If you are new to mystery shopping, or if you are an established mystery shopping trying to get your hands on some of the elusive higher paying assignments, you may be wondering if you have what it takes to really succeed at mystery shopping. There are a couple of key characteristics the truly great mystery shoppers have in common. If you see that you are lacking in any of these areas, simply work on developing those target areas to become a better shopper!
Time’s A-Tickin’! One of the most important aspects of mystery shopping is timeliness. There are several aspects to being a timely mystery shopper. First, keep track of your schedule and avoid overbooking your personal obligations as well as your mystery shopping obligations. Your work and personal lives will inevitably collide at some point, but if you do a good job at scheduling your work assignments, you can minimize this.
Then there is the importance of showing up to your assignments in the correct time frame. You may show up at the site between 10am and 4pm, but it’s too bad you showed up a day late…! A great mystery shopper ALWAYS completes assignments in the appropriate time frame, and only cancels an assignment if it becomes absolutely necessary.
And finally there is the aspect of completing your reports in a timely manner. Most assignments require the report to be filed within 12 to 24 hours of completing the report, so be sure you pay attention to the “due date” of your report and follow through.
The Devil Is In The Details. With mystery shopping, this is the absolute truth. Pay attention to the shop requirements before you set foot in the store. At the mystery shop location, make sure you are noting everything the requirements ask you to pay attention to. And then follow through with this by giving plenty of detail on what you observed when you are preparing your report.
The key word here is “observed.” Don’t tell how you felt or what you thought. Your personal opinions don’t matter at all when you’re a mystery shopper, except when questions such as “Would you recommend this store to a friend?” come up. Other than questions like that, you need to stick to the absolute facts. Think of it almost as a newspaper article on the front page. Tell what happened step by step, or department by department. Really great mystery shoppers have a great knack for keeping their opinions to themselves except when specifically asked for.
Put The Pen To The Paper. You may have excellent time management skills and be incredibly responsible. You may be impartial and have a great eye for detail. But if you can’t translate all of that into a great report, all of your great skills are going to waste. Think about it – in most cases, the only communication you have with the provider after you complete a shop is through your report. The report is where you get the chance to show off your superior eye for detail and knack for impartiality.
But if your report is bogged down by typos or poor writing skills, you cannot properly convey your thoughts and observations to the provider. One tip is to try to write your report just as if you were verbally telling the story or reading the story on the evening news. Read the narrative portions of your report out loud and make sure you haven’t left out any key words or points that bring your whole story together. Just remember that when you are “talking” to your provider, you should always use a professional tone rather than a casual tone.
If grammar and spelling are not your strong points, simply type up your answers in a Word document and run the spelling and grammar check features. You can even use the thesaurus and dictionary features, too. Then when your narrative is perfect, cut and paste it into the online report.
Take an honest look at your skill set as a mystery shopper. If you feel you are weak in any of these areas, make some changes to your typical mystery shopping routine and develop your skills a little further. Once you’ve mastered these key skills, you may be on your way to becoming a great mystery shopper!