It can be frustrating to spend so much time and effort on a mystery shop, only to have the report sent back to you for revisions. There’s a lot of time involved in doing a shop – such as preparing for the shop beforehand by reviewing requirements, and actually completing the shop and filling out the report. When you push that “Submit” button to send your report off through cyberspace, you don’t want to think about that shop again until you get paid for it. We all know that’s not always the case, but there are steps you can take to decrease the possibility of the report coming back to you with revisions.
A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way! If you’re not already doing it, you should spend a fair amount of time preparing for the shop by reviewing the shop instructions before you set foot in the shop door. Know ahead of time what areas the shop report will be asking you about, such as displays, service, fitting rooms, and so forth. Know if you need to make note of the name of the salesperson that helps you. Some shops absolutely require the name of the salesperson, even if they aren’t wearing a name badge. Little nuances of the shop requirements like this may require some forethought and planning on your part. If they aren’t wearing a name tag, how can I get their name without appearing suspicious?
Grab A Pen! Obviously you can’t take notes while you are on the shop. Or can you? I’ve known shoppers who have very inconspicuously taken down notes along the way. How many shoppers really try on the clothes they take into a fitting room? Instead, sit down and pull a pen and paper out of your purse or pocket and write down the details you’ve been required to remember up to that point, such as what time you entered the store, how many staff and customers were on-site, and the name of the salesperson helping you.
Or on a grocery store shop, write those notes down on a “shopping list” as you go down the aisles. It’s advisable to keep your list folded over so store staff can’t take a peek at your “list” when you are talking to them.
Grab your cell phone and pretend to be texting a friend as you walk through the store, all the while you are really sending notes to yourself.
When dining alone in a fast food restaurant shop, how many regular fast food patrons don’t get out a phone, PDA or notepad to fiddle with while they munch on their food? If you’re in an environment where it’s not suspicious to have (or you’re not visible with) a pen and paper, go ahead and write those notes down on-site. Or again, act like you are texting a friend on your cell phone. Just be careful not to get caught or act out of the ordinary!
Follow The Report Instructions. Different shops may have very specific reporting instructions. Some shops only want written explanations to accompany negative answers while others want a written response to every question. Be sure to read the report instructions to ensure you complete the report based on the requirements. This will keep the scheduler from coming back to you asking for revisions to your report.
Also keep in mind at all times that your reporting should not reflect your personal opinion unless it is specifically asked for. You are reporting back to the company on the factual events of your visit. So don’t say, “I was upset when nobody approached me for nearly five minutes after I entered the store. The two associates were clearly gabbing about their weekend plans in the back of the store.” Instead, try, “After entering the store, I was not approached by either of the two associates visible to me for five minutes. During those five minutes, I observed them talking to each other in the back of the store.” Usually there is a question or two that will ask for your opinion when you can provide more detail on your emotions and beliefs rather than just the cold, hard facts.
When you follow these steps on your next shop assignment, you will be more likely to get your shop approved the first time so you can move on to the next money-making assignment!