As a recent grad, I have come to empathize with our new shoppers, as well as with our seasoned shoppers taking on a client for the first time.  It’s a lot like starting classes, really.  Think about it.  You sign up for a class knowing what subject will be taught, and likely who will be teaching it, but you haven’t gone through a whole semester of it.  You aren’t as confident in the beginning as you would be at the end.  Face it, for most classes you’ve taken you’d probably do a lot better going through them a second time.

Since we can’t turn back time, for better or worse,  here are a few tips to help you on your first day of classes and your first shop.

  1. Read your syllabi! Reading your syllabus, or your shop guidelines, well in advance will prevent a lot of mistakes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read those syllabi and guidelines then come up with some questions even if they seem unimportant. Ask your professor a few questions on your first day of class, and be sure to ask us questions when you call in to review your shop guidelines.  Chances are these mistakes have been made before.
  3. Budget your time. Know what needs to get done and by when it needs to be done.  Being late doesn’t make a good impression in any situation.
  4. Keep an open mind. In class you will come across ideas and concepts different from yours. Some might complement your views while others might clash with them.  In mystery shopping, it’s good to keep an open mind in order to adapt to the situation.  Yes, we do have guidelines set up, but each individual experience will always be different.
  5. Accept the criticism and learn to apply it. Your first couple assignments probably won’t be your best work.  You’re still learning the material and you’re still getting used to your professor’s teaching style.  However, take whatever comments they give you and apply it to future work.  This goes for survey writing as well.  Take the comments left by your editor at the end of your first shop and apply them.  Making these adjustments will improve your writing and your score!

In the end, the only way to see what will work for you will be to actually go through the experience.  Your first day of class will teach you a lot about your professor, the course, and even your classmates.  On the other hand, your first shop will show you your strengths and your weaknesses.  The key to both will be to make the necessary adjustments to improve, and remember that we are always there to help you through!