Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, is a way to supplement your income by helping companies discover how they can improve customer interactions. You’ll perform “shops” and report your findings to the company you are shopping for.
Most mystery shopping is not strictly work from home as you’ll need to go to different locations to conduct the shop. If you’d rather not shop in person, check out these telephone mystery shopping options where you can complete the shop and the reporting all from home!
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is a research tool that organizations use to gather and measure aspects of the customer experience including customer service, information about products, services, and the location where business is conducted.
Organizations compile the data and use the results to help determine how they can improve customers’ experiences.
There is “mystery” or “secret” in the shopping because the shops are conducted without the knowledge of the location’s employees so that honest data is collected.
Mystery shopping is usually conducted by on-site shoppers, but it may also be done via telephone or online as well.
Companies may directly hire shoppers, but in most cases shopping is outsourced to other organizations that specialize in market research and reporting.
Who Uses Mystery Shopping?
Many organizations utilize mystery shopping. Retail clothing stores, banks, restaurants, movie theaters, car dealerships, and many other businesses use mystery shops to help them learn how to enhance their quality of service.
What Does A Mystery Shopper Do?
As a shopper you will conduct shops usually by visiting a business and making observations about items such as customer service, placement of products, cleanliness of the location, wait times, and many other details.
The companies that you work with will make you aware of what they or their clients are looking for and will provide training as well depending on the assignment.
In many cases you will be required to make a purchase in order to get the full customer experience. You will be reimbursed for the item or you may be required to return it.
When you complete the shop, you will be expected to provide a report to the company that you are contracted with, usually via an online form. The report will document your findings and may require you to make very detailed statements about your observations.
How Much Can I Make As A Shopper?
You won’t be able to replace your full-time income with mystery shopping in most cases. Most shops pay between $5 and $25, but this will vary depending on the type of shop, the information you are required to collect, and the estimated duration of the shop.
When deciding to accept an assignment you must consider the amount of time it will take for you to drive to and from the shop, spend time in the location, then write and submit your report.
Consider all the details to determine if it will be worth it for you.
You may also be provided with free or discounted items or other compensation for your shops.
What Do I Need To Become A Shopper?
You need to very organized and pay attention to details to be a shopper. You will need to remember things that you may not normally account for, such as employees’ names, wait times, and answers to specific questions. If you omit things that the client requests you may not be paid for your shop.
You do not need experience to get started as a mystery shopper, but as you gain experience, and if you perform well, you can likely expect to gain better assignments with higher pay.
How Do I Get Started?
Do not pay for a list of mystery shopping companies.
MSPA is a trade organization founded by mystery shopping business owners and is one of the best resources available as you get started.
You might also want to try this forum that seems to have a very active community of shoppers.
Do you have mystery shopping experience?