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Understanding Mystery Shop Cancellations

Regardless of the industry, mystery shop cancellations have always been a challenge for schedulers. It’s by far the number one shopper frustration in our industry and something that every mystery shop company struggles with monthly. When a shopper accepts a mystery shop in our system, they are committing to completing the visit on the scheduled date and within the scheduled timeframe, as well as committing to all of the shop requirements and guidelines. However, over 40% of the time, mystery shoppers are flaking on their visits — for various reasons. This causes schedulers to scramble to get these visits rescheduled with new shoppers, often against a very tight time constraint.   

Mystery Shop Cancellation Trends 

We monitor this data very closely as we are constantly strategizing on how to lower this very high cancellation rate. When we see cancellation trends that are in our control — such as shoppers canceling because they feel the pay is too low or the instructions are unclear — we take that feedback seriously and internally try to figure out how we can make these shops more attractive and clearer to shoppers. 

However, the majority of mystery shop cancellations occur with shoppers giving no reason at all. Shoppers simply cancel the shops without informing their scheduler, or shops are auto removed from shoppers’ accounts because they pass the 24-hour submission deadline. When this happens and we don’t know the reasoning behind the cancellation, we are at a loss. We can’t help rectify the situation if we don’t understand why these shops are being dropped.  

The Impact of Canceled Mystery Shops

When a mystery shop is canceled, it puts the scheduler in a challenging situation. They need to quickly refill the dropped shop, usually with a limited timeframe to work with. This puts us at risk of not delivering on our clients’ needs and providing them with the data they rely on to make critical decisions for their businesses. Most clients operate on a month-to-month basis, and they depend on receiving the same amount of data each month across all of their locations. Clients often use shops to bonus their managers, and when we aren’t providing them with consistent data, their needs for the mystery shopping program change. 

We understand that mystery shopping is not a shopper’s full-time job and that situations arise that are out of their control. Most often, completing a mystery shop will likely fall to the bottom of the priority list. While we understand that this happens occasionally, this mustn’t become a consistent habit. Habitually canceling shops will result in the deactivation of a shopper’s account. If a shopper needs to reschedule, it’s essential they reach out to the scheduler promptly. If they can’t reschedule, at the very least, they should let their scheduler know as soon as possible before it’s too late to get the visit rescheduled.

We Want to Hear From You!

We are committed to doing everything we can to make our shoppers’ experiences shops as straightforward and seamless as possible; any feedback our nationwide mystery shoppers have regarding why the cancellation rate is always so high is always welcome. Please reach out to us if you have any questions, insight, or would like to discuss your mystery shops in further detail!