Respect for Mystery Shoppers
Despite being the ground troops in mystery shop projects, the mystery shoppers themselves are sometimes not treated with the respect they deserve. “Respect” in this case means a) ensuring that they are recruited based on ability and knowledge, b) preparing and informing mystery shoppers with regard to the task at hand and some of the challenges they are likely to face, and c) compensating mystery shoppers equitably according to the work they undertake.
It is in the interest of the project manager to ensure the proper recruiting, preparation and compensation of the mystery shoppers.
Here are some tips for dealing with mystery shoppers to ensure the success of the mystery shop project:
- The project manager should be in direct contact with the mystery shoppers and readily available to answer any questions or concerns. Mystery shop projects are too important to be bogged down by layers of authority, middlemen and gatekeepers.
- Recruit shoppers according to their ability to fulfill the task, especially their knowledge of the subject matter. Mystery shoppers are not actors who pretend to be something they are not. They should be familiar with the subject matter and meet the profile of a typical buyer of the product or service being researched. This is especially important in B2B research, where oftentimes management personnel are needed to conduct mystery shops.
- Mystery shoppers must be informed of some of the challenges they may face (including questions they may be asked) when conducting the mystery shop. For example, in B2B research it is likely that the social media profiles mystery shoppers will be checked by the companies being researched. The more informed and prepared the mystery shoppers, the more likely they will succeed in their task.
- “You get what you pay for” goes the saying. Mystery shoppers provide an important service, and should be compensated accordingly. As a project manager, you do not want to be shortchanged, so why would you not pay mystery shoppers what they are worth?