Secret shopping in tandem

Mystery shopping is an activity usually done alone, but it can also be done with a partner.

A 2014 study by the Hartman Group said that American adults eat 47 percent of their meals alone. While that is a surprisingly high number, it also means 53 percent of meals are eaten in the company of others.

Mystery shopping is an activity usually done alone, but like dining, it can also be done with a partner. Another set of eyes and ears inside a location may allow you to get a better feel for how a business works, or you may be treated differently shopping with a partner than you would if you were alone.

Take along somebody you trust and who knows what they are doing, and remember these tips:

Play your roles
One of the benefits to having another person beside you is the ability to learn from each other. Before going out as a secret shopping duo, go over what you are looking to accomplish at the business you are headed to. When both people are clear on what the mission is and decide together the best way to get the work done, there will be no tension or confusion once you are at the location.

Divide and conquer
With a second person, it becomes easier to interact with a larger portion of the business. If the place you are secret shopping is a restaurant, have one person speak with a waiter or waitress, while the other person interacts with a manager. At a retail store, talk to separate employees and check out at different registers, so you get a larger feel for how the place operates. Spreading out and getting different perspectives will give you a more thorough understanding of the business, which will be of use when filling out your reports at the end of your secret shopping experience.

Keep the secret
A mystery shopping mission can be ruined by revealing your true purpose for visiting a location, and it can complicate things to work with another person. Make sure at no time while shopping do you or your partner reveal why you are at the business. Work ahead of time to ensure your stories are straight and that nobody suspects you are there to do anything but shop. Mystery shoppers should not stand out all from other customers, and that is the case when working alone or in tandem.