Mystery shopping is a fun job in part because there is always some new aspect of the job to enjoy. Assignment requirements between various jobs are fairly similar in many cases, but with new job site locations and new people to interact with at each location, mystery shopping is anything but dull. Most mystery shoppers will agree that this is an exciting job, but at times it can even get stressful. Because each now job brings you new and uncertain experiences, there are times when you may be caught off guard and something happens that you just aren’t prepared to deal with. Sometimes these events may even result in your cover as a mystery shopper being revealed! Here are some valuable tips you can take advantage of tip save your hide when something unexpected happens on your site visits:
A Little Planning Goes A Long Way. If you have done even a handful of mystery shopping assignments, you can likely spot most of the potential problem areas that may arise simply by reading your assignment requirements thoroughly. You know that studying every row of shoes in a shoe store aisle may raise some eyebrows – especially if you head down the rows and men’s and kid’s shoes without a man and child in tow. But if you have the requirement of making sure all of the shoes are arranged by size, how can you accomplish this without looking suspicious. Well, the first thing you can do is to bring a man and a child with you to the store. This would be the least obvious way to pull this off. Otherwise, you can develop a story about looking for dress shoes for your son for a wedding he’s going to be in, and then mention off-handed that perhaps you need to look at some for you and your husband, too. Just be sure not to walk up and down each row of the store from left to right in a systematic way.
On The Fly. But what happens if, with your best-laid plans for fulfilling the assignment requirements, something goes awry while you are in the middle of your site visit? The fact is that there are parts of each site visit that are out of your control and simply cannot be planned for. You cannot control how the people in the store, including the employers, managers, and customers, will act during the site visit. Nor can you control things like stores being closed when you do the site visit and other such events. New mystery shoppers, and sometimes even the most experienced mystery shoppers, will need to have a moment to regroup during the site visit, and this is where parts of the job site, such as fitting rooms and restrooms come in handy. If you feel that an issue is reaching a critical moment and your cover is about to be blown, or if some other issue comes up that you haven’t fully prepared for, you can always head to these parts of the job site where you will be out of site and can have a quiet moment to yourself to think. In these private areas of the job site, you can take a moment to strategize your next plan of action. Do you need to leave the store immediately? Do you need to try to continue on with your site visit and act like there was a miscommunication that needs to be clarified? Do you need to act like you having had a busy day and were thinking about something else? There are any number of ways you can get out of a bad situation, but sometimes you just need a moment to think through the right plan of action.
Use some of these strategies to prevent unplanned for circumstances from blowing your cover on your next site visit!