When you are happy with your work and enjoy what you do, it is natural to want to tell the world how great your job is. When it comes to mystery shopping, however, anonymity is very important. Yes, you are happy about visiting shops, getting paid to shop, enjoying freebies just for shopping, and enjoying the flexibility of time. But, being able to keep your identity secret is crucial to achieving a successful mystery shopping assignment or career.
Secrecy in a mystery shopping job does not mean having to act like a “secret agent”. In fact, acting like a normal person is the best way to maintain anonymity on the job. When shopping in a retail store, for example, you can go around the store and shop for the products you want to buy, while simultaneously keeping a keen eye on the details you need to include in your report. By doing both things in unison, the employees won’t have any idea that they are being observed.
Here are some tips to help you maintain secrecy during your mystery shopping missions:
- Avoid taking notes. Any person who takes notes while shopping is obviously observing something for a reason. What can make this situation worse is if employees become suspicious and call the authorities. If you absolutely must take notes, do it discreetly on your mobile phone, so it looks like you’re just texting a friend.
- Practice any questions you may need to ask ahead of time and do a bit of role playing before you enter the real scenario. Acting nervous or questioning like you are doubtful of what you are talking about will immediately raise a red flag and cause the person you are talking with to become suspicious. Practice until it is natural.
- Spend a realistic amount of time in the establishment. If it takes less than an hour for you to purchase one shirt, then do it within that time. Shopping too long for a basic item will give you away. Make it realistic.
- Have a trusted friend or a family member go with you. This will not only reduce the chances of being identified, but it will also make the shopping more fun.
Secret shopping is indeed a great job, but it also requires professionalism. By understanding the demands of your job, you can maximize your success and enjoy what you do.