If you are like most new mystery shoppers, you jump into the business with very little idea of what to expect. You know nobody who can show you the ropes of mystery shopping, and you don’t have anyone you can really call to get answers to your questions. If you are new to the mystery shopping scene, don’t stress! Here’s what you need to know to get a great start in this new and exciting business:
Read The Requirements. Each assignment you complete will have a list of requirements. Some requirements are just a few pages, while some are far longer. You can opt to be an environmentally-friendly mystery shopper and just read the assignment requirements on the computer screen. However, most mystery shoppers will print out the requirements for easier reading the first time around, and also to take with them and refresh their memory before they enter the store. Whatever method you prefer to do, make sure you have read through the assignment requirements and fully understand what you need to do on the job before you step foot in the job site location. It is highly advisable that you do print out the requirements to read through another time in the privacy of your car both before and after your site visit. Many mystery shoppers have been known to jot down notes to a few of the answers in a concealed location in their cars at the job site before leaving the parking lot. If you do keep the assignment requirements in your car, be sure they are concealed from folks passing by your car who may glance in your window, and make sure the store staff can’t see you from the window.
Get A Calendar. Whether you use a traditional hanging calendar, a desktop calendar, or a more high-tech calendar on your computer or hand-held device, make sure you use one! You may be the king or queen of organization, putting all of your to-do items in your head and keeping track of them the old-fashioned way. However, mystery shopping adds another dimension to your schedule. With each assignment you request, you will need to ensure you have the time to travel to and from the location, conduct the site visit, and return home to complete the online report.
Double-booking or overbooking is a common occurrence with newer mystery shoppers. While it may sound easy to simply cancel an assignment you don’t have time to complete, canceling out on assignments can leave a ding in your shopper rating and result in loss of assignments and income for you in the future. So it’s best to be safe and organize your schedule with a calendar.
Use Your Resources. Mystery shopping can feel like a very isolated job. You don’t have a manager hovering over your shoulder. You don’t have co-workers gossiping about the latest policy changes near the water cooler. Yet in a traditional job, your supervisor and co-workers are also a source of information and support for you, and this vital support is seemingly not available in mystery shopping. Fortunately, this is not true! Mystery shoppers gather together in online forums to discuss and debate the latest issues and challenges they face. You can get answers to your questions, or even simply just vent about your day’s work to people who understand. If you aren’t using the online mystery shopping forums now, make some time to check them out.
Mystery shopping can be a confusing job initially, but you will get the hang of it in no time!