Question from a secret shopper:
I had a mystery shopper job at a restaurant the other night. The service was okay, but the food was awful! I answered all of the report questions honestly and they ended up with a bad report.
After I submitted my mystery shop report, I also wrote a letter to the restaurant chain describing the poor quality of my meal. I did not tell them that I was the mystery shopper but I did say when I was there. The restaurant sent me a coupon for a free dinner to make up for the bad meal I had, but now I am starting to wonder if I did the right thing.
Should I have written a complaint letter to a restaurant I was mystery shopping?
In a word, no. You should not have written the letter. Your secret shop report gave them feedback about your experience so the letter was not necessary.
A good company will respond to a letter of complaint by doing something to make the customer whole. Meaning, they will replace defective merchandise, offer a refund or, as in this case, send coupons for free products or services. However, you were already “made whole” by the reimbursement you received from the restaurant via the mystery shopping company.
The client and the mystery shopping company might view your attempt to get another free meal (even if that was not what you were trying to do) as double dipping—getting paid twice for the same meal. Of course, they might not notice. But if they do, you could have some ‘splaining to do.
My advice would be to keep the coupon and not use it. If the mystery shopping company questions you about the complaint letter, you should explain that you realized after sending it that you shouldn’t have done so. You can also tell them that you did not use the coupon the restaurant sent, because you had already been reimbursed for the meal.
Whether you have a good experience or a bad one on a mystery shopper job, your report is all the feedback the client needs.