This is part one of a series of posts on mystery shopping best practices.
Mystery shoppers represent the mystery shopping industry, and the quality and professionalism of our work helps to shape the reputation of the industry. By maintaining the highest standards, we elevate the professionalism and public perception of mystery shopping.
Secret shoppers who complete the MSPA mystery shopper certification program agree to uphold a code of professional standards and ethics. These standards and ethics might be considered “best practices” for mystery shoppers, whether they are MSPA certified or not.
Certified shoppers who fail to operate according to the standards can lose their mystery shopper certification. However, any shopper who is unethical or unprofessional risks losing future mystery shopper jobs, as mystery shopping companies will not work with secret shoppers whom they can not trust.
With the permission of the MSPA, I am using the MSPA Code of Professional Standards and Ethics For Mystery Shoppers as the basis for a series of posts exploring ethical mystery shopper behavior and best practices for professional shoppers.
The Origin of the MSPA Code
The agreement for MSPA-certified mystery shoppers is based on the ethics agreement that MSPA member companies are held to. Although the specific responsibilities vary, the principles are the same in both the member company and certified shopper agreements. It is all about being honest, ethical and professional in dealings with mystery shopping companies, mystery shoppers, clients and the public.
What Are the Basic Principles of the Code?
The Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s Shopper’s Code of Professional Standards is established to ensure that all MSPA certified shoppers conform to the following principles:
- Commit, in principle, to the purposes of the association: improving service and promoting excellence in the mystery shopping industry;
- Conduct mystery shopping services in an honest and ethical manner;
- Conduct mystery shopping services according to industry procedures and regulations set forth and agreed to by MSPA members;
- Instill confidence in mystery shopping and encourage public cooperation;
- Respect our MSPA members, clients, and the general public.
Pretty good ideas, right? Whether or not you choose to become MSPA certified, following these guidelines will ensure that you are operating ethically. In future posts, we will look at the rules of conduct spelled out in the agreement, and how we as mystery shoppers can conduct business with the highest level of ethics and professionalism.