Mystery shoppers need to be good at a few different things in order to be successful. Remember, mystery shopping isn’t necessarily for everyone, but people can learn to become better mystery shoppers if they apply themselves. Improving your mystery shopping skills will help you get more jobs and earn more money in the future. Everyone can improve their skills. Having said that, there are a number of skills and characteristics a person should have in order to be a good mystery shopper.

Follow directions

The first thing a mystery shopper has to be good at is following directions. Mystery shopping isn’t easy, but it’s not rocket science either. The client or company giving you the job will describe exactly what they want you to do and tell you what you’re trying to find out. All you have to do is follow their directions to the letter and you’ll do fine. Arrive when they say you should, do what they want you to do and spend the correct amount of time doing it. And, as always, turn in your report on time.


Honesty is paramount for mystery shoppers. The company is paying you for your honest report. If you don’t think you can be honest about a given job, then don’t take it. Be aware of any objections you may have to specific jobs and avoid the ones where you don’t think you could give an honest report. Beyond being honest because you should be, writing an accurate report will be easier than trying to make something up.


Mystery shoppers should be friendly individuals. You’re going to be talking and interacting with someone at every mystery shopping job, so you need to be able to hold conversations with people. You aren’t trying to provoke a specific response. Your job is to go in and see what happens. You’re there to observe and report. Being friendly is one of the best ways to do this.

Writing skills

Writing reports is something that every mystery shopper has to do. While you don’t have to be the next Ernest Hemingway or Toni Morrison, it’s important you write a clear and concise report. Make sure your writing is clear. Specifics are what is going to be important. Make sure to point out the details and stay away from vague statements and words. Be sure to edit your report before you send it. Look for common spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, but also look for larger, structural problems. Consider the person reading the report. What will they be interested in?

Eye for detail

Because your report needs to be clear and full of specifics, mystery shoppers should have an eye for detail. You need to notice if the customer service person was smiling, if the counter was clear of paperwork and other debris, and be cognizant of anything else the client was interested in. Take your time when you’re on a mystery shopping job unless otherwise instructed. The extra time on site will allow you to notice things you may have missed.

Good memory

Obviously you can’t walk around with a pen and pad of paper taking notes, so you need to have a decent enough memory to at least get everything in your report. If you find yourself struggling, try writing the report directly after you leave the mystery shopping job. The less time you have between the experience and writing it down the better. Also, don’t submit your report right after you get done reading it. You might remember things that you forgot in your initial writing of the report.