Hello, My name is Danelle and I started mystery shopping a month ago. I really appreciate this forum, you all have been very helpful. I did have a questions about accepting shops. Usually there is a brief summary of what the company wants and then you sign up and get the shop assigned to you. I have found a couple of times however that after I have accepted and looked at the guidelines and evaluation of the shop, what they expect is not a skill you possess. For example it will read, " write a word by word narrative your entire conversation you had with your waiter, bank representative, apartment manager etc,"and the example they give of this are at least a page long of dialogue that I couldn't possibly remember unless I taped it. I don't like backing out of assignments and I know that the companies don't either but is there any way to get a more complete list of what will be expected from you without agreeing to do the assignment? Thank you!
I got surprised by this sort of thing in the beginning, as well. If the result is far more work than the compensation is worth, you can finish this shop, do future ones only for bonuses (wait for the end of the month and quarter for those) and chalk it up to growing pains.
Many shoppers surreptitiously tape the entire interaction on their cellphones' voice recorders. Most voice recording apps let you continue to record with the screen off. I have considered using this with tight-timing shops where it easier to tape the interaction (time in line, time at register, time for payment processing). It is less obtrusive than trying to surreptitiously hit a timer. It's also risky because the tape may malfunction and you won't know till you're done.
Take into consideration that if you do tape the encounter for your private recordkeeping, it does take time to review and transcribe the dialogue on the tape. Also, taping people without their consent is illegal in some states, and legal in others, such as New York, if you do it for simple note-taking purposes.
I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, simply a recital of what I have heard is done by others. YMMV.
Thank you so much for that valuable information. I have thought about recording but you’re right it takes forever to transcribe it and it may not be legal. I’ll just have to mark off the companies that expects that type of documentation and do the best with the ones I sign up for. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Danelle
I preform 3-7 shops a day and also have another part time job so I HAVE to record the conversations. Most reports I do ask to state "exactly" what the employee said. I also use it to have the exact time in which the interaction started and ended. Some shops ask you to tell them what exact time you started the interaction (including the seconds!), NOT the time you entered the store. If it is a product demonstration or shop I ask them to give me the EXACT name of the product and also sometimes spell their names out loud (so it can be recorded lol). I also take pictures before and after I enter the store to ensure that the timing is correct (just to be safe). There was ONE time my recording stopped for no reason so glad I did that. I usually pay attention closely nevertheless and introduce myself by my alias so that they can also introduce themselves. So far it has worked 100% of the time. I don't think it is the most private thing but in case there was any dispute I have it recorded. I usually ask for their business card or have them write whatever was discussed on a piece of paper (most comply). Credit card shops are know for being the most painful, you need the Terms of Services paper most times and have to write the date, time, when it was provided, and even the address! How can you remember this without a recording or photographic memory? lol This is what has helped me be successful.
Taking a picture (even of the floor) for a time stamp is a great tip that I forgot to mention. Also I know that some shoppers put their cell on videotape and do a quick scan, with it held casually against their chest or handbag, so that they capture an image of the cashier. Helps if you have trouble remembering descriptions. For the life of me I couldn't register if cashiers wear glasses or not for about the first six months until I made myself repeat this over and over to myself while standing in line!
I learned a police method from the Internet of scanning people for descriptions in the same way each time, top down: gender, height, hair, glasses, eye color, build...etc. I try to use a mnemonic to remember name tags (Barbara with Black hair has Big glasses...). If you are recording, you can greet them. You can say, "What a great shade of green in your blouse," etc.
I dictate quick notes to myself after I leave, and you can even just text this to yourself. Sometimes a notebook (always close it if it's on your front seat, store employees do sometimes see them in cars) is the easiest and fastest and most reliable way to keep track.
I use Google Maps throughout the day to track my routes. Helps a ton as backup if I forget when I entered a certain store, or need to match my notes to a location when my recordkeeping is less than clear. You can go back and see what time you entered and exited each parking lot.
Hope this helps. I'm pretty much done with shopping and doing my best to share everything that I learned in a year of intensive effort and about $28,000 in gross income (much less after real expenses).
Doing my best, every day
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2019 12:25PM by Shoshi99.
You can also work on your memorization skills on jobs where it is not required. Or just any time. Watch a short video and then write down everything that you remember, watch it again, and score yourself.
I have never had a shop that requires verbatim details of the entire conversation. That does sound like they expect a recording when they can't ask for one. I wouldn't be down for that kind of work. However, it is almost always a plus to have exact quotes in your report rather than reported "that" statements.
It has been literally years since I had to provide direct quotes for more than one or two per month of my 30 or more shops. Maybe it is time to sign up with more MSCs if that is pretty much the norm for all, or most, of your shops.
I do almost no retail shops and no fast food, so perhaps that is how I avoid those quotation issues ???
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel