Most people have a fear of something. For example, you may be afraid of heights, spiders or tight spaces. If you are a mystery shopper, common fears like these are often combined with one other fear that is related to your job. This fear is related to having your undercover identity as a mystery shopper revealed on the job.
What Happens When Your Identity is Revealed
As a mystery shopper, your job is usually to casually make observations about a specified venue by posing as a real customer. There are times, however, when your identity as a mystery shopper may be revealed. This often involves a direct confrontation, and even a public “outing,” that reveals your identity to other customers as well as to the store staff and management. Many people simply want to avoid this possibility because those don’t like being singled out or dealing with confrontation. However, having your identity revealed also can affect your mystery shopper rating and your ability to get paid on that assignment. Clearly, this is something that you want to avoid for many different reasons.
How Your Identity May Be Revealed
Understanding how to prevent your identity as a mystery shopper inevitably involves understanding ways that the store staff or management may learn this information. One possibility is that you have performed the same assignment too many times or too frequently. The staff and management may start to recognize you, and they may grow curious about your constant presence in the store. Another option is that you are shopping with a friend or family member and you or they mention your role as mystery shopper in a way that the comments are overheard. Some mystery shoppers even bring in their mystery shopping paperwork into the store, or they take notes about their observations without being inconspicuous enough.
Preventing an Unfortunate Event
So how can you prevent this unfortunate type of event from happening? You can first ensure that you do not repeat the same assignment within a period of six months or less. You can also ensure that you are completely covert while in the store. Don’t make it obvious that you are checking out the merchandise. If you do take notes, consider a method of note-taking that would be less obvious in the location. For example, a list with pen and paper may be more suitable in a grocery store while a list on your cell phone’s notepad feature may be more suitable for an assignment in a restaurant. Above all, you should act naturally while on location, and avoid mentioning mystery shopping at all costs.
Nobody really wants their identity as a mystery shopper revealed. This can cost you financially, and it can also result in embarrassment. Before each assignment, take time to really think through how you can walk through the assignment requirements in a manner that is natural for real consumers to do. Blending in with the other costumers is the best way to avoid being identified as a mystery shopper.