Mystery Shopping

What is mystery shopping?

Businesses and companies are interested in knowing what their customers/clients think of their services and products. This is to help them right what may be wrong and improve customer service and productivity. To obtain this crucial data from a non-biased viewpoint they hire Mystery Shopping agencies. These agencies are experienced market researchers who gather the information on their behalf, which they do by hiring mystery shoppers. And this is where you come in. As a Mystery Shopper, you will pose as a regular customer but will actually be collecting essential data set by the client and briefed to you via a questionnaire from your agency. Mystery Shopping companies are always on the lookout for trustworthy and reliable people to carry out assignments for them. Assignments vary from restaurants to shops, banks to fitness centres, electrical shops to supermarkets, pubs to hairdressers – the list is endless.

Sounds like fun? It is but it’s no joke, mystery shopping is a serious Business and your reports are vital material, so you’ve got to be committed and be able to complete each job as specified on your worksheet by your agency and deliver it on schedule.

What qualifications or skills do I need?

You don’t need any particular qualifications to become a mystery shopper. Basically, anyone can do it, any age, and any background. However, you must be reliable, observant, have a good memory and be able to give an accurate, unbiased view of your findings. The job also requires discretion because in a way you are like an undercover reporter, therefore at no time must you reveal that you are a mystery shopper during an assignment or share any of the information that you collect with a third-party.

How much money can I earn?

Mystery shopping companies pay between £4.00 – £20.00 per job, averaging at around £7.00. Some jobs pay more, some a little less. Costs incurred during a visit, i.e. buying food, drink or shopping will be reimbursed and some companies pay travelling expenses too. You won’t get rich from mystery shopping but you will earn some extra cash and a host of freebies in the process including food, cold drinks, hot drinks, sandwiches, groceries, magazines, petrol, hotel accommodation, fitness lessons, small electrical items, software, cd’s, DVD’s and much, much more! Payment is made either monthly or fortnightly via bank transfer.

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What is involved in a mystery shopping job?

The first step is to register with some agencies. Once accepted you will be given an assessor number that you must quote in order to enter the shopper page on an agent’s website, or quote via e-mail or telephone if need be. All agencies have their own system of distributing assignments but most of them offer jobs via their website. Assignments are on an ad/hoc basis and although some agencies notify you by e-mail when jobs become available, it is strongly advisable to check in on a regular basis to ensure you don’t miss out on all the best assignments. Once released, jobs disappear quickly! You will be notified if you have been accepted to carry out an assignment and will receive a brief detailing what is required of you together with a questionnaire – everything is explained in detail including times, dates, job description and what you need to look out for. Jobs usually take about an hour to an hour and a half to complete including travelling. If for any reason you accept a job then find that you can not complete it then you must notify the agency as soon as possible in order to give them sufficient time to reallocate it to someone else. It is best not to accept an assignment if you are unsure about whether or not you will be able to complete it because the last thing you want to do is create a feeling of unreliability with your agency. Once you build a good rapport with an agency and prove that you are a reliable assessor you will be offered more evaluations.

What to do after an assignment is completed?

After completing an assignment you are usually required to fill out an online questionnaire within a set timeframe, this is usually between 8 – 24 hours of job completion. The best thing to do is to enter your results onto the system as soon as you can while the details are still fresh in your mind. Some questionnaires are longer than others but should take no longer than fifteen minutes to complete.

A Word Of Warning

You may come across some sites that ask you for money, either to join their agency or for a list of Mystery Shopping Companies. NEVER, ever sign-up with a mystery shopping agency that asks you for money – becoming a shopper is always FREE. And please do not pay for a list of agencies, a comprehensive search on a major search engine will give you the same results. We will be adding new agencies on this site periodically. Please bookmark this page for updates.

SUMMARY

Pros

  • Flexible work
  • Choose your hours
  • Shape the future of shopping and services
  • Improve customer services
  • Give your opinion on consumer matters
  • Enjoyable assignments
  • Exciting projects
  • Freebies

Cons

  • Not guaranteed work
  • Not a regular income
  • Not very highly paid
  • Adhock work, which means you sometimes won’t have any assignments to complete