Sunday, October 4, 2009

What is a Mystery Shopper?

Mystery shopping is a valuable and important part of any company where service and hospitality are detrimental to the success of the business. Mystery shoppers also known as Secret shoppers or Ghost shoppers are professional shoppers hired by service providers like retail stores, super markets, restaurants, movie theaters, banks, hotels, casinos, airports, amusement parks, airports, auto dealerships, housing communities and more who anonymously interact with employees to assess customer service performance and other facility and product issues.

Most mystery shopping jobs pay $10.00- $80.00 per assignment plus fringe benefits. Beginner mystery shoppers can expect to be paid minimum hourly wages, or roughly $8/hr. The longer you are a mystery shopper, the more complex assignments you can accept. Some seasoned mystery shopper make upto $25.00 per hour. Professional undercover shoppers can make $35,000-$75,000 a year.

What do Mystery Shoppers do? They evaluate customer service and sales techniques. Many companies evaluate employees on product knowledge and employee integrity. Mystery shoppers may have to assess the quality of a product as well note how employees adhere to policies and procedures. A shopper may have to record a facility's cleanliness. There are many different reasons a company may hire a mystery shopper.

A mystery shopper may have an assignment as a comparison shopper. These shoppers travel to the competitor's location to provide information such as pricing, service and performance levels of the competition. This can be a great way to help a business improve their business.

Mystery shoppers don't always go to a store or facility. Sometimes the assignment may be to make a mystery call. Mystery calls are used primarily to evaluate employees telephone sales techniques and customer service, including speech, grammar, salesmanship and enthusiasm. Where legal, taped conversations are available to the clients for review and employee consultation/training.

Customer Service Satisfaction Surveys are a form of mystery shopping as well. A mystery shopper would request your customer's perspective on your service levels, products or services by telephoning and/or mailing them a brief survey requesting their feedback on issues that are key to you. These surveys can also be done by using our online survey system via the internet.

As you can see there are many different ways to be a mystery shopper. When choosing a company to work for, look for companies that they are certified by the MSPA. The MSPA (Mystery Shoppers Providers Association) is the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources. Most are reputable companies but not all are certified.

Most mystery shopping jobs require you to be at least 18 years of age but most want you to be at least 21. Most mystery shopping positions don't require experience but do want individuals with a keen eye, who are extremely conscientious and responsible in honoring their commitments. A successful mystery shopper will be able to meet deadlines, follow detailed instructions and write fact-based reports to provide our clients with actionable data. Remember for the most part, mystery shopper jobs are assignments so you will want to belong to many companies in order to have assignments on a regular basis.