A lot of people have the wrong idea about mystery shopping. They think it is a scam, a way for someone to collect their private information, multi-level marketing, phishing, or like those paid surveys online that NEVER pay.
Nothing is farther from the truth. Mystery shopping is a legitimate business that is growing every year. And, there is good money to be made with mystery shopping.
What, exactly, is mystery shopping. It is large part of market research. A shopper poses as a normal customer and “shops” the business, whether it is a retail store, a doctor’s office, an upscale restaurant, a fast food location, or car repair shop.
Many business owners, especially those with multiple stores or even national and international coverage, want to know how employees are treating customers. After posing as a customer, the shopper normally fills out a report, recording observations such as the interaction of employees and customers, and the physical area where the shop is conducted.
Today, customer service is the one thing that will separate the sheep and the goats, so to speak. Superior customer service defines whether someone will return to that location and most businesses depend on repeat business to stay alive.
Here’s how Mystery Shopping works:
- A shopper signs up with a mystery shopping firm, normally as an independent contractor
- The firm posts available jobs on a job board and if the shopper meets the qualifications to do the shop–age, gender, ranking within the firm–they can request the assignment
- Once the shopper is assigned the job, they read all of the guidelines regarding the assignment.
- They go to the location and perform the assigned tasks such as interacting with employees to taking photos of the area
- Once all the tasks are completed, the shopper then fills out a report including as much detail as possible
The firm will pay the shopper the fee previously agreed upon. The only downside is a shopper may have to wait 4-8 weeks to get paid. Knowing that going in, a shopper can make arrangements ahead of time, financially. Once the money starts rolling in, a shopper can continually make money knowing the money they earned last month will support them while they are doing this month’s shops.
A word of warning
Scams do exist. Never pay to get a shop assigned to you. Firms pay YOU and not the reverse. Never agree to cash checks for a firm or to send money to a foreign address on behalf of a firm. A legitimate firm will NEVER ask you to do this. Before agreeing to shop for a firm, look them up online. Read what others have to say about them. Read the reviews that shoppers post about the firm. Are they fair? Do they pay on time? Do they find reasons to NOT pay a shopper?
Spending a little bit of time researching will save you a lot of heartache later.