How Mystery Shoppers May Be Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Some mystery shoppers truly do take a casual approach to their assignments. They may pick up a few assignments here and there to fill up their free time in a fun and lucrative way. Others, however are trying to earn a certain amount of money each month, and they may rely on mystery shopping to make ends meet. If you fall into the latter group, you no doubt want to do what you can to make your providers happy and earn the most money possible at your job. However, some mystery shoppers may be shooting themselves in the foot without even being aware of what they are doing. Consider these points:


Many mystery shoppers who feel as though they need to take on a certain number of assignments in order to pay their monthly expenses may commit to more work than they can comfortably do. The need to pay bills is a strong motivator, and you may think that you can just burn the candle at both ends in order to complete all of the assignments you have signed up for. However, there does come a point when you take on too much work. When this happens, you may find yourself struggling to complete the work within the time frame allowed. Keep in mind that many mystery shopping assignments have to be completed within a certain time frame, and the reports have to be completed within a time frame as well. If you fail to complete these assignments within that time frame, you may simply not get paid at all. Further, your rating with your providers may suffer.


Whether you take on one assignment to complete during an already busy day or you have loaded yourself up with multiple assignments, if you feel pressured to complete an assignment within a certain period time, you do run the risk of rushing through it. You may rush through your site visit requirements, through writing your report or both. When these things happen, inevitably the quality of your work decreases. In some cases, a provider may not notice that your work quality is lower, and you may get away with doing less than amazing work for your providers for awhile. However, over time, rushing through your assignments will eventually catch up to you. Your providers may begin to send your reports back to you for revisions, or your providers may notice that your reports are inconsistent in some way. This can create additional work for you as you make revisions, and it can also affect your ability to earn a paycheck as well. In some cases, you may simply not get paid at all for your work. In other cases, your rating with a provider may decrease.


There are times in most mystery shoppers’ lives when a provider will ask you to make changes to a report, and you just don’t think they are worthwhile to make. Some change requests may seem like a waste of time, and these may be requests that involve changing a word here or there in the report. Other requests may be more significant, and you may hold your ethical ground as the requested revisions would change the entire meaning of your report. Debating these change requests may be honorable, but it may not help you to achieve the desired outcome. Consider what outcome you want. You no doubt want to get paid for your work, and be permitted to continue working on new assignments without interruption. When you get into a debate over change requests with a provider, your time is taken up and your attention is divided. You also may leave your provider with a bad view of you personally. If you have major ethical issues with a provider, it may be best to stop working with that provider and find someone else to work with.

There are many different things that can affect your ability to earn a paycheck as a mystery shopper. Consider how these factors may be affecting you. By taking a few basic steps, you may find that you can become a more productive and successful mystery shopper when you stop shooting yourself in th foot.