How To Be A Great Mystery Shopper
If you want to make money from mystery shopping, then there are a few things you need to know. How to be a great mystery shopper isn’t a conundrum. It’s easy when you know how. In this article, we will look at all the elements that come together to be a great mystery shopper. And the rewards are good.
There are free things, the chance to get out and about plus the money, of course. Mystery shopping is a great way to make some extra cash. And if you want the money, then you have to be good at it. Sao, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to be a great mystery shopper.
Always read the questionnaire before you carry out an assignment
This is mystery shopping 101. If you don’t read the questionnaire thoroughly then how do you hope to carry it out effectively? The questionnaire details all the elements you need to know. It will tell you –
- Where to go
- When to go
- What to ask
- Who to ask
- What to buy
- What to do next
And all of this information is vital for the successful mystery shopper. A great mystery shopper will read the questionnaire three times –
- When they accept the assignment
- The day before the assignment
- The day of the assignment
And this means you have a full understanding as well as the chance to ask questions if there are parts you don’t understand. Mystery shopping companies are there to help you. They want the assignment to be carried out correctly. So, if the instructions aren’t clear then pick up the phone, send an email. They will be more than happy to help.
Reading the questionnaire as soon as you get the assignment is a great way to see if you need to ask any questions. It will help you to picture the mystery shopping assignment. Reading the day before means you can check understanding and refresh it in your mind. And then reading again on the day of the assignment means you cement that understanding. It becomes second nature when you know the questionnaire well.
The questionnaire can be printed out, so you can refer to it. I’d also suggest that you complete it wither online or with pen and paper as soon as you can after the assignment has been completed. This means the information is fresh in your mind. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In our quest to be a great mystery shopper, we have much to do before we complete the assignment.
Act like a regular customer
This is vitally important. If the person serving you guesses that you’re a mystery shopper then they won’t act naturally. They will try to make sure they get a ‘good report.’ And that’s not what mystery shopping is all about. It’s about measuring service. The service that is given to a normal customer.
If you don’t act like a normal customer then you can end up skewing the results. Mystery shopping is all about the mystery! How to be a great mystery shopper? Act like a normal customer, that’s for sure.
If you do get spotted as a mystery shopper then you can work your way through it. This doesn’t have to mean that the game is up. But you will have to think on your feet.
Mystery shopping is loads of fun, so don’t get too caught up with this. Don’t worry that you’re going to make a mess of things. There are thousands upon thousands of mystery shops carried out every day. You can be a part of this.
Complete your report as soon as possible – while the information is fresh in your mind
We’ve taken a look at this already. The fact that we’ve mentioned the questionnaire twice shoes you how important it is as a document in mystery shopping. The questionnaire will contain all of the information you need to carry put a great mystery shop.
It will ask questions such as –
- What time did you enter the store?
- Was the place clean and tidy?
- How many staff members on the shop floor?
- How long did it take to be served?
These are examples, so they might not be on every mystery shopping questionnaire. Think about what you’re being asked. Read the questionnaire – and complete it as soon as possible after the assignment. You might find elements that you didn’t check. There’s nothing wrong with going back quickly to check.
We all work better with fresh information. It’s why schools spend the last few weeks before an exam getting you to revise. If the information you learned at the start of the school year before isn’t refreshed, then you don’t retain it as well. If you rattle off a test just after the lesson you’ve sat then you will do far better than if you finished the lesson a week ago.
With this in mind, make sure that you give yourself the opportunity to complete the report as soon as possible after conducting the assignment. You will remember details. And you will need to, believe me. I’ve been mystery shopping for around a decade. And there are still questions on a mystery shopping report than I didn’t see when I first read through. But the fact that I had only just carried out the shop meant that I was able to recall this fact.
I’m no good with details, particularly about people. Most mystery shopping assignment will ask you to give a description of the person who served you, which includes –
- Name (if given)
- Hair colour and length
- What they were wearing
- Any earrings or other piercings
- Eye colour
Now I can remember some of these quite easily. But others take more concentration for me. I try to write these down where I can. This is to ensure I don’t forget. And you may have to speak to 2,3,4 or more people during the course of a mystery shopping assignment.
