This is one in a series of posts on mystery shopping best practices.
In this post, we look at two points in the MSPA Code of Professional Standards and Ethics For Mystery Shoppers relating to honesty and integrity in mystery shopping.
I will not falsify or misrepresent reports.
This is the single most important rule for mystery shoppers. The worst thing any mystery shopper can do is to falsify a report. It destroys trust between the shopper and the mystery shopping company, as well as between the mystery shopping company and the client.
Making up answers and submitting a false report is fraud. When a mystery shopping company discovers that a shopper has falsified a report, they will immediately deactivate that shopper’s account and will not use that secret shopper again.
Because falsifying a report is fraud, companies may warn other mystery shopping providers about the shopper. That means that a shopper who commits fraud may find that they can not get mystery shopper jobs from many companies, not just the one they cheated.
I have even heard of one case where a mystery shopping company sued a shopper who falsified a report. They claimed thousands of dollars in damages including the money paid to the secret shopper for the fraudulent reports, the costs of redoing the shops, and other expenses necessary to mend the relationship with the client.
Most mystery shoppers are shocked when they hear about things like this because they can not imagine falsifying a report. The thought never crosses their minds. Good! Make sure the thought never crosses your mind.
I agree to perform all shops with honesty and integrity.
Although not falsifying a report is rule one, honesty and integrity go beyond that. Clients use the information in mystery shopping reports in many ways, including (in some cases) as a factor in determining employee raises and bonuses.
It is critical that all information be as accurate as possible. That means no “fudging” to make a shop experience look better or worse than it was. No making up answers because you didn’t check something you were supposed to check.
Honesty and integrity in mystery shopping also means taking care and not rushing through completing the shop or the report. Clients are counting on you to do your best work.
Watch for additional posts on mystery shopper best practices over the coming weeks.