We all have our pet peeves in mystery shopping. Things that make the job harder, more exasperating, and leave a bundle of nerves because something has happened on the shop and we need HELP! Below are the top offenders that make mystery shoppers scratch their heads in wonderment…
- “URGENT! We are desperate and we need you to do this shop ASAP!” So, you eagerly open the email and you find a $1.00 Bonus, or maybe $3.00, or worse: No Bonus at all! If you need it done so fast, how about a better incentive?
- “Great Shops available NOW!” So you open the email…. only to find that they are just “Airport Shops” How hard would it have been for the scheduler to put “Airport” in the title, so you don’t waste your time reading the email?
- Targets from apartment shops that call your cell phone, to thank you/or chastise you for a good/bad report. You just did a great apartment shop and you get a call, which you let go to voicemail…. It’s the target salesperson from your apartment shop and she wants to comment on your mystery shopping report! Where is the privacy here for us?
- Shoppers who blatantly falsify shopper reports: You have heard the stories where some new shoppers think this will be “easy-money” and they fabricate their way through the entire shop. (or say they were at the location and they were NOT). This always hurts the serious, professional shopper. ALWAYS. It leaves doubt in the client’s mind after getting burned and the MSC has to do “damage control” so they don’t lose the client. Everyone LOSES here. Everyone. Everytime.
- Shoppers who flake and give lame excuses: The shopper’s aunt died 3 times or they just don’t feel like doing the shop, because their pet turtle is feeling under the weather. The best thing to do is reschedule. “Cancels” wreak havoc on your overall score.
- “Lots of Shops in your Area!” But you need to open the email, see no link, stop everything you are doing, log into your account to see the shops and they are NO shops. Or worse, you see shops and they are 850 miles away.
- Changing Shop Guidelines and NOT telling the shopper. You’ve printed out all your paperwork but 12 hours before the shop, they have changed something, such as a department you MUST shop or other conditions, but they never tell you. If by happenstance, you see the guidelines right before you leave the house, you are saved!
- That darn business card requirement: We get it. You need a business card. The associate does not have one. Now you are asking him/her to write it on a napkin. “It screams shopper!” If we are required to get a business card, they should be required to HAVE some!
- “Threats in RED and YELLOW!” You open your guidelines and there are two full pages of threats of what will happen if you cancel, falsify or do not report in a timely manner your shop. We are adults. Please drop the colored threats. It makes me not want to do it because there seems to be a hidden assumption that shoppers will do the above mentioned.
- Urgent shops you have applied for that sit on the boards for over 24 hours. This can be confusing to most shoppers. If you need it, give it to us. If it’s gone, have the courtesy of telling us it’s no longer available.
- “Super Easy! Fast Reports!” You open up the guidelines and it’s neither easy or fast. You figure if they put Difficult and LONG Reports nobody will bite. Most experienced shoppers avoid the Easy Shops title. So, isn’t it time to change it up for the truth?
- Receipts with the wrong time. You try and catch those. Sometimes you are tired and submit the report and did not see the time was off by 10 minutes. You know most times this will be “questioned” unless you put it in the narrative or special comments section. You also know (thankfully) that most times you are paid if you do report this discrepency.
- “Party Shop time to be determined.” This one irks me the most! You can’t see the time of the shop until you accept the shop. Oftentimes, it’s for a strange hour, like 3:00 PM or 6:00 PM and you must do the shop at that time. I wonder why they keep the times hidden?
- Those irritating Robo Calls. You get a call for a shop and it says to press #1. You press it and it takes you to the main number or a random scheduler. That scheduler does not know what you are talking about and asks you to hold. You wait and maybe sometimes they figure who and why you were called. Sometimes it remains a mystery.
- Short Times to enter Reports. The 6 and the 8 hour reporting times are nerve-wracking and create added stress to the job. You are so worried about getting your report in, that you do less shops as a result. 12-24 hours seems more reasonable.
- Not being able to reach a scheduler with numerous emails/calls for a crisis. Nobody wants to bother their scheduler but sometimes you have a serious issue and you need clarification. Or something has gone wrong on the shop and you are not sure how to proceed. I realize they have weekends off but aren’t there any stand-by emergency responders?
- Chastising emails or guidelines about grammatical errors–filled with “grammatical errors.” You’ve seen it. The odd guidelines with misspellings and you almost laugh… because the better part of your assignments, you are required to spell-check and proof-read your reports.
- “$50,000 in income yearly required to do this $20 Hotel Audit.” You get excited. Hotel Shops! You open it and see all the pictures required. Then all the guideline requirements. Then the $20 fee. You delete the email.
- “Redundant Department Questions” required in each department. You can only ask so many times about the refrigerated tomatoes, the anti-biotic free meat and cutting those flowers to keep them fresh. Please give us some NEW questions. This screams SHOPPER!
- Negative Reports that get challenged. Sometimes you might be questioned at great length about a negative report that you have submitted. You almost get the feeling someone thinks you fibbed and made it all up!
The Runner Ups:
*Screwy receipts that are burned from the grill, receipts that are so light that nobody or (any program) can darken them to satisfy anyone.
*Can you drive to Tennessee for $5?
*Charactor Limits: You create a great narrative and you realize there is only a 500-charactor limit so you have to wipe out half of what you typed!
*Slow loading webpages. Your report feels like it will be Christmas (again) before it completes each page you typed.
“Tell us about last month, what you wore on the shop you did 43 days ago.” Who can remember that? Why wait so long to ask us questions?
Lastly, getting committed to a shop, assigned and then it’s pulled and given to another shopper. (Usually, as a result of 2 schedulers miscommunication or 1 unprofessional scheduler who is overwhelmed or fill in the blank_____