So, writing the report as soon as you can is best pro9ctice. And we like best practice, don’t we?
Stick to the facts when writing your report
You may already have an opinion about a particular brand, shop, store or worker there. Keep it to yourself. It isn’t relevant. Your role as a mystery shopper is to see what happens and report this. Factually. So, keep your report strictly to the facts as they happened.
There is no need to over think a mystery shopping report. It id there so you can see what happens and report back. In fact, if you have opinions about a particular store then it might be best if you don’t visit there as a mystery shopper. Leave it to someone who will give an objective view of their experience.
It isn’t always easy to leave our preconceived ideas at the door when we walk into a shop, café, bar or restaurant. We might catch a glimpse at the food hygiene report or remember that awful experience we had in the past.
But this isn’t fair on the person serving you that day. They need you to walk in as though you’ve never shopped there before. Their bonus might ride on the fact they get a good report from you. So, you need to be objective.
It’s all part of the fun of being a mystery shopper. See everything for what it is, rather than what you think it might have been in the past. This one is really important to ensure that everyone is getting a fair crack of the whip.
Be available for the mystery shopping companies to come back and ask questions if necessary
You choose as assignment, read the questionnaire, carry out the job and then wait to get paid. But there might be another step added in there. This depends on what’s going on. If there are elements of you report than need to be double checked, then who’s the best person to double check them with? Well, that’s you.
So, you need to be available for the mystery shopping company to come back to you. In some cases it might be that they can’t see the photos that you’ve uploaded. In other cases, it might be that they need to check a certain piece of information. Or the store might disagree with your version of events.
Don’t get worried about this. It is fairly normal for a mystery shopping assignment to have something that needs to be checked. I’d say about 5% or 1 in 20 mystery shops have this in my experience. And if there is a disagreement about the facts, stick to your version of events if you have recorded them properly. I’d expect that you’ve given the truth in the first place. So, stick to the truth. It’s always the best policy in life.
None of us are perfect. We will misread some information or miss something out from time to time. And the best way to deal with this is to talk it out. If the mystery shopping company know that it’s a genuine mistake, then they will work with you. If they can’t get hold of you and feel like you’re not helping them, then there is a chance they cancel the report and you don’t get paid.
Staying contactable after an assignment doesn’t mean sitting by the phone waiting. It means checking your emails and returning any voicemails. Most mystery shopping companies make it really easy to communicate with them. So, if you’re in any doubt then drop them a line. It will help to build bridges and ensure that you’re on the right track.
Check your mystery shopping accounts regularly to look for more assignments
Once you’ve completed one then you will always want more! A great mystery shopper will be ready for the next assignment. And the one after that. And the one after that. Mystery shopping gets into your system. You love doing it.
And the most effective way to know when there’s another assignment available? Check out your mystery shopping sites regularly. These are filled with assignments, all waiting to be shopped by someone like you. Admittedly, as I sit and write this in June 2020, there are not a great deal of assignments due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown that the country has been under for several months. But it will be back. Once lockdown eases, mystery shopping will come to the fore again. Companies will want to know what’s going on in their stores. And it will be down to the likes of you and me to make that happen.
New to all of this? Don’t know who to sign up for? I use Market Force more then others. There seems to be loads of assignments available in my area most of the time. Check them out if you want to apply. But there are many other options. So, sign up for a few (there ae no restrictions in my experience) and get shopping!
How To Be A Great Mystery Shopper
All of these elements come together to make the great mystery shopper. It’s all part and parcel of being a mystery shopper. If you follow these rules, then you can’t go far wrong. It isn’t difficult to become a mystery shopper. And it isn’t difficult to make money from it either.
If you have any questions at all about mystery shopping and what it can mean for you, then this site is filled with ideas that can really help you develop. If you don’t see what you need then drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.