How Expert Mystery Shoppers Handle Tricky Timed Assignments

There is no question about it – timed assignments can be really difficult to do. Most assignments will ask you to take note of the time you entered and left the store. Keeping track of this basic information while you store away all of the other details of the site visit in your brain can be hard enough. But when an assignment requires you to pay extra attention to various timing details, your brain can truly become overloaded! Here are some tips for handling those tricked timed assignments:

Have A Plan. Before your site visit, review what aspects of the assignment require you to pay attention to time. For instance, do you need to note what time you entered and left the store, or simply how many minutes you were in the store? Do you need to know what time you started standing in line to check out, how long you waited for the store clerk to greet you, or other details? Some assignments want to know the exact time, sometimes down to the second, while others simply want to know how many minutes a certain task took without regard to the specific hour and minute of the day. Knowing what information is required to be timed and what format the timing aspect is required to be in is vital to completing your assignment.

Once you know what is required, you can develop a plan of attack for completing the assignment. Take for instance a timed assignment that wants to know down to the second how long you stood in line at a fast food restaurant, how long it took the counter staff to take your order, and how long it took for you to receive your food. You can’t very well stand there in front of the restaurant staff looking at your clock and writing down times on a piece of paper. Nor can  you likely remember several different times down to the second without error. There has to be a plan of attack to complete this type of assignment!

Get A Stop Watch. For assignments such as this fast food restaurant job, a stop watch that can handle multiple timing events is critical. Consider a runner’s watch that will allow you to take the time of a “lap” with the simple push of a button. Each time you push the button to signal a new lap, the time for the previous lap is saved to the second, and the new time for the next lap begins immediately. Use each new lap to signal a different aspect that is being timed. For instance, lap one times how long you stood in line, lap two times how long it took the clerk to take your order, and so forth. This type of technology is imperative in accurately completing this type of assignment. Hint: know how to use  your watch and have it ready to go before you walk in the store to do the site visit. You should be able to very inconspicuously press a button on your watch at each different “lap”. The last thing you want is to have to be there fiddling with your watch in front of the clerk.

Other Technology. For other assignments that are not quite so intense on the timing requirement, you can use other types of technology to keep notes inconspicuously during your site visit. For instance, if you need to keep track of how long it took a store clerk to greet you upon entering the store or how long you waiting in the fitting room before the clerk came back to check on you, there are other methods you can use to remember the timing details. If you are in a store where it is common to see people shopping with a shopping list, such as a grocery store, by all means, use your shopping list to write down notes on timing. If you can’t write down notes in a public area, head to the restrooms or fitting room to jot down some quick notes before continuing on with your site visit. You can also use cell phones, PDAs, and other technology to quickly jot down some notes without standing out in the crowd.

The timing aspect of site visits can be tricky, but when you use some of these expert tips, you will find they are easier and less stressful!