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The World of Mystery Shopping

Aug 17, 2007
There are thousands of individual firms, shopping malls, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, and other sales and customer oriented outfit out there. All of them competing for customer's attention and patronage. All vying for top of mind recall in becoming the shoppers' choice.

One of the strategies that became possible in order for these companies to stay in competition shape is to find out what is happening inside their establishments from a customer's point of view.

This gave birth to the mystery shopper.

Mystery shoppers, sometimes referred to as a secret shopper or a spotter are people hired by companies to shop in their stores. After undergoing trainings that will focus mainly on things that are to be observed, mystery shoppers are assigned to serve three main purposes.

1.To evaluate and observe how the staff assigned in shops carry out assigned functions.

At the start of assignments, secret shoppers are briefed on matters that they are expected to "spot". Mainly, the issues are derived from the concerns of the business owners that want to:

- Improve customer relationship.
- Improve servicing.
- Update owners and managers on the manner that functions and tasks are carried out according to plans.
- Courtesy and discipline of employees.
- Honesty and integrity.
- Observance to other issues of concern.

2.And to evaluate and observe the store's operation.

Another task of the mystery shopper is to observe and evaluate the operation of the store that includes:
The cleanliness and orderliness of the account.
Ease of shopping and traffic management.
Visibility, availability and pricing issues.
Merchandising updates.
Mainly however, secret shoppers give this observation from a shopper's vantage point.

3.Filing of reports.

Reports to be filed are often in the form of checklists that the secret shopper fills out.

The mystery shopper does all of these without inviting recognition. In fact, secret shoppers, before given assignments signs agreements where reports and everything written on it are not to be disclosed.

To become a mystery shopper, one need to apply and register with a mystery shopper company, which are commonly available online. Registration is free which comes with manuals and training needed.

Earning is also good for mystery shoppers.

Since different companies require different level of service, the companies pay different rates. For example, a simple assignment on a salon that would take a couple of hours (even minutes) could pay more or less $10 while a more complicated job like shopping would rate $25. For starters, some companies offer $5 per work but will increase, as the mystery shopper gets better at the work. For more the more experienced, a day of shopping would fetch about $100.

Conditions and requirements are also easy. But because reports are the main turf of mystery shoppers, the main issues for a mystery shopper not to make the grade is when reports are not submitted on time or are incomplete

Mystery shoppers, also enjoys perks that are usually not available to regular employees. Mystery shoppers are reimbursed on items that were shopped (usually upon presentation together with the reports), they dine, watch the latest movie, fix their cars, and have their hair done. All for free. Mystery shopping services also covers cruise liners, department store, fitness centers or health clubs, casino, service centers, salons, banks, homebuilders, amusement centers and parks, and more. The mystery shopper enjoys them all while getting paid.
About the Author
Joseph Then operates Mystery Shopper website that provides Mystery Shopper jobs for the members. You can visit the website at http://www.MysteryShopperResource.com
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