You don’t have to be a private investigator to be a mystery shopper in most states (in Nevada, you do), but the practices of a PI are good tips to keep in your back pocket when you are mystery shopping.
- Use all 5 senses to observe. Our clients want to know what you have seen, heard, touched, smelled and tasted (on a dining shop!). Incorporate all of these into your reporting so as to truly let the reader know what you experienced.
- Jog your memory. The ability to accurately recall facts of an event and physical attributes of the people with whom you interact are critical to mystery shopping.
- Remain unbiased and unprejudiced. Bias and prejudice will result in poor observation and reporting. Until you are asked for your opinion, do not let your likes and dislikes get in the way of your observation.
- Play a role. When mystery shopping, there may be times when you have to act out a scenario that may not be typical for you (being a parent or looking for a new home). Rehearse and act our what you will do and say before you begin the shop.
- Be resourceful. When a scenario doesn’t go as planned, being quick in thought and on your feet can help get the job done. No apartments available? Tell them you are flexible on your move-in date. Agent you must shop isn’t there? Say you’ll go out for a cup of coffee and come back in an hour.
Mystery shopping companies never ask a secret shopper to do anything dangerous or illegal. You are not trying to “catch” someone doing anything such as a Private Investigator might. But following these tips could help you be a more valuable mystery shopper to the companies for which you work.
For more great tips on being a great mystery shopper, check out Ultimate Mystery Shopping: Transforming Your Hobby into a Profitable Home-Based Business.
*Tips taken from Practical Handbook for Professional Investigators, Second Edition by Rory J. McMahon, CLI, CFE