What is to be a mystery shopper?

„I knew immediately he is a mystery shopper. You can recognize them easily – always asking same questions! I can tell immediately who they are!” – commented two employees, whilst I was waiting to be assisted in the bank.

Maybe I don’t fully understand the idea of the mystery shopping, but I personally think that the main point is to evaluate the services provided not to somebody special, but to the regular customer. The main purpose is to be rated (evaluated) how the employees act in a natural situation(environment). But maybe in their eyes this look like a competition – who is going to recognize the mystery shopper first, so he can provide perfect customer service and then to act normal again with the next customer – because he is just not special (he is an ordinary one).

Personally, I am a huge fan of the idea of the mystery shopping and exactly that was the reason to participate in different projects (of this type?). I have hope that this is the right way for improving the customer service. Sometimes the customer service is not exactly the way we deserve it – entering a store, office or a restaurant happens to me to feel like I am interrupting the employees (to feel like an interloper). Kind of the feeling you have when you enter a Public Administration, if you know what I mean. :) That was my reason (motive) to apply – my wish (desire) to change something and to be useful on one hand but also to make some money on the other.

For “the mystery shoppers” I found out accidentally – I was looking for something hourly, something I can do in my free time I had back then (having a small kid, just started going to a morning daycare – meaning having fully 4 hours in the best scenario). I found it very interesting when I opened an article for a mystery shopping. I registered myself for a secret shopper in every page I found on the internet. Of course, before that I did my homework to read all the information I could find, which wasn’t that much back then. I have come across many negative comments about it, but I never give up on something before giving it a try. Therefore, I completed all the steps for registration and started waiting for my tasks. I am not really a patient type of person so after I have been waiting for a month, I sent an email asking if there is a problem. A few days later I received a call regarding to my registration, asking if I want to have my first task. Of course, I responded positively. I was told something very fast and complicated, I couldn’t understand literally nothing from. I was so pissed at myself, because I was really interested, and I wanted to give it a try! But I was nicely surprised, when I received an email with a visit suggestion – I would never forget this – a shoe store visit, with a purchase and return. I have read everything carefully, I learned the script and the schedule and after I did my first mystery visit, I filled the application right away. Such a great experience – you go there, buy something for yourself and then evaluate the customer experience. Exactly what I was looking for! Gladly, I was getting more and more tasks. At the beginning less, then more and sometimes too many. But I am still doing this. With so much pleasure!

I like the variety of the tasks and how different the scripts are. It is so cool to be a different person, to have a different role for every visit (it’s not always necessary, but most of the times the script requires playing a role), to visit different places, to answer different questions. To be a mystery shopper is giving me a lot – a wide variety, funny moments, having a great time visiting restaurants, refueling my car, buying various goods from different stores, staying in hotels, having cosmetic procedures, being aware of the bank services. And also traveling – me and my family had the opportunity to combine the useful with the pleasant by going on vacations according to the tasks I had. The good news – you are getting paid for your traveling costs, then getting paid for your work and at the same time getting a little vacation around the country. We showed our kid amazing places, we had wonderful trips. Maybe I would never have the time, the money and the opportunity to visit if I wasn’t getting paid for it.

Every visit becomes a challenge – getting out of a situation like not understating the supervisor who gives you tasks over the phone, through understanding and remembering the script, finding the right spot, acting normal, but being in a role at the same time, not forgetting the objections you have to make (sometimes none, but sometimes even 9) till finally getting to the part when it doesn’t matter what happens you don’t have to react differently when they say how easy is to recognize who the mystery shopper is. And of course, that doesn’t have to reflect on your answers in the questionnaire at the end. Because the most important is to be objective, to write down the situation independently and to answer the questions they ask about. And the fact that this employee couldn’t find out I am the mystery shopper is only for myself. It clearly shows I did my job right but if she did hers – we will see in the questionnaire. ;)

Image: People Inside the Building by Pixabay, www.pexels.com.