Alternate Titles: Mystery Shopper
Many stores, banks, restaurants and other businesses hire mystery shoppers to observe and measure customer service, product quality and the general environment of their establishments. Mystery shoppers make purchases and file reports on their experiences. Companies primarily advertise mystery shopping opportunities on their websites or through marketing firms’ websites. Mystery shoppers typically earn $5 to $50 per job. For most, mystery shopping provides a supplementary income and part-time job, though some mystery shoppers earn as much as $100 a day. Before you jump into a mystery shopping job, you need to learn what duties you must perform.
While most mystery shopping jobs require you to make a purchase, a key part of the shopper’s duties involves talking to employees at the store or restaurant. Shopping jobs frequently require you to ask questions about certain types of products. For example, you might ask a sales associate about the differences in the types of televisions the store sells. This information helps the shopper rate the level of customer service, which is often the area in which the company hopes to gain the most information. Companies use information about shoppers’ experiences to develop, monitor and alter their approaches to customer service.
Mystery shoppers must purchase items during their trips to businesses. They typically buy specific items or specific types of items. Mystery shoppers use their own money to make purchases, but they are reimbursed the amount they spend once they complete all of the required duties. Companies set limits on the amount that they will reimburse. Therefore, mystery shoppers must use caution and restraint when making purchases. For some big-ticket items, such as televisions, mystery shoppers do not receive reimbursement and cannot keep the items. Instead, they must return the items, for which they receive a full refund of the purchase price.
Mystery shoppers write reports about their shopping experience. Some companies require shoppers to write reports within 24 hours. Shoppers often write their reports on websites with preformatted text areas. Some companies provide digital forms for shoppers to complete using Microsoft Word or another software program. Companies often specify the number of words that mystery shoppers must write for each section of the report. In the report, shoppers include details about their shopping experiences. They often take notes while shopping and use the notes to help them write their reports.
After writing reports, mystery shoppers send the reports to the company that hired them. Some companies require you to log onto a website to write and send reports. Other companies allow you to mail, email or fax reports. In addition to reports, shoppers send copies of their receipts to ensure reimbursement for the items purchased. Companies send confirmation messages via fax or email to confirm that shoppers have completed their duties and will receive payment, which typically arrives one week to two months after they have completed their duties.
Source: The Houston Chronicle