Targeting Employees During a Mystery Shop


Sometimes clients will have concerns about a particular employee, but need more data to substantiate their issues. Other times, management wants to see how employee service levels are after a training session is completed.


This is the time when clients will contact their mystery shopping provider to conduct a targeted mystery shop. This takes a bit more preparation, and, depending on staffing schedules, can be tricky. However, it can be done when the need arises.


Before contacting your mystery shopping company to conduct this type of shop, be sure to have the following information ready:


1. Is the employee’s schedule set, or does it vary week to week? How far in advance will you have the employee’s schedule to provide to the mystery shopping company? The more set the schedule is, and the further out the employee is scheduled, the better the chances of the shopper connecting with the right employee.


2. Not only a name, but give the company a good, detailed physical description of the employee in question. This will immensely help the shopper confirm that they have the right employee. Names are good, but an accompanying description is best.


3. Does the employee work in a specific department? It’s much easier for a shopper to target an employee who works in a specific area of your business. The more transient the employee is, the more difficult it is to target him/her.


4. Will this be a standard shop, looking at the same guidelines as your typical mystery shopping program, or will a separate survey need to be created? This may depend on the setting. For example, when targeted shops are requested in a restaurant/bar situation, especially with bar integrity issues, clients typically prefer a narrative heavy report so that the shopper can make detailed and specific observations over the length of the visit. In other settings, such as retail, clients can utilize the same report they do for their regular program.


The above tips are key factors that you need to think about before setting up this type of shop. It will take flexibility, and sometimes more than one attempt to get the right employee. You will also need to set up a “go to” person on your side to be ready for the mystery shopping company to contact you with any last minute “what if’s” or changes in schedule, etc.


Targeted mystery shops can provide clients with detailed information for a specific employee – this can help alleviate concerns or acquire data needed to make employment decisions if need be.



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