The ability to set your own work hours is one of the features that attracts mystery shoppers to the job. Many mystery shoppers lead very busy lives, and mystery shopping is the perfect fit. Unfortunately, this also means that many mystery shoppers are working mystery shopping assignments into an already busy day. Occasionally, mystery shoppers may find themselves showing up on the site visit without reading through the entire assignment requirements first. While most mystery shoppers try to read the assignment requirements far ahead of time, if you find yourself in the position of reading through the requirements at the last minute, there are a few things you will want to double check before you walk in the door of the site location.
Where Are You? A busy mystery shopper has been known a time or two to visit the wrong store location. If you are “shopping” a store or other venue that only has one location in your city, you can probably rest assured knowing you are at the right spot. But if you are shopping a chain coffee shop with a different branch on every corner or a popular fast food chain, there are likely multiple branches of that chain even within a few blocks. Often, these chains will put branches on the same major road or highway just a few blocks apart in busy metro areas. So before you walk in the door, double check the address to ensure you are in the right spot.
What Time Is It? Many assignments require you to perform the site visit at a certain day and time, or within a certain time frame. While this may seem like a requirement with some flexibility, in actuality most providers stick to it like glue. If you perform your site visit outside of the specified date and time in the requirements, you risk not getting paid for your efforts and your shopper rating may even go down a notch or two. Double check the date and time requirements before you perform the site visit to save yourself a headache down the road.
A Mental Walk-Through. You may have the site location and the date and time of the site visit down, but do you know what to do once you walk through the door? Assignments have very specific instructions oftentimes as to how long you need to wait for a salesperson to approach you, what food items to order, if you need to check the restrooms or fitting rooms, and even what items to purchase. If you don’t perform the site visit exactly how the instructions have dictated, you will be lost for answers when you sit down to complete your report. And most likely you will not get paid for your efforts if the work has not been completed as specified.
The old adage saying anything worth doing is worth doing right applies to mystery shopping as well. Even though you may lead a very busy life, give each and every mystery shopping assignment you complete the time and effort necessary to do a good job. Doing so will save you time and money down the road!
I fell this article was very helpful.
Where Are You? Yes, is very important. I thought I knew where a location was, only to find out after doing the shop. There were 2 stores with the same name, the the same mall. So it is important to check and sometimes double check the location.
I do an average of 1400 shops a year and have been doing that over a 5 year period. From time to time I have made a mistake that meant my shop was useless. Each time I have heard from the scheduler and before she had the opportunity to tell me the penalty I have said to the schedular, I am sorry, it looks like I have made a mistake so if it is ok with you I will re-do it at my own cost. That includes shops where I have had to make a purchase.
Take responsibility immediately and your mistakes will not come back to haunt you.
Some location research may be done online, phone book, etc., however some answers may not be revealed until you’re on site. By happenstance, I researched one location before the shop date, just as a precaution and learned what was revealed to be a discrepancy in the street name. It so happens that this location had been shopped for years by other shoppers who had never reported this detail. Having done this check ahead of time, I was able to verify with the scheduler and confirm unequivocally which location to shop.
I agree – do the research/map it out ahead of time.
The biggest challenge I have had is shopping the “wrong” location in a mall. Even having done the recon, used a GPS, checked the mall map, and even called them ahead of time (a prerequisite for some shops) to find out what they are located next to.
And several days after the report was turned in, the editor said it was the “wrong” location. They couldn’t tell me where the correct location was, but she was sure that it had to be the wrong location. (I no longer do work for this company — my choice — when I am out of town.)
Something else I have experienced is the receipt having a slightly different address than the assigned location. I explain this in the report and email the scheduler. Usually, it is not a problem.
Another suggestion – take a camera with you. Sometimes a location has moved and the company did not tell the MS company. Taking a picture of the location, the signage, will help the MS company update their records and not damage your reputation with the company.
Always do the best you can!