There are many different types of mystery shopping assignments that you may be asked to work on over the years. Some of these assignments require you to reveal your identity to store management or staff when you first enter the site location, and with these revealed assignments, the pressure to conceal your identity is revealed. With most assignments, however, you will need to keep your identity a secret. If you fail to do so, there is a strong chance that you will not be paid for your time and effort on the assignment. In some cases, it may affect your mystery shopper rating and have other related impacts on your mystery shopping career. If you believe or know that your mystery shopping cover has been blown, there are a few key steps that you should consider.
Analyze the Situation Quickly
Very quickly, you should pause and analyze the situation as fully as possible. Is it a certainty that your cover has been blown, or do you simply suspect this? If you suspect it, is there anything that you can do to rectify the situation, or is it necessary for you to abandon ship right then and there? In many cases, you must analyze the situation in a matter of seconds. However, keep in mind that you should not run out of a site venue unless you are fairly certain that your cover has indeed been blown.
Move to a Discreet Location – or Leave
If you need more time to think about the situation and to plan your next move, you should consider moving to a discreet location. With most venues, there is at least one safe zone where you can pause and think for a moment without store staff watching you. For example, walking into a bathroom stall or a changing room stall can provide you with a few minutes of privacy. However, if you are certain that your cover has been blown, retreating to one of these areas may only make matters worse. If this is the case, you should walk straight out of the store. Avoid indicating with a positive response, however, that you are indeed a mystery shopper.
Contact Your Provider
Finally, you should contact your mystery shopping provider immediately if you believe or know that your identity as a mystery shopper has been revealed. Your provider will need to know that you are unable to complete the assignment because of this issue. However, in some rare cases, the provider may instruct you to continue on with the assignment. With this in mind, it is often best to contact the provider while in your car in a private location but before you drive away from the location.
No mystery shopper wants to deal with a revealed identity situation, but this nonetheless is a situation that will take place at some point for many mystery shoppers. If you find yourself in this type of situation in the near future, take time to put these tips into action so that you can most easily get out of a bad situation.