If you love shopping and sharing your opinions (and who doesn’t love at least one of those things?!), getting paid to indulge in both activities would surely be a dream come true.
If you have the gift of the gab and an urge to shop, becoming a mystery shopper might be the ideal way to make a little extra income and indulge in a couple of activities that also give you pleasure.
In the present economy, with many people looking for ways to squeeze a little extra out of already stretched budgets, sites such as SO Switch offer good advice on getting the best deals for everyday purchases. Consumers expect versatility and flexibility, but they also want honesty. Mystery shopping helps to keep retailers on their toes.
What is a mystery shopper?
Mystery shoppers are ordinary people who are employed by mystery shopping agencies to visit retail outlets, restaurants, hotels and many other types of establishment that offer some kind of service in order to evaluate the level of service and sometimes the facilities that are on offer.
Companies in many different industry sectors use the services of mystery shoppers in order to evaluate how well their staff operate, whether or not guidelines our being adhered to and what areas of the business they need to address in order to improve their service.
Mystery shoppers go undercover, secretly visiting establishments in order to carry out a predetermined range of tasks. These may include complaining about a product or service, checking the cleanliness of public areas, or simply observing how staff treat members of the public. The range of jobs carried out by a mystery shopper is varied. Some retail outlets may need a personal visit, while others necessitate a phone call. Some may need to be carried out in the evening, while other shopping trips are done during the day.
Types of mystery shopper
Report-only mystery shoppers are the most common type among this secret army. They are given specific instructions and a list of things they must look out for in a retailer. Because having people realise they are mystery shoppers would defeat the object, they must work surreptitiously and be able to remember instructions without the need for taking notes.
Telephone mystery shoppers don’t visit establishments in person, but instead work strictly over the phone. They will be given the phone number of the company, along with a list of questions that a typical customer may have. Their task is to ask the questions and evaluate the responses. Postal mystery shoppers allow their home address to be used for the purpose of receiving promotional material. Their task is to return the items, after which the delivery speed and the content is evaluated.
E-mail mystery shoppers are paid to send inquiries to websites and monitor the value and speed of any response they received. Video mystery shoppers undertake slightly more complex briefs in that they must secretly record the whole mystery shopping process.
Regardless of which type of mystery shopping operation is carried out, all mystery shoppers send back a report to the employing agency upon completion of the brief.
Mystery shopping agencies
There are a dozen or more mystery shopping agencies based in the UK. If you’re interested in becoming a mystery shopper. A quick internet search should reveal many of the current agencies and you can apply online. Never be tempted to pay a fee in order to join a mystery shopping agency. They should pay you for doing the work. You should never have to pay them to join.