A Closer Look at Mystery Shopping!

I just love completing mystery shops! It’s exciting to go undercover because there is a sense of anonymity, but I also enjoy it because I know I’m making a difference and my tasks are important to the clients.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of my favorite features about mystery shopping is how I can incorporate tasks into my day of running errands or buying groceries. Most companies offer tasks and you choose which ones you would like to complete; to be done within a few days. I can control when and where my next job will be done and align the mystery shop with my daily activities. For example, we have to travel at least 20 miles to the nearest town for groceries or necessities because that’s just how country living is. So when I do go “into town”, I like to make the trip worth my while and get as much accomplished as possible. If I know I need to run errands, I’ll take a look at the job boards and see if there are any available tasks for the town I’m visiting. With all the different companies that need the services of mystery shoppers, the possibilities are enormous! It can range from the convenience and retail stores to hotel and flight shops, to even restaurants and movie theaters checks. Sometimes, this helps me decide where to have lunch! =)  I have gotten into the habit of checking the job boards when I plan to travel for a few days, just to see if there are any shops I can complete while on vacation!

Although it can be fun and mysterious, mystery shopping is still a job that needs to be completed. Let’s take a closer look at mystery shopping and tips that will help make completing your shops a little easier.

Tips for Mystery Shopping

Pay Attention to Detail

This is probably the most important skill a mystery shopper should have because most clients request detailed information regarding your visit. The requirements will vary depending on the client, but it all comes down to the particulars. For example, one client may require that you record the time you enter and exit the location and the employees you spoke with; where another client may request more detailed information such as stock levels, employee interaction, and cleanliness of the facility. Either way, I feel being detail-oriented is necessary to complete the tasks. Taking note of little details while on regular shopping trips is a great way to practice for mystery shops. After a few runs, focusing on the details will become a habit and completing mystery shops will feel more natural.

Record Requested Data ASAP!

Free photo 114751025 © creativecommonsstockphotos - Dreamstime.com
Free photo 114751025 © creativecommonsstockphotos – Dreamstime.com

When mystery shopping, there may be several details you will need to remember to report back to the client. The most efficient and accurate statement is a fresh one, so it is important to write down or record the information as soon as you get a chance. You may be surprised how much you will remember while it’s still on your mind. After completing a shop, I like to leave the facility and go to another location, such as a restaurant or park. This gives me the opportunity to recall the information, jot it down, and submit my report to the client. The mystery shop companies I use have a mobile app available for immediate upload of photos and answered questions. However, the company doesn’t have an app or you would prefer not to use it, I would strongly suggest a notepad or binder. Old school pen and paper do just as well as any device; actually, that’s how I took notes when I first started mystery shopping.

Smile and Engage

When conducting a mystery shop, one technique has helped me discreetly get the information I need for the report. Smiling at other customers and engaging in conversation with them and employees is a great way to check out name tags, ask questions without looking too “obvious”, and give you time to take in the surroundings for more accurate reporting. There are some clients that ask that talk with associates to check their knowledge on products and services, so a friendly disposition will make completing the shop easier. Even if you’re not out-going or out-spoken, a smile can go a long way. This is the easy part for me because mystery shopping is so much fun!

Select Tasks You Can Complete

The beauty of most mystery shop companies is they allow you to pick and choose which task you want to complete or the client you wish to work with. With that being said, it is important to select tasks that you know you can complete. Although it is not employment, a company can terminate their agreement if you show an inability to complete tasks within the designated timeframe. There has been a time or two I was not able to complete a shop. Weather, a family emergency, and unforeseen events can happen, but it’s important to try to complete each task you are assigned. Sometimes, I wait until the morning of the day I plan to mystery shop to choose which tasks I want to complete just in case I change my mind or something comes up.

Mystery shopping is an awesome way to make money during your daily routines and activities. Recently, I was introduced to the possibility of completing theater checks. Movie developers and advertisers need to know how the movie is doing in the box office, if patrons are actually attending, or if theater personnel is following policies. I am an avid movie-watcher, so I figured this could be another way to make money while having fun! Isn’t it wonderful to have the opportunity to get paid to do what you love? Stay tuned for those updates!

Mystery shopping can be a rewarding and exciting experience, just remember these tips:

  •                 Pay Attention to Details
  •                 Smile and Engage
  •                 Record Data Immediately
  •                 Choose Shops You Will Complete

For more information about mystery shopping or other tasks for independent contractors, take a look at my recommendation ShadowShopper. Not only do they connect you with mystery shopping companies, but it is also a great resource for interviewers, merchandisers, and demonstrators. ShadowShopper is a great place to start for independent contractors.

 If you are looking to Work from Home with other part-time; or even full-time income sources, click the link for more information on ways to work from home and what you should know before getting starting.

Please feel free to leave a comment with any recommendations or suggestions!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you soon!

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