Making and receiving personal or business calls during a mystery shop is a big no-no. Being on the phone can disrupt the flow of the mystery shop and cause you to miss important observations. However, there are ways your cell phone can help you on mystery shopper jobs.
The specific ways you may use a cell phone on a shop will depend on the shop requirements and guidelines. Never do anything that will look out of place or make it obvious that you are the shopper. Because it seems that everyone has cell phones and they use them everywhere, you can probably use your phone on many of the shops you do. Of course, if the guidelines say not to use your phone at all during the shop, you should follow the shop guidelines.
If you are not going to use your phone in one of the ways described here, it is best to turn it off completely or not take it with you.
Here are several ideas for how to use your phone on mystery shops.
Record a voice mail or memo to yourself with reminders of what you are to do on the shop. Which departments are you to visit? What timings are you to get? What questions do you need to ask? Play back the recording immediately before doing the shop, or even during the shop to be certain you get all of the information you need.
Record shop notes.
Leave yourself a voice mail message or record a voice memo. There are apps available for smart phones the will convert your spoken words to text. Search the app store for “voice to text” to find one for your phone.
Use text messages.
Send yourself a text message before the shop with notes about what you are to do on the shop. It is easy to glance at the message during the shop to remind yourself of the mystery shop requirements. You can also send a few quick text messages while you are doing the shop with observations that will go in your report.
Many phones allow you to read and send emails. You can use email instead of or in addition to text messages for reminders and shop notes.
Cover note taking by talking on the phone.
Pretend you are getting your voice mail messages or talking to a friend while taking notes. For example, you could be pretending that you are getting driving directions to meet a friend while actually writing down the name of your server, timings, etc.
All cell phones show the time, and many have stop watches and lap timers built in. You may be able to use the timer function to get and store needed timings during the shop.
Early cell phone cameras did not have the resolution needed for digital photo shops. Many now do. Even if you are not doing a shop where you are required to upload digital photos, you may want to snap a couple of pictures for your own reference as you do the report. When taking photos, make sure you can do so without being observed.
You probably already have a cell phone, so why not use it to make mystery shopping easier?