Do your friends and family always accuse you of being too critical and analyzing too much? Well, lucky for you, there are jobs that require those very same keen observational skills. Many people have questioned whether there is such a job as mystery shopping. Getting paid to go shopping? Must be dream come true!
Demystifying the Job
Mystery shoppers are “undercover customers” hired by companies or individuals to complete an experience audit on their business. The shoppers visit stores, restaurants, banks, apartment complexes, and all sorts of businesses posing as customers. As part of the job, mystery shoppers simulate a real customer-like experience by asking questions, making purchases, returning items and whatever else a regular customer would do. This exercise is carried out to gather information about various elements of the customer experience. After completing the test customer experience, the mystery shopper will more than likely fill out a report on service, quality, cleanliness and any other issues.
Targeting Errors and Areas to Improve
Mystery shoppers are not merely passing judgment and giving their opinion, most of the reports are simple yes or no questions like, were you greeted within 30 seconds? Were you given a receipt?
This information can help business owners to recognize high achieving employees or determine which areas of customer service need attention and possibly training.
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
There are an estimated 2.5 million mystery shoppers working for hundreds of mystery shopping companies. Reputable companies that pass an approval process and uphold standards are members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, which have their own website.
Shoppers are usually paid by the job, depending on how simple or demanding it is. The fee also takes into how much time is required to complete the job and report. Some jobs require specialized skill, and therefore pay more. A job can pay anywhere from $10 to upwards of $100+.
A job that requires the shopper to purchase something will reimburse the cost of buying items. Some jobs such as banks and apartment complexes will not give any reimbursement because there is no required purchase.
Are There Perks?
Sure! Depends on what you have been asked to shop. You could get free haircuts, massages, dry cleaning, meals, apartment reviews, hotel stays, movie theatre tickets, or visit to an amusement park. However, you are likely to have to gain experience doing smaller jobs first before getting assigned the bigger responsibility of the larger jobs that contain freebies.
Good Extra Money
Can mystery shopping be your full-time job? Not likely, but not impossible. Most mystery shoppers do it as a part-time job to make extra money. You would have to be very organized and work with several mystery shopping companies to be able to book enough jobs to constitute a full-time career.
Interested in trying your hand at mystery shopping? Apply to several mystery shopping companies but avoid registering with any company that charges an application fee, it is usually a sign that it is not a reputable company and you might be getting scammed!