This is one in a series of posts on mystery shopper business ethics.
This week we examine three points in the MSPA Code of Professional Standards and Ethics For Mystery Shoppers relating to maintaining professional standards in mystery shopping. All secret shoppers who achieve MSPA http://www.mspa-na.org/certification commit to uphold these standards, and they are standards that all mystery shoppers, whether certified or not, should follow.
I agree to perform all shops to the best of my ability.
Mystery shopping appears to be simple, so it is easy to get complacent about preparing for and performing mystery shopper jobs. However, it is important that each shop is done as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Do not rush through a shop visit or writing a mystery shopper report. Take the time to do it right.
Some shoppers justify sloppy work because they feel they are not paid enough to do a good job. If you think the pay is too low, do not accept the assignment. If you accept a mystery shopper job, do it right.
I agree to submit all reports on or before the deadline.
There are two parts to this: (1) Completing the client visit during the specified dates and (2) Submitting the report within the required time frame after the visit. Both are important.
Every mystery shopper job offer specifies the date range during which the shop must be completed. It is important that this deadline is met because the mystery shopping provider must be able to provide data from every location for the reporting period. In some cases, multiple visits are scheduled and there must be a minimum time (e.g., three days) between visits. If one mystery shopper misses a deadline, it can create a serious problem for the mystery shopping company.
Once a visit is finished, the report must be turned in promptly so that the mystery shopping company can review it and forward it to the client as soon as possible after the shop. The fresher the reports are, the more useful they are to the client.
Never accept a shop unless you can complete both the visit and the report within the required time frame.
I will not perform a shop unless I have thoroughly read each question on the survey and the guidelines provided by the shopping provider.
Preparation is a critical part of doing a professional mystery shop. If you do not read the report form and the guidelines, you will not know what information to collect.
This applies no matter how many times you have done a particular shop. Although you may spend less time reviewing the guidelines and preparing for the mystery shop on repeat visits, never do an assignment without reviewing everything first. Any experienced shopper knows that guidelines and report forms are sometimes changed by the client. There may be a different question that you are supposed to ask, or new observations to make. If you do not read everything before the shop, you will not gather the information needed to do a complete report.
Watch for additional posts on mystery shopper best practices over the coming weeks.