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August 2019
5 Min read

Mystery shopping for beginners

Irina Yaroshenko

International Sales Manager +4314120126

4/5 - (1 vote)

Mystery shopping, or secret shopping, is a service which checks the quality of customer service offered in establishments by using mystery shoppers. The results of the mystery visits are then reported to the business and are used as a base to improve the quality of customer service.

How does mystery shopping work?
It is simple. The company’s management team hires a mystery shopping company to assess their business, and the mystery shopping company sends mystery shoppers in to assess the quality of customer service.
Before mystery shoppers visit an establishment, they receive a list containing things they should look for during their visit. These things can be:

  • How long did it take before you were greeted by a member of staff?
  • The cleanliness of the establishment
  • The speed of service
  • Did the company/employee comply with service/company standards (dress code, signboards, greetings)?
  • What services were offered?
  • The names and a description of employees.
    After the visit has been completed, the mystery shopper then writes up their findings and gives an evaluation of the establishment and submits the receipts or invoices for costs incurred.
    Payment is then usually made between 1 to 8 weeks after the visit has been conducted.

Which industries use mystery shopping services most often?

  • Catering companies
  • Hotels
  • Retailers
  • Grocery stores
  • Cinemas
  • Automotive companies
  • Petrol stations

How to become a mystery shopper and start making visits?
If you are just starting out as a mystery shopper, Scheduling Worldwide is a great way to begin as we cooperate with reputable and well-known companies. Becoming a mystery shopper with Scheduling Worldwide gives you the chance to make interesting visits to various industry branches. Your career as a mystery shopper begins with one simple step: registration. After registration, Scheduling Worldwide’s managers will contact you and send you a list of available secret visits in your area.
In order to apply to become a mystery shopper, you can also use the company’s list on the MSPA website. The list contains only legitimate mystery shopping companies.
In order to avoid scammers, it is important that you only collaborate with members of MSPA.

How to avoid mystery shopping scams?
As the mystery shopping sphere grows, there is an increasing number of illegitimate mystery shopping companies. In order to avoid scams, pay attention to the following rules and avoid companies that:
Require any form of payment – payment is not required to become a mystery shopper
Advertise their services in printed newspapers or through spam emails
Require a certificate to prove that you are a mystery shopper;
Guarantee the constant availability of mystery shopping assignments or a fixed income.

For greater protection, cooperate only with members of MSPA.

What is the typical task of a mystery shopper?
Each task given to mystery shoppers may differ but most tasks require the mystery shopper to visit a particular establishment at a specific day and time. They also need to check to evaluate how the services of the establishment are provided, ask certain questions and record the answers, as well as pay attention to the cleanliness of the establishment, the location of signboards, products and price tags. Mystery shoppers may also be asked to try a dish in a restaurant or a café, take a photo of a product or to record a conversation with an employee.

Payment for mystery shoppers:
The payment for each job varies. On average, mystery shoppers can earn between 10 and 30 euros and may also receive a free lunch in a restaurant or café.

What qualities make a good mystery shopper?

  • attention to details
  • good memory
  • ability to evaluate objectively
  • ability to quickly check and send reports

Some tips:
In order to increase your chances of becoming a mystery shopper, send your application to several mystery shopping companies to get more assignments.
Check the availability of tasks often as the best tasks are often competitive.

If you are not sure whether you will be able to complete the visit, it is better that you do not accept it, as the company may refuse to work with you in the future.
If you accept a last-minute visit, it will improve your relationship with the company.
Before you go to the location, read the instructions provided to you several times to make sure that you do not miss anything.

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