There are lots of things to remember during a mystery shopping assignment. Remembering to get names, take timings, ask the right questions, etc. can be difficult enough, but we also have to do these things in a natural way that doesn’t draw attention to us, and without influencing how the employees do their jobs.
It’s a tough job, but it becomes easier with practice. In fact, you should be practicing your mystery shopping skills all the time, not just when you are mystery shopping.
Here are a few good habits you can cultivate that will help you to remember to do all of the necessary actions on mystery shopper jobs, will make secret shopping easier and more natural for you, and will make sure you complete all of your mystery shopping assignments accurately and completely.
Always get names. Employee names are an important part of most shop reports. Get in the habit of noticing the names of everyone you deal with, whether you are mystery shopping or not. Look at name tags. Practice asking salespeople and waitstaff their names.
Pay attention to appearances. You may be asked to provide employee descriptions instead of or in addition to their names. Get used to making a mental note of what the employees you dealt with looked like: gender, age, height, hair color and style and distinguishing characteristics. Make a game of it with your spouse or friends. After leaving a store, quiz each other on things such as, “Did the salesman have facial hair?” Or, “What color and length was the cashier’s hair?” Or, “Were any of the employees wearing eyeglasses?”
Listen to people. Often we go through interactions almost in a trance, not really listening to what the server says when he comes to our table, or the upsell suggested by the salesperson. However, secret shoppers must pay attention to those things. So get in the habit of really listening when people talk to you. Besides, it’s polite.
Notice the details. One day, after leaving a store, my husband turned to me and said, “They are so lucky we were not mystery shopping them.” This had not been a terrible experience, but the employees were a little “off”: not smiling and making eye contact, no name tags, uniforms that were not quite right, etc. Although my hubby is not a secret shopper, he had been on enough assignments with me that he was attuned to the little details that make or break a shop report.
Don’t say thank you. We were taught from the time we were toddlers that when someone hands something to us we should say, “Thank you!” However, when you buy something, the employee is supposed to thank you. Preemptively thanking them may affect the integrity of the shop, as instead of thanking you (as they are supposed to do) they may respond with, “You’re welcome,” “No problem,” or another non-thank you response. Practice allowing employees to thank you for your business, even when you are not mystery shopping.
The more mystery shops you do, the easier it will be to remember and do everything required. Practicing as you do your regular shopping will get you up to speed even faster.