As a mystery shopper, with each assignment you put yourself into a situation that you simply cannot control. Your job is to follow the assignment requirements and perform your mystery shop as indicated. But there are any number of issues that can (and do!) come up during assignments. Everything from observant store staff to the curiosity of other regular shoppers at the store can throw you for a loop. When this happens, the simple task of completing your assignment can be thrown into limbo, and along with that goes your paycheck. Be prepared to think fast on your feet as a mystery shopper to prepare yourself for any situation and save your paycheck.
Plan Ahead. As you are reading through your mystery shopping assignment requirements, think outside the box and try to plan ahead for various scenarios. Determine if you can be yourself at the job site or if you will need to take on the role of a different person to complete the assignment properly. If you need to take on a role, think ahead to various questions the staff may ask of you and how you will respond.
If you are familiar with the layout of the job site, spend some time thinking about how you will walk through the store to complete the assignment. For instance, which display stands will you visit first, or which departments? What type of clothing will you try on? What item will you purchase? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself before your site visit to prepare yourself to the assignment. The more prepared you are, the better able you will be to handle any questions or situations that may arise.
When In Doubt, Play Dumb. If you’ve ever worked in a job that deals with the general public, you know that many people ask irrelevant questions and do questionable things in a store. It may be completely out of your normal character to say something “stupid” or do something unintelligent in public, but there are times when playing down your intelligence comes in handy on a mystery shopping assignment. For instance, a curious store clerk may ask why you are studying the store shelves and racks so intently and why you’ve visited the same rack of clothing three times. There aren’t many way to get out of that question besides saying something along the lines of, “I’m so scatterbrained today! It’s one of those days where I’m looking at the clothes but it’s just not registering what I’m looking at.” You may very well know exactly what you’re doing, but playing dumb is a great way to get out of situations such as this.
Use The Safe Zones. Safe zones for a mystery shoppers are locations in the store where you can find a few moments of privacy, such as a restroom or fitting room. If you ever get close to being caught in the act and can’t very quickly think of a way to get out of the situation, make a quick retreat to one of the job site’s safe zones so you can re-group and plan your course of action to save the assignment. Restrooms and fitting rooms are great spots for mystery shoppers to buy a little time in sticky situations.
When you think fast on your feet, you can get out of almost any situation that may arise while you are mystery shopping.