In this post, I want to share with you how to become a mystery shopper. This is one way of making extra money for yourself and your family while doing something that benefits you.
There are currently millions of people in America who are working as mystery shoppers.
Some of you may, however, be wondering as to who is a mystery shopper or as some call them secret shoppers.
Who is a Mystery Shopper?
A mystery shopper is someone who poses as a real customer while in reality he or she is assessing things like customer service provided by that organization.
Mystery shopping is not just confined to shopping in groceries or supermarkets. It can also involve the mystery shopper paying a visit to a bank or even staying in a hotel.
As already pointed the purpose is to assess the services provided by the participating company or organization.
The visiting is also not just confined to visiting a physical place as it can involve posting letters, sending emails, phone calls, etc.
How do Mystery Shoppers do their work?
Mystery shoppers are given specific instructions on how they are supposed to do their work. This includes among other things:
- Visiting shops when requested by their employ
- Purchasing the service or goods using their own money which is later reimbursed by their employer.
- Interacting with employees e.g. cashiers, shop assistants, salespersons, etc. The focus is on observing their behavior, level of customer service, etc
- Taking notes of their observations during their visit.
- Filling out questionnaires about the visit.
- Taking pictures if required by their employer.
At the end of the day, the mystery shopper is usually required to produce a report of their visit or task.
How to become a mystery shopper?
Like any profession there some skills and qualifications that are required in order to be recruited. These include:
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. This works involves a lot of communication and writing during the interaction with employees such as Shop Assistants and writing reports. This is, therefore, a very important skill for any aspiring mystery shopper.
- The ability to work without supervision. Due to the nature of their work, mystery shoppers work on their own. Therefore any employer would look for candidates that can work on their own with minimal or no supervision.
- Analytical skills. There is also some analysis of the information they get by observing and interacting with employees at the place they are visiting. This skill is critical in the preparing of their reports.
- Attention to detail. The shopper must be able to observe all the things that they have been told to observe. Therefore need to be people with high attention to detail.
- Time management skills. Some of their visits are time-pressured. This, therefore, requires people who are able to do their assignments with tight deadlines.
- Honest and motivated. Honesty is a must if you are to produce objective reports. You also need to be motivated to carry out tasks that may require a lot of traveling.
Some of the best companies that engage mystery shoppers
One of the best companies that offer mystery or secret shopper jobs is Market Force. With Market Force, you get paid to eat and shop for free at your favorite brands.
Some of their clients include, fast food establishments, sit down restaurants, supermarkets, gyms, etc.
In return for your service, you get paid and also reimbursed for the purchase you make as part of your job.
One of the good things about Market Force is that they have an app that works for both Android and Apple phones.
You use this app to identify the location of shops near you and also schedule a visit and enter your report and expenses.
Another place where you can find jobs as a mystery shopper is BestMark. They represent some of the world’s biggest corporations including some Fortune and Global 500 companies.
Their clients include restaurants, retail stores, casinos, financial institutions, hotels, resorts, etc.
BestMark compensates its shoppers in the form of cash payment for shops performed, reimbursement for dollars spent, or a combination of the two.
All these are agreed before the assignment is carried out. The shoppers are paid on average after three to four weeks after the completion of the assignment.
This is done after sign off by BestMark staff. If you fail to adhere to the instructions for each assignment BestMark can withhold all or part of the compensation.
Unfortunately, BestMark does not reimburse mileage. Therefore you are better off concentrating on shops within your own area.
As a BestMark mystery shopper, you can check their website for mystery shops in your area. Once you identify the ones you want to visit you can submit a request online.
All the assessments are online so we must have an internet connection to participate in this program.
Mystery Shopping Scams.
As is usually the case with online things there are some scammers out there who want to defraud you. You, therefore, need to keep your eyes open when you receive emails or mail offering you mystery shopper jobs.
Here are some red alerts that you need to keep in mind:
- When a company requires you pay them first before they engage you.
- They ask you to transfer funds to an account as part of a mystery shopping assignment.
- They send you an unsolicited letter telling you that you have been selected to participate in a paid consumer research program. If you have not applied for any role with them, then this could be fraud.
- Require you to pay for training as a mystery shopper. If this happens then investigate it carefully otherwise this could be a scam.
Mystery shopping may not necessarily make you rich or replace your day job but it will make you extra money.
It can also be an opportunity to get things for free as you get reimbursed. As one UK supermarket slogan says, every little helps.
You, however, need to be on the lookout for scammers out there. They may defraud you of your precious resources.