How to make money from Mystery Shopping
There are many people I know keep asking me about what mystery shopping is. As my 3 years experience in conducting mystery shopping projects as a Project Manager and Mystery shopper as well. I will share my knowledge with you about Mystery Shopping (MS) in tricks, tips and how to perform visit, scenario and the whole concept of MS.
Concept of Mystery Shopping
Mystery Shopping is a research methodology to evaluate products, brand and employee. This method will help company or business improve their service level by measure staff performance together with its retail quality. The key to engage customers to specific brand is customer services.
Who are the mystery shopping providers?
There are many global and local mystery shopping providers recruiting shoppers in your location. But I would recommend only the global companies which I've worked with them before and I can guarantee that you will receive your fee within due date stated on the terms and conditions.
The best mystery shopping company are :
- international service check (ISC),
- Bare International (Bare),
- Albratross Asia,
- Corporate Research International (CRI)
- Helion Research
and many companies
How to becomes a shopper/auditor/service checker
If you want to earn money while enjoying shopping, let's register to be a mystery shopper/service checker/auditor on those websites I mentioned eariler. It's very easy and simple, no need to submit any important documents like ID card, driving license or whatever. The procedures of registration is very simple, you just fill out your personal detail such as name, contact number, address and the most important is don't forget to put a zip code in the system because the system will map it with the retail near your resident. This is called Psychographic Segmentation - this segment is assumed that the people who live in the same area will have the same life style, activity, social class and etc. It's crucial to put the correct information about yourself otherwise, you might not receive any assignment from them.
After registration as a mystery shopper / auditor / evaluator, you might get assignment immediately if there is a project in your area. However, some shoppers never ever receive any assignment.
How to behave as a mystery shopper?
It's very important that a shopper behave as a general customer during visiting the retail / store / shop assigned. A shopper must follow the scenario establish in each project. And It is compulsory that a shopper read the guideline or shopper documents thoroughly before performing the assignment. In the guideline generally inform how to behave as a shopper/service checker/auditor, visit date and time, store's address, scenario, and payment criteria.
Terms & Conditions for Mystery Shopper :
1.) He/she cannot reveal himself/herself as a shopper/service checker/auditor to the store/shop/branch's staff member.
2.) He/she will not allow to conduct survey where his/her friend, family or relative working in the stores/shops/branches assigned. The main reason is because there could have bias on the report.
3.) Shopper cannot perform assignment in at same shop / store / branch within 3 months or more depending on the research design.
4.) Shopper has to fill out the questionnaire & report online by accessing thru mystery shopping provider's website within 24 hours and keep proof of visit at least 2 months in case their customer has any question in the details on the report which performed by you.
5.) If a mystery shopper cheats / fraunds or deliveries below quality report, he / she will be penalized base on the contract sign off.
In order to receive an accurate or precise assessment, shopper has to conduct the survey according to guideline. Shopper definately cannot disclose him/herself as a mystery shopper. Otherwise, shopper will be penalized and terminated.
Key Touch - Points for Evaluation
Typically, there are several key areas to be assessed by a mystery shopper or auditor. The main reason why several businesses conduct marketing research by mystery shopping method are to sustain the customer satisfaction, to evaluate of store / shop / branch's staffs, employees including managements performance, and continuous improvement.
- Atmosphere / Environment
- Exterior / Interior of the shop / store / branch
- Number of customer or Number of staff member (depends on the research design)
- Customer engagement
- Product and service knowledge
- customer services such as greeting, consultation, giving advises, service manner, and appearance of the staff member / salesperson / employee
- Consultation / face - to - face conversation or telephone conversation
- Time measurement such as time - in and time - out, waiting time, service time
- Inventory management
Normally the providers will draw the proper scenario which is easy to be measured, assessed, or evaluated by mystery shopper.
Example of Scenario (s) :
Reimbursement Scenario : Shopper visit cosmetic store and purchase one product with 3 euros is compulsory. Shopper has to buy something at that store and keep the receipt for reimbursement.
Non - purchase Scenario : shopper visit and evaluate interior, exterior, employee and customer services without purchase.
The New Scenarios : Generally, a mystery shopper must perform survey as per assignment by him/herself. As now there are several types of businesses especially fine restaurant want reliable data and information about the areas assessments. Consequently, the scenario and the number of mystery shoppers have been customized depending on the research purposes , research design, and methodologies given.
For instance, one fine restaurant want to evaluate its food and beverage quality, restaurant environment and atmosphere, and customer services. The research method has designed and the scenario is a mystery shopper must accompany 1 - 2 friends, colleagues, relatives to have lunch or dinner at specific restaurant on the date and time appointed. But a mystery shopper must follow the terms and conditions stated on the agreement strictly such as "Do not reveal yourself as a mystery shopper." "You have to behave like normal customers meaning that.....otherwise you will be penalized by our company."
Questionnaire and Report Submission
After performing store / shop survey, a shopper has to fill in the questionnaire online within 24 hours or less depends on the regulation stated. Some mystery shopping providers request shopper to write a short report about his / her experience approximately 300 - 500 words and in many cases the minimum words in the report is compulsory 800 words.
