Good customer service is fast becoming a fading trend and companies are losing profits because dissatisfied customers spread bad news faster than satisfied customers. Just think about it. When was the last time you told your friends or family members about a store that offered average to exceptional service? Now how many times have you ranted about customer service that was really lousy?
If you’d like to change the way employees treat you and your family, you could send an unsolicited letter to the manager, or CEO of the company, and hope they take action or you could let your opinion carry more weight by becoming a professional shopper.
Professional shoppers, or mystery shoppers as they’re often referred to, get paid to shop local venues while evaluating how regular customers perceive the company… from physical appearance to customer interaction.
What you report will vary from company to company, but all reports will be written out so it’s important that your writing skills are up to par. If you weren’t an “A” student in English, don’t worry. You don’t have to be an English major to answer the online surveys; you simply need a basic understanding of the English language—including proper grammar and punctuation.
A routine mystery shop assignment will consist of finding out the name of the person who helped you, describing the overall appearance of the establishment you visited, and detailing any positive and/or negative experiences.
If you were visiting a clothing store, for example, the hiring company may want to know how many sales associates were on the floor when you entered the building and what each associate was doing. The company may also want to know if you were greeted at the door and if not, when you were approached by an employee for help. The company may further want to know where the promotional items were located in the store and if the employee helping you informed you about the promotion. Finally, the company may want you to purchase a piece of clothing with cash and report what that employee did with the cash once he/she received it.
If you were visiting a fast-food restaurant, on the other hand, the hiring company may want to know how clean the bathrooms were, if there were any flies (or other bugs) flying around the sitting area, if the employees were wearing hairnets and/or gloves when preparing the food, how hot or cold your food was when served, how your food tasted, and if you were able to get a refill on your drink when asked.
Each mystery shop assignment varies in both payment and duties, but on average, a part-time shopper could easily earn enough money to make a car payment while the more serious shopper could earn enough to make a mortage payment. And that’s not counting the reimbursements received for meals, products, or services purchased.
Mystery shopping companies are nationwide, so it doesn’t matter if you live in California or Iowa... if you have a decent size city nearby, your services will be needed. Just be careful of mystery shop scams!
Take the time to read the contracts you are signing. You should never be asked to pay an application, club, or membership fee to become a mystery shopper. And never, ever agree to deal with wire transfers or shipping products out of the country in exchange for a fee.