No one doubts that a secret shopper works hard. Performing the shops and then getting the reports to us quickly is a job, and it can be a fun job! However, there are a few things that we come across that leave us no choice but to exclude or reject the report, leaving us all disappointed.  Do your best to avoid the following:

Man Making a Disappointed Face

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1. Not following instructions: This is perhaps the most frequent mistake we see. For example on a restaurant shop, the food ordering instructions are not only in place so that we are sure to reimburse the shopper properly. They are also there so that the client is able to evaluate the staff for certain things.

For example, they may ask that the shopper order dessert to see how a server would deliver and follow up with the dessert accordingly. On the other hand, the client might want you to NOT order dessert, to see if the server encourages it in a different way.  Either way, these ordering instructions are there for a reason, and they are not optional! If instructions are not followed, the purpose of the shop would not have been achieved. If the shopper does not do what is instructed of them, the employees do not have the opportunity to do what they are asked to do. Therefore, the shopper has then voided their shop by not following the instructions!

2. Performing the shop outside of your assigned time frame: Doing a shop at a certain time may seem like something that would not be very important. However, arriving too early or too late is an all too familiar reason why we have to exclude a report. So why is it important?

There may be another shopper who has been assigned to the same location. It would then be important that each shopper sticks to their timeframes so they do not overlap. This also helps prevent the same employees from being evaluated more than once. For restaurant shops, it may be that the client would like a particular hour shopped in order to truly test how their employees handle a normal level of buisness.  Just like your ordering instructions, your assigned time frame is not optional!

3. Not including the necessary information: As the experienced shopper knows, answering the Yes or No questions is only half of what makes up a report. So why do we ask for the comments? Accounts of what actually happened are crucial in the evaluation process. It would be ridiculous to expect each real life scenario to be predicted by just the Yes or No answers. Those questions are imporant, and they form the framework for the client’s expectations. The comments also allow the shopper the freedom to address the human factor.

Unfortunately, it is very common that shoppers do not include the comments that we need. We will, of course, ask for more information, but sometimes shoppers are uncooperative or unwilling to provide this. As much as we do not want to, we then must exclude the report. Please understand that this is not something we want to do!  Excluding reports means extra work for us, as well as the loss of your payment. We promise to do all that we can to make your report usable to our client, but there may be times when you have to put in some extra time to get us information if it is missing from your original report.

So how can you avoid having your reports excluded?

– The time frames for each shop are included in the initial email sent by our schedulers when you accept the shop. They can also be found in your shop log by clicking the “Comments” link. This will bring up all of the detailed information for the shop.

– The ordering instructions can be found in the “Guidelines” for the shop. These too can be found in your shop log.

– Also on the guidelines are the Sample Comments! These show you exactly what we are looking for in regards to length, detail, and format for each section of the report.

Think you have what it takes to be a shopper? Following these simple rules will ensure your success! Sign up today with Customer Impact Info.

by Danielle Parks, Customer Impact Editor



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