Unsung Heroes…Who Will Answer the Call
Sometimes I think JFK’s famous quote should have gone like this; “Ask not what the store can do for you, but what you can do for the store.” I know what you’re thinking. “This guy is crazy.” And you are probably right, but stores and restaurants are in competition with each other every day for your hard earned dollar. They spend tons of money on advertising, promotions, giveaways, and more in an effort to get you in the door and that is where the real work begins. They know that if you do not have a good experience, you will not only take your business elsewhere, but you will tell everyone you know and encourage them to go elsewhere.
So back to my earlier question, what have you done for them lately? Businesses are not perfect and need help to stay on track. This is where mystery shopping comes in. As a mystery shopper, you are on the front lines of the customer service industry. The information you provide is vital in helping stores improve and helping your fellow consumer get more for his/her dollar.
Whether you are new to mystery shopping or have been doing it for awhile, know that what you do is important. We need you! You are the unsung heroes of customer service! Encourage your friends and family to sign up to be mystery shoppers. The more mystery shoppers, the better customer service will be in all your favorite places.
Communication is Key
As a mystery shopper, there are going to be times when you plan on doing your shop, you really do, and then something goes wrong. You get behind at work, you are stopped in a traffic jam, or you just absolutely forgot to complete the shop you were assigned to. Accidents happen! Now the question is: What are you going to do next in this situation?
The best choice is to contact your Scheduler as soon as you realize you didn’t complete the shop. If your Scheduler calls or emails you, respond as quickly as possible. We understand that situations come up every once and awhile and there are times when you may need a little bit more time. Extensions are not always granted and definitely not encouraged; however, the sooner we know you cannot do the shop, the quicker we can find a replacement shopper. Being forthright is always better than ignoring the past due emails, the missed phone calls and the guilty feeling in your stomach.
We want you to get paid for the work you do and we also want to please our Clients with turning our reports in on time. Communication is key and working together will always benefit us BOTH in the long run.
Pop Goes Perfection: Writing A Perfect Mystery Shop Report
Are you tired of receiving scores of 7, 8 or 9 on your mystery shopping reports? Are you ready to get a perfect 10? Here are a few helpful hints as you chase perfection.
The longer a proofreader spends editing your report, the lower your grade will be. Follow these four simple pointers, and you should see your report grades rise!
Spelling: Use our Spell Check feature. This is in every mystery shopping report. When you click the Spell Check, a new window will pop up and show you any spelling errors. If you submit a report without using Spell Check, our proofreaders will have to correct any spelling errors. The longer a proofreader spends editing your report, the lower your grade will be. Another possibility is to type your answers in a word processing program with a built-in spelling/grammar checker, and copying your responses into your report.
Grammar Errors: I suggest reading your report out loud before submitting it. This will help you find errors you didn't realize were there. Keep in mind, just because you say something in everyday speech, does not mean it is grammatically correct. There are countless websites with grammar guidelines as well as tools within your word processing software.
Overly Opinionated Comments: Your mystery shopping reports should be filled with facts; not opinions. We want an objective perspective. If you are not specifically asked for your opinion, only enter the facts.
Support your answers: You will likely answer multiple choice and yes/no questions and then be asked for supporting comments. Be sure to both detail your experience and provide details as to why you answered the way you did.
Follow the four simple pointers above and you are well on your way to earning tens on your reports, which increases your shopper rating, which can translate to more shopping assignments!
How To E-mail A Scheduler
There are dozens of reasons you may need to contact a Scheduler for a mystery shopping company like IntelliShop. But as a Scheduler is receiving hundreds of e-mails per day, your best course of action to ensure a timely and adequate response is to follow a few simple rules.
As technology evolves, and we have the ability to communicate almost instantaneously from all corners of the planet, it becomes easier to forget about the basics of professional business communication.
As a mystery shopper, you are an independent contractor and may be competing against hundreds of other people for the same mystery shopping assignment. Thusly, the way in which you present (or “market”) yourself could not be more important. The best way to accomplish this is through proper business e-mail etiquette and formatting. Here are few helpful tips to make emails to your Scheduler better:
1. Include the name of the project you are talking about in the subject line.
2. Address your Scheduler using a Salutation.
3. Make sure the location (City, State) is clearly stated in your email.
4. Do not write a novel. Short and sweet is the best way to get your point across.
5. ALWAYS use proper grammar and spelling.
6. Use a Complimentary Closing.
7. Use an email signature to include at minimum your name and phone number.
Turn Your Car Into A Mystery Machine!
If you’re like me, you know how to get around and get what you need without straying too far from your home or work. There are several cities and towns around my home that I just never visit. Even if I were offered financial incentive, I just may not see the point in altering my driving routines.
Mystery shoppers are often faced with the price-of-gas dilemma when searching for shopping opportunities. “Is it worth what this assignment pays to drive all the way there and back?” Sometimes the math just doesn’t work. But with a small amount of effort, you can oftentimes fill your wallet and your gas tank in one afternoon.
When looking for assignments on a job board – most mystery shopping companies have one, ours is here – try searching for shops throughout your state. Instead of dismissing many of them as simply too far away, create a mental route with several shop stops along the way. A city that is further than you would travel for one assignment may have several opportunities for you. You can also use JobSlinger to find mystery shopping assignments in one centralized area from many job boards at once. Make it worth your while by picking up several shops that you can do on the same day. You might find that if you travel 40 miles away, you can do five or six shops and easily pay for your mileage and then some!
Not only will you have an opportunity to objectively critique customer service in new areas, but you may find that you feel like you wield great power. One mystery shopper told me, “Sometimes I feel like a superhero. Both because of the secrecy and because occasionally – just occasionally – I have moments of brilliance or of secret success.”
Another way to make the most of your travel time is to bring a spouse, family member, or friend. Your passenger can even read you the guidelines for the shop(s) you’re about to do. Many assignments specify that the mystery shopper must be alone, but your guest can do some shopping or run an errand elsewhere while you don your superhero mystery shopping tights.
Remember, Superman must travel great lengths to make the world a better place, but he doesn’t have a sidekick and he doesn’t even get paid.