If you have been mystery shopping for even just a few months, you likely have come to the realization that some mystery shopping providers are happier with your work if you provide positive comments in your report. However, ethical mystery shoppers want to report the truthful facts about their site visit, and the fact is that some site visits are just not great.
Some mystery shoppers have even been asked to adjust their reports or even penalized for writing reports that were less than glowing with praise. If you are considering writing your reports wearing rose-colored glasses just to save your relationship with some of your providers, here is some food for thought:
A Tangled Web. The old proverb about getting caught up in a tangled web rings true for mystery shoppers. When you falsify even one of your reports, you are more likely to get caught up in your own lies. Many questions on a report are intertwined in some fashion, so if you falsify one answer, you will have to be careful to carry that lie through to other related questions in the report. This can be complicated, as some of your other answers may be dependent on how you answer certain questions. If something seems off in your answers, you can bet that your provider will come back to you and ask you to take your valuable time to adjust the answers.
The other side of this is if your responses go back to the store’s staff who reveal that your experiences shown in your report aren’t quite accurate. Either way, you may have some explaining to do, even if you thought you were answering the questions the way you thought the provider wanted you to.
It’s a Big Ocean. The truth is that you should never have to compromise your ethics for a paycheck. There are dozens, even hundreds, of mystery shopping companies out there. It is true that there may be a handful of less than honest companies that do want you to falsify your report, but there are many more that will love your level of ethics and your ability to report facts honestly and fairly. If you find that you are working with a mystery shopping company that quite simply is not a good match for you, end your relationship with that company and move on to another one. It really is that simple.
One of the hallmarks of being a good mystery shopper is your ability to report your observations during the site visit in an accurate way. If you feel as though you are working with a mystery shopping company that wants you to taint your observations in a certain way, the best bet is to walk away from that relationship and find another one of the many mystery shopping companies out there to work for. You will find in the long run that you are better off working with ethical companies who respect your high level of ethics as well.