Can You Tell Good Service From Bad; Recognise Value For Money; Compare Prices, Staff Efficiency, Product Range, Customer Service Between Rival Firms?
If so you might easily find work as a 'Mystery Shopper' and be paid to comment on service in shops, banks and building societies, hotels, cinemas, veterinary surgeries, restaurants, even on long distance flights and holidays.
Poor service is the number one reason customers turn their back on a business and start shopping elsewhere. Worse still, one dissatisfied customer tells on average sixteen more people about their experience, meaning even greater loss of customers and profits for business owners.
Even taking too long to answer the telephone or replenish the shelves, inadequate parking facilities, crowded toilets and poor staff-customer relations can alienate customers quickly.
No company can afford to be complacent or fail to check its own operating standards for long.
Companies need to know how they are perceived by customers and if rival firms are setting higher standards and attracting custom from them. Hence the need for regular checks to be made on all aspects of the business from product range and quality of choice, to staff attitudes, customer care, after sales service, and so on.
But there's no easy way for firms to investigate themselves.
Staff who know they are being watched work harder, giving a false impression or, worse still, they consider their employers are spying on them, intent on catching them out and threatening dismissal.
So, mystery shoppers go undetected into a business, seeing things as they really are, through the eyes of people who really matter - customers! What they see and the service they receive will not be affected by who they are and what influence they have over staff!
As one leading mystery shopping agency puts it:
"Mystery shoppers serve as the eyes and ears of clients in retail and service outlets."
As competition grows, especially in a recession, and pressure increases on companies to maintain or better still improve their own market share, more and more openings will appear for mystery shoppers in all areas of commerce, including banks and building societies, shops and supermarkets, hotels and garages, and more.
So a cinema wanting to improve attendance figures might hire regular cinema-goers to view the same film at all local outlets to investigate prices, noise levels, staff efficiency, car parking, toilets and amenities, and so on.
People of all ages can apply to become mystery shoppers, even children with their parents' consent. Special opportunities exist for representatives of particular groups, such as the elderly, disabled, housebound, or of specific ethnic or religious persuasion. You can even be a mystery shopper working entirely by telephone or on the Internet, without ever leaving home and still claim a handsome fee and valuable freebie incentives.
Not All 'Shopping' Involves Buying Something
For example, you might be asked to telephone a company service hotline, posing as a customer with a problem to see how well your case is handled and how long it takes.
The manager of a high street supermarket might commission you to stand outside another firm's store to count the number of customers entering the premises and determine which are the busiest times, what complimentary transport is offered, how many packages are carried out, whether staff help customers to their vehicles, and so on.
Most tasks are simple and quick and involve little more than shopping, making a mental note of the event, and later submitting a written or telephone report to the employing company.
Marguerite Hegley who was instrumental in writing Get Paid to Shop has several years experience as a mystery shopper.
"I first mystery shopped a supermarket. It was a lot of fun being asked to spend a specific sum of money on goods which I kept, and I also received expenses and a tidy fee for my work.
The pubs were fun too and I was asked to order a meal and a drink in some and just a drink in others. The eight pubs I had to visit over a ten day period were in a twelve mile radius of my home.
I particularly liked working with a chemist chain, checking their photo service and make-up counters. The girl on the make-up counter gave me some good advice about my skin type and a useful range of freebies testers which I am still using three months later. And I got paid of course!"
No Better Time to Become a Mystery Shopper ?.. No Better Time to Start Your Own Mystery Shopping Business
The business is pretty new in most countries but catching on fast, and as talk of recession grows opportunities will grow for people to work as mystery shoppers for established hiring companies or even start their own business in this fascinating field.
Avril Harper is the author of Get Paid to Shop and The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Mystery Shopping Business www.castleedenbooks.com
About The Author
Avril Harper is a UK writer specialising in business opportunities. This article may be freely distributed or used on and off the Internet as long as no changes are made. More articles and free-to-distribute books and reports are available at: www.articlefactory.com; firstname.lastname@example.org