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Mistakes Mystery Shoppers Need to Avoid

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A mystery shopper plays a very important role, as they are able to visit a place of business and observe what the experience of shopping there is like from the perspective of the customer. This is very valuable and the company can use this information to improve their services.

However, in order for the mystery shopping visit to be as valuable as possible it needs to be done correctly. There are some common mistakes that are sometimes made by mystery shoppers, so it is important to avoid these to get the most out of the mystery shopping exercise. Here are some of the mistakes that representatives from a mystery shopping agency can make:


Failing to Read the Guidelines from the Client

It is important to review the client’s guidelines before you go on a mystery shopping assignment, so that you know what you are supposed to be looking for. If you do not do this preparation you will not know what questions to ask, what purchases you should be making, what you should be observing and what special instructions you should be following. The client will be disappointed that you didn’t collect the specific information that they asked for in the brief.

This also includes making sure that you purchase the right products. For example, if you are visiting a sandwich shop and you are asked to purchase a BLT, don’t switch things up and order a Ham and Cheese sandwich instead. You are supposed to be checking how the shop performs in relation to a specific product, so follow the guidelines.


Drawing Attention to Themselves

The idea of being a mystery shopper is that you are undercover – posing as a typical customer. The key is to be ordinary and average so that you will not stand out. Mystery shoppers shouldn’t act strange or wear anything that is out of the ordinary or memorable, or this will attract the attention of the staff and perhaps influence their perception. The best mystery shopper is a customer that is so typical that the staff barely remember serving them.

This also means that you should not be obvious about taking notes. If you are openly scribbling notes on a pad, this will give the shop employees a big clue that you are a mystery shopper, which will completely change the way they treat you and skew the results.

Visiting the Wrong Location

While this seems like a silly mistake, this actually happens with mystery shoppers more often than you might think. Many businesses that are popular chain brands will have more than one location in a city. If the mystery shopper doesn’t verify the address they might assume it is the wrong one. This is a big mistake because it is a waste of the mystery shopper’s time and the business’s time.


Getting the Times Wrong

Often a mystery shopper will be asked to visit a store at a specific day of the week and time of the day. This is because the shop is looking to measure what the customer experience is at that particular time. For example, they might be wanting to find out how crowded the store is during the lunch time rush to determine whether or not they need to hire more staff. If the mystery shopper doesn’t visit during the times specified, they will not collect any valuable data and the visit will be pointless. The client has chosen that time for a reason, so mystery shoppers need to make sure that they arrive at the right hour.

Not Carrying Out the Scenario

Mystery shoppers will often be asked to act out a scenario, such as pretending to have a complaint, returning a product or asking for a special request. The mystery shopper should make sure that they act out this scenario to the best of their ability, as this is the information that the company is looking for. Not carrying out the scenario means that your report will not be very valuable to the company.

These are just a few of the big mistakes that it is important to avoid if you are a mystery shopper from a field marketing company, so that you can get the best results when evaluating businesses.