Many mystery shoppers enjoy their profession because they don’t have a boss or manager constantly peering over their shoulder to make things get done right or to keep tabs on their progress. While this lack of daily contact with those you work for is a blessing much of the time, it can create a headache when you have questions or issues and can’t get the information you need right away. With so much of the interaction between a mystery shopper and a provider done via the internet and email, it can sometimes be tough to reach your contacts when you need them most.
An Urgent Matter. There are a number of issues that can arise with mystery shopping where you need an urgent answer. If you are on the job site and have a question before you walk through the front door, don’t shoot off an email from your Blackberry and expect an instantaneous response. Instead, give the scheduler a call. If you have questions on your report that need to be answered within your submission time frame, you can shoot off an email if you have a few hours before the deadline and are working within normal business hours. However, even this may require a phone call rather than an email. Never expect your scheduler to be sitting by the computer waiting for an urgent email from you.
Oftentimes, an “urgent” matter with mystery shopping can be resolved before it becomes an urgent matter simply by taking some proactive measures, such as reading through the guidelines and report questions before your site visit. Other times, such as when the store is closed or not at the specified location, you should definitely pick up the phone and call.
A Response May Not Be Needed. When you shoot off an email, there is always the looming thought that perhaps the message did not make it to the recipient. While it is always courteous for the recipient to respond to an email, even if it is with a short, “OK, I understand,” or “I am checking on this and will get back to you.” However, schedulers are busy people, and are juggling dozens of assignments at a time. If a scheduler feels a response is not needed or required to your email, he or she may simply let the email go without responding.
If you feel that a response is needed to your email, it may be best to spell it out for the recipient and say something along the lines of, “Please respond as soon as possible,” or “I will be waiting to hear from you before continuing work on this report.” With email, it is always best to say clearly what response you expect from the recipient.
When You Just Can’t Reach Them. There are some schedulers who, no matter who many times you email them and how many times you leave them voice messages, they simply won’t respond to you. You may have smoke coming from your ears at this type of rude behavior from someone you have a professional relationship with. However, before you go off on a tangent and attempt to escalate the situation to a manager, give your scheduler fair warning. Send off one final email or leave one final message, and say clearly, “I have been trying to reach you for quite some time now, and have not been able to get through. In the event you are sick or out of the office, I will call your manager if I don’t hear from you within the next few hours.” While you may know that they are in the office working, this route gives the person you are trying to reach with a face-saving way out of their rude treatment towards you while at the same time lets them know that you’ve had enough and are ready to escalate the situation.
With most communications between mystery shoppers and providers done over the internet, email, and phone, communicating can be frustrating at times. At this times when you are growing frustrated with slow communications, always remain tactful and professional to keep from damaging your your business relationships with your providers.