You can do everything on an assignment and get stymied on the job site by a piece of information that is just out of reach. Something that seemed as simple on the assignment requirements as getting a name can slow you down in a big way when you are actually walking through the assignment. There are a number of easy strategies you can put to use in your next mystery shopping assignments that will help you get the elusive information you need accurately complete the assignment.
Do Your Homework. It is a no-brainer for mystery shoppers to read through the assignment requirements before you hit the job site. After all, how else will you know what you need to do once you get to the job site? However, rather than just skim the assignment requirements and get a general idea of what is required of you, instead really put some thought into it. Don’t just think about a Plan A for getting the information you need. Instead think about a few possible scenarios that might prevent you from getting the information you need. For instance, if it is required that you get a sales associate’s name but she is not wearing a name tag, you don’t want to be so obvious as to ask her name. Instead, wait for the opportune moment. For instance, ask her name right before you are entering the dressing room, just in case you might need her help while you are in there. Or observe her interactions with her co-workers. Occasionally, you may overhear a co-worker may call her by name.
Typically, you wouldn’t think twice as you read through the mystery shopping assignment requirements about something as simple as getting a name, but this sort of thing happens all of the time on assignments. So plan ahead with an alternate strategy before you even get to your job site.
When You Get There. You can have some great strategies laid out in your head for how you intend to get the information you need. However, the big unknown in planning out your walk-through of the job site is of course the job site itself. There is no way of knowing who or what you are actually up against before you get to the job site and walk through the doors. What’s more, often in the heat of the moment, a mystery shopper will start to feel panicked and anxious if the information that is required for the assignment is just out of reach. So what should you do?
First, avoid the urge to panic. Showing anxiety or stress will only signal to the salespeople that something is wrong and will single you out in a situation where you want to lay low. Instead, use one of the several “safe zones” inside the job site that will allow you to re-group. Inside a bathroom stall or a changing room stall, you can enjoy a few moments to calm yourself down, think through your situation, and devise a strategy. While you may only need one strategy to get the information you need, it’s better to take this time to develop two or more possible ideas so you don’t feel the need to retreat into a safe zone for a second time.
It’s always best to plan your job site visit ahead of time, and even to visually walk through it in your head. But as you are doing this, think about the “what if” possibilities and devise strategies for those possibilities, too. And when all else fails, use the safe zones at the job site to re-group and re-formulate if necessary.