Real Talk

How to Be a Confidential Mystery Shopper

If you’re like most mystery shoppers, you really enjoy your job. Seriously, what’s not to like? You get to check out all kinds of businesses, meet new people in your community, sample services and products you may have never known about… and get paid for your time!

Although sharing your experiences with friends and family is fun and often entertaining, don’t forget that confidentiality agreement you signed when you became a mystery shopper. You probably don’t recall all the points of the document but it’s basically a promise you made to keep silent about all the details of your assignments. Sure, it’s often difficult to keep your anecdotes vague, but sharing facts and particulars not only violates your contract and jeopardizes your job, it could cost the mystery shopping company a client.

Don’t despair – you can still talk about your adventures, just without the details. Think of it like telling a story about a professional colleague or college chum. In the name of politeness and discretion, you’d never use their names or reveal personal details shared with you in confidence, but your tale is still riveting in general content.

Here’s a list of  details you need to keep under wraps as a mystery shopper:

Pay Rates

Discussing salaries and pay rates has always been considered in questionable taste, no matter what your job. You always risk sounding like you’re complaining or bragging, neither of which endears you to anyone. And in this case, you’re also breaching your contract with the mystery shopping company – and you don’t want to lose your job.

Client Names

This falls under the old “don’t kiss and tell” policy that’s been around since humans started walking upright. Clients hire mystery shopping companies to help them gain a competitive market edge and rightfully expect that business relationship to remain private. Revealing client names could easily get back to them through the grapevine, so don’t risk it.

Shop Results/Scores

Mystery shopping companies entrust you to objectively assess your assigned shops and keep those results between you and them. These evaluations are crucial to clients as they analyze problem areas and successful business aspects and revealing these facts is strongly prohibited.

Blank Forms/Scorecards

You’ve noticed how different each form is for every report you complete. This is because mystery shopping companies work personally with each client to make sure their evaluations target specific business practices they believe need a closer look. These forms and scorecards should always be left home while you shop or concealed in a folio or notebook where no one can see them.

Shop Guidelines and Standards

Just as a magician passionately guards his secrets to ensure his success, keeping shop guidelines and standards confidential is vital to mystery shopping clients. Clients spend immeasurable time and money developing strategies unique to their businesses to keep them ahead of the game and if any of those tactics fell into competitors’ hands, it would be disastrous.

Generally Speaking

With the advent of social media, it’s natural for many people to jump on Facebook or find a forum on a website to ask questions about everything from how to poach an egg to investing in penny stocks. While you may think those resources are the quickest and easiest ways to ask a question about a mystery shop or report, doing so is another contract violation. Any and all questions on specific mystery shops should always be directed to the scheduler who gave you your assignment.

Mystery shopping companies take pride in having evaluators that are honest, trustworthy and dependable, and they are happy to help you hone your skills and answer your questions. Making sure you hold up your promise to protect the privacy of the company and their clients ensures your job security and builds a solid business relationship that can last decades.

 

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