If you’ve done one mystery shopping assignment or hundreds, you likely have figured out that you want to avoid conflict with your scheduler. It’s definitely a big hassle to get in a tiff of any kind with a scheduler. But if your disagreement is over a report you just turned in, it could mean a loss of pay on that assignment. If your argument is severe enough, it could mean you may not be able to (or want to) work with that provider or scheduler at all in the future, which would result in the loss of future income. So it definitely pays to avoid conflict with your scheduler whenever possible. Here are some easy ways to make sure you don’t end up in a costly scuffle:
Follow the instructions. More often than not, a disagreement with a scheduler results from an answer provided on a report. Usually you will get an email from the scheduler asking you to verify or revise your answer to a question on the report, and usually there will be an explanation as to why this question has been flagged. You can avoid altogether the instance of your scheduler asking for follow-up information or clarification on your report simply by reading through the questions and making sure you understand them before you do your site visit. Before you make your site visit, double check and ensure that you understand what the scheduler is looking for. If there is a question as to what you need to do on-site, by all means, ask your scheduler before you do your visit.
Keep It Straightforward. On the vast majority of questions on a report, you will be required to give an unbiased and accurate accounting of what you witnessed on-site and the actual events that took place. Think of this is a play-by-play as if you’re listening to a football or baseball game on the radio. Be sure to keep your emotions, opinions, and beliefs out of your report unless they are asked for.
In most cases, you will be asked for your personal opinion of the store at the end of the report. This is your chance to really say what you thought of the store or associate.
If There’s A Question. In the event your scheduler does send you that email with questions about why you responded a certain way or for clarification, your first impulse may be to feel miffed or possibly get upset. Before you respond back with a testy email, take a minute to take a deep breath. Read through the question and answer that are being questioned. Ensure first that you understand the question that was being asked, and then be sure you properly, clearly, and thoroughly addressed the question with your response. Often, it just takes a few extra words or another sentence or two to give the scheduler the extra information she was looking for.
If you don’t understand why your answer is not acceptable, shoot back a polite and professional email asking for clarification. It may be appropriate to discuss the question over the phone as well, as email can get confusing at times.
When It’s Something Else. You can run into other issues with your scheduler as well, including scheduling and payment conflicts. You can’t go wrong when you keep the general concepts of politeness and professionalism in mind. Keep in mind that you likely will be working with this scheduler again in the future, and you don’t want to burn bridges that may be able to give you some paying assignments in the future.
As with any disagreement, try to look at the big picture and to see the issue from the other person’s perspective. When you do this while remaining calm, you are sure to avoid an escalation with your scheduler!
Thank you for the info. I plan on doing exactly what you recommended because I totally agree that we must try to keep a good relationship with our scheduler. Being humble is a good way to avoid any conflicts.
I would also recommend checking your email several times a day. The main disagreements I have with shoppers is because they didn’t read the emails sent until days later or they didn’t email me to let me know that there was a problem with the shop until it was an emergency. We understand that people get sick but if it is a minor illness we don’t want to hear about it 3 days after you were scheduled for a shop.
Many companies have NO communication between schedulers and other staff. You may make an arrangement with a scheduler to be late on a shop for a good reason, do the shop and not get paid because the status people do not know and you get beat. Corporate Research and other Market Force companies are known for this negative behavior. Watch yourself here.
A major lack of communications is edemic in the Mystery shopping industry. Some schedulers think they can push shoppers around and threaten them if they do not comply with some unreasonable rules.
I agree that communication or lack thereof is the main cause for conflict. There cannot be too much communication, by email, or by phone to clarify the shop requirements. Presuming, can lead to negative situations in all areas of life. Attributing bad motives has the same result. People generally want to do a job worthy of praise. Schedulers are people with life situations to deal with too; they and shoppers alike want to be rewarded for work well done. But, having lived long enough, I realize that with the best of efforts and intentions, misunderstandings can still arise. That is just part of life. When life hands me lemons, I make lemonade! Let it go. Get over it. Even taking a loss is a ‘learning experience.’
I had an unplesant experience recently with a scheduler who, after the client received a very negative report, accused me of things that the client complained about. I was accused of very deplorable behavior that I did not do. Needless to say, I did not get paid, I quit the company as I felt that if I was accused, I might have an opportunity to rebut the accusation. It does not work that way. The msc always takes the side of the client. The client is their bread and butter. Remember well, it is not who is right and who is wrong. This is the one area where they are right and YOU are wrong.
I wanted to add another comment. If I had heard about a shopper doing what I was accused of doing, I would run far and fast away from him/her and think that the shopper was a very bad person. However, I am not that bad person and did not do the very bad things that I was accused of. It just might be the clients way of getting even for a bad report.