Please grab a cup of tea or joe, pull up a chair, and stay awhile. You'll be glad you did!
Serious about becoming a Mystery Shopper in the United States? Buy the shopper e-book
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, 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 eat out at fast-food restaurants, to dine at sit-down restaurants, to visit local attractions, and shop for cool things like books, clothes, and baby products while spying on employees and evaluating the company’s public appearance.
Each mystery shop assignment varies in both payment structure and duties, but on average, a part-time shopper could earn enough money to make a car payment while the more serious shopper could earn enough to make a house 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. And since mystery shopping companies rotate their shoppers so store employees don’t get suspicious and evaluations stay untainted, there’s always a need for new mystery shoppers.
Mystery shopping is a relatively easy job to perform, just go about your normal day-to-day shopping routine then report back to the company. What you report will vary from company to company, but all reports will be written out so it’s important that your English 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.
A routine mystery shop 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 buy a piece of clothing and pay with cash, and reporting back to the company what that employee did with the cash once he/she received it.
If you were visiting a fast-food restaurant for example, 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 your food, how hot or cold your food was, how your food tasted, and if you were able to get a refill on your drink when asked.
While you could start your own business, contracting yourself out to local businesses, your best bet for gaining hassle-free mystery shop jobs is to work with a company that assigns you jobs based on your geographic location.
Mystery shop assignments come in many forms: restaurants, apartment complexes, hotels, shopping malls, bookstores, financial institutions, banks, clothing stores, auto dealerships, and even auto repair shops—which shops you take are entirely up to you. The idea is to take mystery shop assignments that you feel comfortable doing because if you don’t feel comfortable, you’ll forget an important aspect of the assignment and won’t get paid.
Mystery shopping companies are everywhere, but there are also a lot of mystery shopping scams. It’s important that you really read the contracts you are signing and make sure that you never pay an application fee (or other fee) to become a mystery shopper.
Because you are providing a service to the company hiring you, that company should be paying you a fee and those fees should be discussed upfront. It’s also important that you get the terms of your assignment in writing. In other words, you want to know what you will be paid for taking on the assignment and how you will be reimbursed for the product or service you purchased.