On a mystery shopper job, there are dozens of details and vital bits of information that need to be collected in order to complete an accurate report. On some shops, it may be possible to make notes or use a digital recorder to capture the shop. However, no matter what, a good memory is an important asset to a mystery shopper.
Although tools such as digital recorders are useful, they are not infallible. Batteries die, switches get turned off, or other sounds interfere with what you want to hear on the recording. Recorders should be thought of as backup, not your primary means of getting and recalling the data needed for your reports. And because there are times when it is difficult or impossible to make notes without being observed it is critical to develop a good memory.
Here are some tips on developing memory skills that will not fail you:
You have heard the term “photographic memory,” right? By making the effort to remember what something looked like, you may be able to recall the details you need. For example, use your memory to “take a picture” of the name sign at the bank teller’s window, and you will be able to recall the teller’s name by “reading” it from your memory. Or visualizing how your food looked when it was served will make it easier to describe the appearance in your report.
To take a mental picture, look at what you want to remember and make a conscious effort to remember it exactly. Too often, we look at things without really seeing them. Take a few seconds to etch the memory in your brain and you will be able to recall the image in graphic detail.
Creating a rhythm or melody associated with words you want to remember can help bring them to mind quickly. When you want to recall exactly what greeting the cashier used, set it to music in your head. The music will make it easier to remember. Likewise, if you need to remember a list of items or fact, silently run them through your brain to create a rhythm. Some people create a rap or rhyme to help them remember multiple items.
Associating new information with information already in your brain can make it easier to recall the new information. For example, if you need to remember the name of the salesperson, think of someone you know with the same name.
Each of these methods work, but you may find that some work better than others for you. You may be very strong with visuals and less so with associations, for example. Use the methods that work best for you, but keep in mind that you can improve your success with each of these by practicing. Even when you are not mystery shopping, make an effort to recall things such as names, times, and other details often requested on mystery shopper reports using these memory techniques or others that work for you.