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It's No Secret: Mystery Shopping Is A Big Business

Aug 17, 2007
In this decade, mystery shopping is one of the hottest trends found in any store. In the United States alone, the industry is valued at over $600 million with no signs of slowing down. Although practically every industry enlists the services of mystery shopping, the top companies known to hire secret shoppers including retail, banking/financial, fast food and gas station/convenience store outlets.

Mystery shopping allows for individuals to pose as regular customers while they are, in fact, actually evaluating a business, product or service. Secret shoppers, also known as mystery shoppers, work on their own schedule and enjoy all of the conveniences that go along with being self-employed. In addition, secret shoppers often get to enjoy a host of products and/or services free of charge.

Although being a secret shopper can certainly be fun, much like any other job, the work is very serious. The goal of mystery shopping is to provide an unbiased evaluation regarding a company's customer service, product quality and/or availability and overall shopping experience. Generally, businesses use mystery shopping reports as a way of improving their company.

If you are searching for a mystery shopping job, it's a good idea to work with more than one company. This is especially true if you hope to receive a steady workflow. When you sign up with a mystery shopping company, you may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and/or permit the company to perform a background check.

When you receive an assignment as a secret shopper, you will be given a set of guidelines to follow during your evaluation. In most cases, you will also be given a questionnaire to complete that will serve as your evaluation. Most questions require standard, one word answers. Others, however, may require that you elaborate on a certain experience or explain your take on one or more business policies.

If you plan to make mystery shopping either a part or full-time career, you will need to act professionally, uphold every aspect of any/all contracts, remain motivated to work hard and take pride in each evaluation. Every secret shopper needs to possess an eye for detail, which means you will notice even the smallest of points that others may overlook. Because your evaluation will be in written form, you must also have the ability to write clearly and effectively.

Mystery shopping is one of the best and most effective ways for companies to learn what works and what does not. If you have ever walked into a store and noticed a comment box, then you have already experienced a company who values opinions and is looking for ways to improve the overall experience of their customers. A secret shopper is the live version of a comment box and, in exchange for financial compensation, will produce a well-written evaluation that can be used to improve every aspect of a business. Although they work in secret, there really is no mystery as to why every industry values the work of a secret shopper and the valuable information that only they can provide.
About the Author
Brian Dolezal is a contributing editor for TopConsumerReviews.com, a leading provider of independent reviews and rankings for hundreds of consumer products. You can find out how top mystery shopping programs compare by visiting TopConsumerReviews.com today.
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