Mystery shopping, a unique and engaging profession, involves evaluating customer service, product quality, and overall shopping experience by posing as a regular customer. However, being a mystery shopper is not just about shopping; it requires versatility and the ability to play various roles effectively. Here are some key roles a mystery shopper must master:

1. Customer

The primary role of a mystery shopping services provider is to act as a typical customer. This involves blending in seamlessly with other patrons and following the same procedures any customer would. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, dining out, or staying in a hotel, it’s essential to behave naturally and avoid drawing attention. Your goal is to experience and evaluate the service from a genuine customer’s perspective.

2. Observer

A keen eye for detail is crucial in mystery shopping. As an observer, you need to note everything from the cleanliness of the establishment to the attentiveness of the staff. This includes monitoring specific elements like the condition of the merchandise, the store layout, wait times, and employee behavior. Observation skills are essential to provide accurate and comprehensive feedback in your reports.

3. Evaluator

Once you’ve gathered your observations, you transition into the role of an evaluator. This involves critically analyzing your experiences and comparing them against set criteria or standards provided by the client. Evaluators need to be objective, ensuring personal biases do not affect the assessment. Your evaluations should be fair, precise, and reflective of the overall service quality.

4. Reporter

After the evaluation comes the reporting phase. Here, you act as a reporter, documenting your findings in a structured and detailed manner. Reports typically include both quantitative data, like scores on various metrics, and qualitative insights, such as comments on specific interactions or notable incidents. Effective communication skills are vital to convey your observations clearly and accurately to the client.

5. Problem Solver

In some assignments, you might need to play the role of a problem solver. This could involve identifying issues or potential areas of improvement within the establishment. Clients often rely on mystery shoppers to pinpoint weaknesses in their operations and suggest practical solutions. This role requires a good understanding of customer service principles and a creative approach to problem-solving.

6. Actor

A significant aspect of mystery shopping is the ability to play different characters. Depending on the assignment, you might need to pretend to be a demanding customer, a first-time visitor, or someone with specific needs or preferences. This role requires adaptability and a bit of acting skill to ensure your performance is believable and effective in eliciting genuine responses from the staff.

7. Trainer

Indirectly, mystery shoppers also serve as trainers. The feedback from the mystery shopping program helps businesses identify training needs for their staff. By highlighting both strengths and weaknesses in service delivery, mystery shoppers contribute to the development and improvement of customer service standards. This role emphasizes the importance of constructive criticism and positive reinforcement in your reports.

8. Researcher

Before stepping into any establishment, a mystery shopper often needs to conduct preliminary research. This involves understanding the business, its products or services, and the typical customer experience. As a researcher, you gather background information to ensure your evaluation is informed and contextually accurate.


Mystery shopping is a multifaceted role that goes beyond mere shopping. It demands a combination of observation, evaluation, reporting, problem-solving, acting, training, and research skills. Each role you play as a mystery shopping provider contributes to a comprehensive assessment that helps businesses enhance their customer service and overall operational efficiency. By mastering these roles, mystery shoppers provide invaluable insights that drive continuous improvement in the service industry.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here