The term mystery shopper conjures up all sorts of images. Do they look like Sherlock Holmes, with an oddly tipped hat and an ornate pipe poised between their lips? Do they dress in costumes and wear wigs and prosthetic bellies to disguise themselves? Are they equipped with headsets and oversized sunglasses like Secret Service agents?
A Mystery Shopper Blends into their Surroundings
The answer to all those questions is of course no. Perhaps, that’s what makes them so mysterious! A good mystery shopper blends in because their goal is to look like a typical customer, no matter what venue they’re shopping.
Of course, they must dress for the occasion. If the assignment is a high-end commercial property management company, the shopper should be dressed like a successful business person. Conversely, if the assignment is a storage space rental company, the shopper is expected to dress like a person in the midst of moving, dressed casually and comfortably.
RBG Shoppers are Focused on Quality
Aside from the dress, mystery shoppers come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. They must have a good eye for detail, good writing and grammar skills, and must be capable of being totally objective.
The process to becoming a shopper is not easy. Classroom and/or web-based training courses are required. Potential shoppers also need to pass tests to assess their observational and writing skills. Their audits must be accurate and complete, including arrival and departure times, names and descriptions of employees, and intricate details of their experience from beginning to end.
Most shops can be completed by either gender. Examples of exceptions could be a male-oriented hair salon or a female-only gym.
Restaurant, bar and liquor shops may require shoppers to be of legal drinking age in the state where the shop is located. The age of guests at such shops is also a consideration. Health care shops may also have age parameters.
There are mystery shoppers from every economic level. Shoppers who view their job as a hobby often take it up for fun and frequently include retirees who like to remain active and involved in their communities. Some shoppers rely on mystery shopping as a viable income source they can fit into schedules that include child care and other jobs. College students often choose undercover shopping to help pay for books and other necessities.
A certain degree of curiosity and an appreciation of good customer service are typical personality traits of mystery shoppers. It also helps to have a good sense of humor, as one never knows what lies ahead when you step across the threshold of a business. Good communication skills help mystery shoppers conduct audits in a natural, believable way and remain under cover. Since shops and reports have specific time frames in which to be completed, mystery shoppers need excellent time management skills and the understanding that deadlines must be consistently met.
The next time you’re out and about, casually glance at the people around you. Chances are there’s at least one mystery shopper in the crowd! But you’ll never be able to identify them by sight.