A series of questionnaire is generally like other surveys in the traditional format which combines of Yes/No, Rating Scales such as 1 - 5 points of scale, Open - ended questionnaire or is called the combination of close - ended and open - ended questionnaire. And shopper must attach proof of visit (POV) obtains from the store / shop assigned on the online report.
- Proof of Visit (POV)
Proof of visit (POV) is the evidences to ensure that a mystery shopper perform shop / store / branch assigned. Typically, proof of visit (POV) can be a photo of store or shop front, receipt (reimbursed scenario), business card, photo of the products, marketing materials such as flyers, brochures, leaflets and so on.
Shopper will receive fee after the visit report was approved by the project manager (mystery shopping provider). The fee will be transfer to mystery shopper's bank account or online payment channel around 3 - 6 weeks after approval.
The most convenient money transferred channel is paypal.com. Paypal has several strengths the money recipient will receive the e-mail as soon as payment is successfully transferred by sender or mystery shopping providers, the transaction fee is cheaper, and the most important is its security and privacy of a users.
The weakness of paypal is it takes longer time on each transaction of the payment, it will takes 5 - 7 days transferring money from the sender to your bank account meaning that after you click "withdraw" from the webpage, you have to wait for clearing payment around 5 days approximately.
The terms and conditions will state the rules and regulations of being mystery shopper in accord with the penalization. There are few statements issue on the contract between two parties, a mystery shopping company is an employer and a mystery shopper or auditor or evaluator as a temporary staff, acknowledgement prior to sign off the contract. A mystery shopper will be penalized based on his / her own intention to fraud, cheat, or make a report without visit shop / store / branch assigned.
- Incomplete information: A shopper or auditor or evaluator will be requested to fill out an online report again on each missing points. If the missing questionnaire is ignored, the payment will be cancelled.
- Fraud or Cheat: In this case, a mystery shopper will be terminated from the system automatically and it is, definitely, NOT receive any payment.
- Having many account on the system: Only one mystery shopper has many account on the system by changing his / her name and personal details. If he / she is found having many account, all account will be terminated and blocked sign up.
- Contact Person
Some provider will let shopper contact Project Manager directly, and some a coordinator or field work supervisor will in charge of a field management. A Project Manager will be a person who cope with the problem, making decision, and approve report before sending to the customers. The contact person will be issued on the guideline at the top or bottom of the document.
Example of Analysis
How To Analyze Mystery Shopping Data (MS)?
Well, I should not write something confidential on this hub, but why not. OK, now I will tell you what is a branch report. The branch report, in general, will show the performance of each store, shop, or branch which is assess by a mystery shopping. A branch report will be exactly similar to the questionnaire filled out by you but it consists of a raw score or weighted score or in several case the percentage point of each key touch point will be presented to the branch manager including other person in charges (PIC).
A full reports will be submit to the superior managements such as regional supervisor, manager, or higher position of the client. The reports will demonstrate weighted score and percentage points of each branch under their supervision. These report will be classified by geographic or is called region. The top management can view all report by total score by nations/countries, regions, branches in each region, in the monthly, quarterly, and yearly formats including comparison among regions. The report can be sorted out from top to bottom score or percent to see who is the winner or top 10, top 20 of the month, quarter, or annual. I think I provide enough information about the report for you to know why your assessment is valuable.
The mystery shopping analysis is based on statistical models interpreting the performance assessment but it is not really complex as other research methodologies. The measurements of mystery shopping approach are straight forward and simple by applying scoring models such as rating scale 1 - 5 points, 1 - 4 points, or weighted score assess the satisfaction on each variable of a questionnaire. Then the raw score of the whole questionnaire will be weighted proportionally. The mean, mode, median, and statistical significant level can be used in some analysis.
SCORE VARIATION -- CLASSIFIED BY KEY TOUCH POINT
TOUCH - POINT
WEIGHT or RAW SCORE
1. Store Appearance (2 variables)
2. Atmosphere and Environment (3 variables)
3. Customer Engagement (6 variables)
4. Sales (5 variables)
5. Products and Service Knowledge (4 variables)
Example of Score Variation -- Questionnaire
Customer Engagement (25 points)
Weight (Raw Score)
Percentage Point (%)
1. Greeting and Bid farewell
2. Advisory, consultation
3. Staff member's appearance
5. Products and Services knowledge
6. Sale techniques
Why The Report Is So Important?
As soon as project manager or researcher receive each individual questionnaire and report online. They will prepare the analysis and weighted score for customers, in this process the system will generate the score and verbatim automatically. The individual report will be submitted to a branch/shop/store manager or other person in charge stated in the system.
It is very important to the project manager to approve each sing branch report carefully. As soon as a branch/store/shop manager receive it with a negative comments and low score, they might decline it in order to defense themselves from the superior. In the end all those negative issues on the report will get back to the manager because it affects to their performance and bonus directly. See how important it is!!
I don't indicate to write all good thing or rate high score on the report when conducting mystery shopping survey. Just mention the truth on the report!!