Mystery Shopper is a term that we encounter very often these days; it refers to a service that may offer significant earnings, as well as unusual experiences in cafes or shops. By giving feedback on the quality of service received, or on the quality of the food and beverages served, could make a mystery shopper an agent in its truest sense of the word, while potentially helping to influence thousands of customers. This article describes a few of my tips and suggestions on what a person needs to become a successful secret shopper and how to achieve this goal.
To conclude the article, there are some tips on where to look for mystery shopping jobs.
Who Can Become a Mystery Shopper and What Does the Job Entail?
Actually, anyone can be a mystery shopper. A person who is a true foodie is certainly warmly welcomed! However, that is not the only function of a mystery shopper. The opportunities for mystery shopping will very soon vary from inspecting hotels, selected retail outlets, going to the cinema or refueling at a gas station.
A mystery shopper could earn money while eating well or enjoying some leisure time; the opportunities are endless and the tasks definitely not boring.
Good work ethics is a necessary skill to become a good secret shopper. Those interested in these extra earnings should also have very good language skills and some experience as a reviewer.
It is also necessary to be objective, as the mystery shopper should not be biased, nor should they project their negative relationship with a particular service or brand in their reviews. Quite the contrary, as a mystery customer, one has to test the goods – carefully, impartially – because the feedback/review has to be as comprehensive as possible. Generally, the more sophisticated the review, the higher the ranking received which in turn could lead to receiving more future orders/assignments.
Mystery shopping is not a full-time salaried position. It can be compared to an independent contractor who sets his/her time and schedule. There are no daily or monthly tasks.
Pretending to Be Interested in a Particular Service or Goods
To become a quality and successful mystery shopper, one needs to develop an acting talent – literally in all aspects of the job. The tasks are usually not complicated, but reports are required to be completed in great detail. Secret shoppers are allowed to take notes, but above all, they must always be alert and keep their eyes open.
There are also tasks which do not require being on site in person such as the following:
- Mail offers to record: Mystery shoppers are required to subscribe to brochures, catalogs, magazine, and other print subscriptions. The task entails recording when the mail offers arrive and the condition in which they arrived.
- Email mystery shopping: This is only practical with shops with more extensive customer support and really offers the option of an email inquiry. Another option is online chat.
- Making purchases over the telephone: The secret shopper is likely to ask a question, order goods, and then write an exhaustive report on how the companies responded. Did they provide appropriate answers, and were they helpful towards the potential customer?
As a mystery shopper, most assignments will be conducted by a single person. The only exceptions are that of being a mystery diner. For such an assignment, one can bring a partner, family member, or children. Their feedback can also be valuable and used in the review writing (e.g. it could be useful to write whether the business is child-friendly, or whether it is more suitable for men, women or couples).
The most comprehensive evaluation is the primary objective. At times, the assignments may only last a few minutes, especially when conducted on the phone. But other times, secret diners will have to go to a shop or restaurant in person which naturally means a higher financial reward.
Extra Earnings that Can Mean Interesting Rewards
In addition to the classic mystery shopping, I also mention telephone mystery shopping, email shopping, delivery shopping or video secret shopping. What would you choose?
The number of assignments offered will be proportional to the quality of the work delivered. Once the mystery shopper achieves the top levels, it is possible to earn several hundred dollars per month. However, to achieve that, the secret shoppers must devote time to this extra income-earning activity (and patience, of course…).
Before setting out to go to a store or restaurant, the mystery shoppers must carefully review all the instructions and notes to make sure they know exactly what is expected of them. It could be a trip to a pharmacy, a car repair shop or an assignment to have a few beers and evaluate the quality of the staff or the goods sold or the ambiance of the establishment.
Did you have to wait long to be served? Has anyone been rude to you? Cleanliness, adherence to the company dress code, speed with which you are served by the waiters, offers on the daily menu and many more details have to be recorded – and beware – the review is not always commissioned by an independent body. It often turns out, that the commissioner is actually the company that you are asked to review, wanting to check if everything is OK, and their services are offered work as they should. It is an effective way to out secretly find that information.
Act Natural and Be Casual so You Don’t Give Away the Nature of the Assignment
You could get into a situation where you are skating on thin ice and the business/ restaurant you are reviewing have suspicions that you are a mystery shopper. However, you should never reveal your identity. Doing so could result in being denied the reward for your assignment. Besides, the company may decide not to offer you any more assignments. Therefore, you should always act naturally, conduct yourself with ease, become a good actor, and try not to be conspicuous. The vast majority of mystery shoppers do this and with experience gain even more confidence, so do not be afraid! Above all, remember, your assignments are confidential and you are bound by confidentiality. These are standard practices within the industry, and you must respect them.
Be aware that there are no registration fees for secret shopping. Do not send your money to anyone or anywhere no matter how small the amount requested. No legitimate secret shopping company will ask for a registration fee. On the contrary, they will pay you for the work you do.
Also, check the company you wish to register with. Does it have a history? Do you know anyone who may have been conducting mystery shopping assignments with the company for a while?
What Do You Need to Have Before You Start?
Mystery shopper must not underestimate anything, a computer is a must – a tablet is a recommendation. You can also use a classic, old-fashioned notebook, or write your notes on your mobile or tablet. Having a good memory is an advantage, but sometimes in order not to forget anything – it would be best to carefully write everything down.
Finally, ideally, you would also have a decent camera (the one on your mobile phone would suffice) as uploading photos will certainly be a necessity.
Appropriate clothing is also important, at least to the extent that you fit in with the ordinary customers, (e.g. in luxury restaurants). You must not act suspiciously, or give the impression that you are spying on the business.
Be patient, keep the receipts and carefully document all your expenses, as you will want to be reimbursed for these. Learn how to organize your work, with the help of a notebook, Google Docs, OneNote, etc.
Where Can You Find Opportunities to Become a Mystery Shopper?
There are plenty of jobs on the Internet. However, if you do not want to search, check out my latest article, which lists 35 companies/websites that employ mystery shoppers.
In that article I compare individual companies, the opportunities they offer, how much you can earn for each task and other interesting information.
Once you have registered, you don’t have to wait too long to receive job offers – they come right to you – literally. You just have to be online, have your profile completed and have your mobile phone handy. Testing new items before they arrive in the market, or visiting the restaurant of your dreams and having your bill reimbursed is not a bad end-result. All that is required of you, is to have a little time to submit your review.
This kind of earnings is available to everyone – for ladies on maternity leave, students, retired people, for an unemployed person. Regular employees who would like to earn extra income in their spare or leisure time may also take advantage of this type of part-time employment. So how about it? Will you give it a try?
Haven’t you find what you were looking for in the article? Then check the discussion forum. There may be some interesting information on this topic.
Do you have any experience with mystery shopping? Have you worked as a mystery shopper for some company? If so, submit your experiences to the discussion. I appreciate every opinion, by which you can inspire or motivate the other visitors of my site.
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My name is George and I currently work from home as a freelancer for a PR agency selling advertising. I also freelance as an online marketer for an e-shop, and I am actively involved in creating this website. I am always looking for interesting opportunities on how to make money online. I share my findings with my readers on this website. I consider this to be my hobby. I hope, that you can find some legitimate work from home, or perhaps you might be able to earn a little extra money.