Written by Danielle Parks, Customer Impact Editor
Familiarize yourself with what you should expect before performing the shop.
– Read the survey. Then read it again. You know what? A third look over may not hurt. The report that you fill out after you complete the shop directly reflects what the client is expecting from their employees. Since you are performing the shop on their behalf, knowing what to expect is crucial.
– When you go to a new store or restaurant, do a test run. Doing a certain kind of shop for the first time can be nerve-racking. Go to a store or restaurant that might have been in your plans already (NOT the location you will be shopping) and keep a mental checklist of what was said and done according to the survey you will be filling out for the real shop. This will help settle the butterflies and get you more in the mindset of a mystery shopper.
– If you don’t need to know it, don’t sweat it. There are many ways to take notes on a shop, and being thoroughly prepared for what you will have to answer later will help. If you are not prepared, you may be busy second guessing if one thing is important to remember and miss something else. You might miss something big, like the server thanking you at the end of the meal, while trying to remember exactly how long it was before s/he came back with the check when this is not a question in the report.
Be prepared when those things don’t happen.
– Don’t expect everything that SHOULD happen to REALLY happen. Nothing happens exactly by the book, and it is part of the mystery shopper’s responsibility to provide as much of a full picture of what really happened as possible. An employee missing something minor or even major should not negatively affect the reporting of anything else s/he does. It is your duty to be objective based on the standards set by the report.
– Look for reasons why something did not go as planned. It is important to answer the questions objectively, but allow room for explanation in the comments. Imagine that an employee is dealing with another issue that s/he can’t get away from. Something like this cannot be reflected in a yes or no answer. For example, if a server cannot check back with you within the two minutes after serving the entrees, but s/he had just been seated with a large party, mention this in the comments! Being prepared for things like this to occur will allow you to be more aware of them when they happen. It will then result in a more comprehensive report.
– Brush up on your acting skills. You might have to pose as a first time customer or present a scenario that was constructed for the sake of the shop. Prepare yourself on these points, and responding to any questions from the employee or any unforeseen complications regarding your story will go over more smoothly. Be confident and remember that your anonymity as a secret shopper is of the utmost importance!
Can you roll with the punches? Sign up today with a great mystery shopping company at www.customerimpactinfo.com to become a mystery shopper and prove your skills!
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