Mystery shoppers are required to read all of the instructions they are given at the beginning of their assignments. They are also asked to review the form they will be completing so they know exactly what they should be looking and listening for as they conduct their shops. Being prepared is a critical component for being successful in this business. We find that our best shoppers always take the time to complete this step. We then ask the shoppers to fill out their evaluation forms which are usually found online with most mystery shopping companies, paying close attention to due dates. From time to time, secret shopping companies may need to ask the shopper additional questions about their experiences so we ask that the mystery shopper make themselves available to provide this information should it be necessary.
Primary Requirement (Anonymity)
A good mystery shopper is always anonymous. A shopper should be able to visit the same location more than once without being detected by the staff. Unless specifically asked to by the client, a shopper should never announce him/herself as a mystery shopper when on a shopping engagement; however, there are other ways a shopper can compromise his/her identity during a shop.
In order to maintain anonymity during a shop assignment:
- Make an effort to appear like any other shopper in the store.
- Do not take any of the paperwork associated with the shop onto the premises.
- Do not take notes while you may be in sight of employees.
- If you need to take notes to help you remember details, go to a place where you will be out of sight, such as the restroom or your car.
- Do not ask employees questions that a typical shopper would not ask.
- Do not stare at nametags.
Occasionally, clients report that a shopper was identified by store personnel. In such cases, the client does not allow the shopper to shop there again and the client might not accept a report for that engagement. If a report is not accepted, the client will not pay the shopper for the shop.
What kind of person would make a good secret shopper?
Market Viewpoint rates someone as a good shopper who has the following qualities:
- Honesty and Integrity
- Observational skills
- Writing skills
- Listening skills
- Follow-up skills
We also seek out those who are deadline oriented, take the time to read through all of their instructions, can work independently, accept responsibility, and use common sense.
Mystery shopping is serious business. It is work that has responsibilities like any other work situation but it can be very rewarding experiences for someone who enjoys working in a flexible, challenging, and unique environment. The reports that mystery shoppers produce are used to coach and counsel employees for poor behavior or reward employees for top performance. The reports submitted by our shoppers can have an impact on the profitability of a company or on someone’s career and it is for those reasons that we ask shoppers to take this process very seriously. In the end, the work they submit will make a difference. Ace Research has experienced in numerous projects related to mystery shopping, that how certain misconceptions and unethical practices affect the quality of reports as well as the credibility of a mystery shopper.
Unethical practices can cost you a job
- Unethical practices are always traced back as there are several tiers of the Quality check. So, assuming to remain in disguise for long is mere a wrong judgment and misconception.
- Quality of reports is assessed on every level i.e. form reporting to the verification of receipts and authentication of data.
- Results, if found ambiguous, are scrutinized thoroughly and if any malpractice or unethical action observed the shoppers are made aware immediately and if required necessary action is being taken often leading to disqualification and halting reimbursement of assignment dues.
- CCTV footages and onsite authentication of visits are acquired if unethical practices observed.
- Shopper rotations are frequently done to reduce reporting biases and unwanted practices during site visits.
- Shoppers seeking loopholes might get away in the short term but in the long term due to strict course of quality assurance, their activities get apparent.
- If found in breach of any legal and ethical requirement, shoppers are warned strictly and in case found guilty they will lose the job.