*Factual Reporting. You must be able to convey your observations in an objective, detailed manner without being influenced by personal opinion. Unless directed otherwise, our clients are looking for facts, not feelings or perception. Consider the question, “If you would not return to this location, why not?” and pick which of the following you would consider to be an acceptable answer…
A. The food was absolutely disgusting and the service was the worst I ever had!!!
B. bad food, crappy service
C. The steak was very gristly, under-seasoned, and cooked rare even though I asked for it well-done. The replacement steak was cooked properly but the lobster sauce on it was cold and lumpy. The server never smiled, did not engage in conversation, offered no meal suggestions, forgot my side of gravy, did not check back after the new steak was delivered nor offered refills, and she took 15 minutes to bring the bill after we asked for it.
If you chose A or B, we are sorry but Mystery Shopping may not the right hobby for you. These reports are used in critical business decisions, and often peoples’ performance evaluations, bonuses, and promotions are based on the results. If you are going to be deducting points for anything, you need to be able to back it up with facts. You also cannot let one negative aspect over-shadow the entire experience…if you stood around waiting to be greeted for 15 minutes, you cannot repeatedly complain about that when you are being asked questions about the server or food. Each aspect of the visit must be judged on its own merit. Finally, you need to be willing to discuss any problems or concerns you may have with the server and/or manager to give them an opportunity to correct the problem. If you cannot do that, you cannot be a mystery shopper.
*Honesty and Integrity. Your report must be truthful. Some locations have video surveillance and may double-check things like how long you were actually in the store, whether you spoke to the people you said you did, whether you had interactions with staff that you neglected to include in your report. If a report is found to be willfully falsified, that and any outstanding reports that you have not yet been paid for will be rejected.
*Ability to Read and Follow Instructions. Each assignment has its own specific set of instructions. While many shops have lots of flexibility, often the client will have specific dates, times, scenarios, purchase requirements, and other details that must be followed. You cannot just decide to do whatever you want, however you want to do it if there are instructions to the contrary (i.e. if it says you need to arrive between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, you cannot arrive at 12:00pm just because that is when you had your lunch break scheduled). If you do not follow instructions, you will not be paid or reimbursed for doing the shop, no matter how good your intentions were, how much time you put in, or how good your report was. You may not always understand why, but there are reasons why the instructions are there, and not following them can affect the entire round of shops.
*Reliability and Dedication. You must commit to and meet deadlines. You must complete your shops, fill in your reports, and submit required documents on-time. You must be available to answer questions from quality control for up to 5 business days after submitting your assignment, and must be available for follow-up questions from the client for up to a month after your shop date. Please do not request assignments if you will not be available for follow-up questions. If our Quality Control department has questions about your report and you do not respond within 24 hours, we may not be able to accept your report.
*Good Memory and Observation Skills. You will have specific things you need to do, say, observe, and report on while completing each shop.
*Above Average Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills. The information we send to our clients must be clear, concise, and in a professional format. It is critical that you are fluent in English (or French if applicable) so you can effectively communicate with the employees while on the assignment, and you must have the writing skills necessary to put your answers in complete sentences using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
*Discretion. You need the ability to act natural in unfamiliar situations and blend in. If you are identified during the shop, your report cannot be accepted; and once identified, a shopper cannot complete any further shops at that location.
*Professionalism. You must conduct yourself in a polite and respectful manner at all times, even if problem situations arise.
*Quality Responses. While mystery shopping is a fun way to get free stuff, it is also a job. You are being paid to provide detailed and accurate feedback, so you need to treat your mystery shops and reports with the same integrity and attention to detail that you would any job you were hired to do.