Mystery Shopping Fun
I have become a Mystery Shopper! It is quite fun, and rewarding at the same time. It also is opening up a whole new appreciation of what businesses do to ensure quality customer service.
I signed up to be a mystery shopper months ago, but just recently received my first assignment. I am unable to say who I contract under, or which businesses I visit, but I can say it is very interesting. For those of you wanting to try it, just type in "Mystery Shopper" in your search engine, and you will be directed to several sites. I do advise you to carefully read the company's expectations, and be skeptical of any company promising big earnings. The majority of them do not pay huge dollars, but if you are shopping anyway it will usually pay for your trip. You work around your schedule, and can often take family members with you.
When completing the assignments, be sure to be as accurate as possible, and pay attention to details. You will need to scan your surroundings without making it look obvious...most employees never think the customer they are serving could be a mystery shopper. File your report within the time specified in your assignment...failure to do so may result in a lowering or loss of compensation for your time. Read the assignment and evaluation sheets prior to arriving at the business...it will not raise any flags by employees this way.
The idea behind hiring mystery shoppers is so businesses can improve on customer service. The evaluation sheets will help them understand where their weak points are, as well as areas they excel in. Since employees cannot be constantly watched by management, mystery shoppers are sent in to see if they are knowledgeable and courteous.
I previously worked for a company that had mystery shoppers come in on almost a monthly basis. We were all given a copy of the evaluation report during staff meetings, and weak areas were discussed in detail. It was interesting being on that end of it as well...we used to try to figure out who the mystery shopper was.
If you feel you could help improve customer service, I encourage you to become a mystery shopper. You only do the assignments you agree to and are comfortable doing. You always have a choice, and are not obligated to take on every assignment sent to you.
I am having fun, and like the fact there are businesses in my area I can evaluate. There are also occasionally phone only assignments...these can be done from any area, as all it will cost you is the price of the phone call. The calls are rarely lengthy, and pay several times more than the cost of the call. It is usually a flat rate per call, and if you have an existing long distance plan in place, you earn the full amount.
I am aware of the fact I will not get rich from being a mystery shopper, but it is a fun way to earn that little extra income. Plus, I can take my family with me...which makes it even less obvious about my purpose of being in that particular store.
Do your research, find a legitimate company...& have fun!
Update January 2012: I have only completed the one assignment as there were no more in my immediate area. For anyone living in an urban area, there are usually plenty to choose from. I do have to say, the paycheque was very nice though.