There are many things to remember when doing a mystery shopping assignment. Most shops have dozens of questions that must be answered, as well as obtaining the names of employees, remembering what questions or scenarios are to be presented and more.
Even though there is much to remember, you should never take the report form with you to do the mystery shop. Instead, make a “tip sheet” you can refer to during the shop to remember all the things you are to do. For example, it might be helpful to have reminders of which departments you are supposed to visit, the things you need to time and the employees for whom you need to get names.
Your tip sheets may be paper or electronic. The type of tip sheet you use will depend on the nature of the shop. It is critical that you not draw attention to yourself, so don’t do anything that would make you stand out or make employees notice you.
You may want to make a few notes you can discreetly refer to during the shop. These notes could be on an index card tucked in a pocket or purse, buried in your shopping list, or on a sticky note stuck in your check register.
If you use a personal digital assistant (PDA) or smart phone, you may make some notes using the memo function, or perhaps even download the entire form to the PDA or phone.
Another way to use an electronic tip sheet is to record a voice mail message for yourself with reminders of what you are to do on the shop. During the shop, use your cell phone to check your voice mail. Listen to the message you left for yourself, and you will be reminded of what you need to do.
If you are doing a restaurant shop by yourself, you could take a crossword puzzle book with you. Hidden in the puzzle can be reminders such as, “manager,” “server,” and “hostess,” to remind you of the names you need for the report.
Whether you are shopping by yourself or with a companion, you might have a day planner, travel brochures, or classified ads. Make your tip notes discreetly in the materials, and you can refer to them during the shop while making it appear you are working on a project, planning a trip or looking for an apartment.
Many times, your tip sheet will also serve as a place where you can make notes during a shop. Of course, you must always take care not to be observed making notes about the shop.
Used properly, tip sheets are a tool that will ensure you never forget to obtain the information needed to complete the report, and will help you remember the details of the shop.
What sort of tip sheets do you use when secret shopping?