Preparing for a Secret Shopping Trip

It is critical that you prepare properly for a secret shopping trip. Remember, real people at this shop are going to have their careers affected by what you say about them. You owe it to them to be completely prepared and ethical on this trip, so that your review is as 100% accurate as possible.

First, print out ALL documentation on the trip a few days in advance. I've heard horror stories about printers failing, people running out of paper, running out of ink, the electricity going out, you name it. Don't get yourself into that situation. Print everything in advance, and if you run into a jam, go to your local library and print it out there. Don't ever leave that until the last moment.

Next, READ all of that printed documentation well in advance. That way you have a good idea of what is involved, what timing they want, when you need to go there, and so on. You never want to be surprised on the day of a shop, with some detail you didn't know about.

Make sure you double check the date, time and location of the shop. Don't assume you know where the shop is. A lot of companies have multiple shops in the same town. Be very sure that you are going to the correct one.

Finally, get a good night's rest the night before. Again, these people have their careers on the line, based on your review. If you are really cranky and nasty, and then have an awful time at the restaurant, you could severely damage their careers by laying the blame on them. You, as the shopper, have a responsibility to be as awake, alert and "even keeled" as possible before you go in to the shop situation.

Make sure you do NOT stand out in any way. This means your clothing should be typical for this shop, your attitude should be professional and you do not make any comment that leads the employees to believe you are reviewing them. It is critical, for the review to be an authentic one, that the employees treat you exactly as they treat other visitors.

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