejected and you may not be paid. But do not assume that you can discard your notes once you have been paid. Because report data may work its way through many levels of management, clients may raise questions long after the report has been received.
Watch for additional posts on mystery shopper best practices over the coming weeks.