072 Mystery shopper, get paid to give your opinion

If you don’t have any particular talent and are looking to earn money by spending some time testing products and services, becoming a mystery shopper should probably interest you. Here we will see what exactly it consists of and how to get started in this activity easily.

What is a mystery shopper?

This rather enigmatic name left me a little perplexed the first time I discovered it in a blog article. And so I got interested in it and found that the idea had potential and was finally relevant enough to be included among the other ideas listed here on Sweekr.

So what exactly is a “mystery shopper”? It’s a person who is hired by a company to test the quality of the services and products offered in a real situation. You will have to behave like an ordinary customer, for example by visiting a store, a restaurant, a bank, a travel agency, etc.

Your task will be to observe and note various aspects such as the quality of the services offered, the cleanliness of the premises, the waiting time, the kindness of the staff, the user-friendliness of the website or the application, the efficiency of the commercial or after-sales service, etc. Note that nobody, except the person who hired you, knows your identity nor the nature of your mission (hence the name “mystery shopper”).

There are also specific missions, for which you must follow a scenario provided by the company. You will have to ask specific questions to the staff, maybe insist on certain points, or take pictures and videos… This sometimes requires a certain acting talent, but always try to play your role with finesse and sobriety.

Once you have completed your mission, you will then be asked to answer a series of questions, the answers to which will be compiled in the form of a report that the companies will then use to identify areas for improvement and thus ensure optimal service quality.

How to become a mystery shopper?

The best way to find this type of mission is to register on sites that specialize in this type of offer. There are different kinds of sites, specialized in different fields, such as restaurants, hotels, banks, retail stores, airlines, etc., and you will easily find them by typing “mystery shopper” followed by the name of your country, state, or region on Google or bing.

When you register, you will be asked to complete an application form. The information you will be asked for varies from one site to another, but generally you will be asked to indicate your name, age, contact information, shopping and consumption habits, profession… Some forms may also ask you to provide additional information, such as your interests or experience in certain areas.

Once you have submitted your application, the company will evaluate your candidacy and contact you if you are selected. And when you are, you will receive detailed instructions about the assignment you are to perform, including the date, time (sometimes this will be a time window), and location of the assignment. You will then be required to strictly follow all instructions provided to complete your mystery shopping assignment.

Note, however, that the requirements to become a mystery shopper may vary depending on the company or organization you work for. Some companies may require previous work experience or training in a particular field. Others may simply be looking for people with good observation skills and excellent communication skills.

Here are some sites listed by country, but I invite you to do your own research as well. And don’t hesitate to register on several sites to multiply your chances of being chosen.

A man uses his phone while eating in a restaurant Remember to take notes in a notebook or on your phone, to make sure you don’t forget anything.

How much does a mystery shopper earn?

The average salary of a mystery shopper varies according to the countries, the missions and the companies that propose them. In general, you can earn between 10 and 30 dollars per mission (sometimes less for very basic missions), depending on the type of mission and the time it should take you. But for some bigger missions, you could earn up to 50 or 60 dollars per mission, and sometimes even more.

But before you get too excited, you should know that this is a part-time job, and that full-time workers are rare. If you are looking for a regular and stable income, it may therefore be preferable to combine mystery shopping with another part-time or full-time job in order to guarantee yourself a decent minimum income.

Also, note that this job can be a great way to earn extra money while learning about new products and services. If you are a serious and professional person, you can have the chance to work for reputable companies and gain valuable experience in the customer experience field.

Are expenses reimbursed?

Generally, the expenses spent by the mystery shopper are reimbursed by the company they work for. This can include the cost of meals, product purchases, transportation, etc. But since reimbursement policies can vary from company to company, I recommend that you read the terms and conditions of each company before starting an assignment, and ask the company how the expenses will be reimbursed.

In most cases you will need to provide proof of purchase, such as receipts or invoices, to be reimbursed. Remember to keep all relevant receipts and submit them to the company in a timely manner.

9 tips if you want to get started

To conclude this article, here are some tips for people who want to become a mystery shopper:

  • Be professional: Behave like a normal shopper, and try to remain professional in your behavior and interactions with the employees you meet. Also keep in mind that you are there to evaluate the customer experience, not to cause problems.
  • Keep it natural: Always try to keep it natural, so you won’t be found out by the store or its staff! And above all, be careful not to overact in your role.
  • Be discreet: Mystery shoppers must keep their mission secret. Avoid at all costs revealing that you are a mystery shopper or that you are conducting an evaluation. This can distort the results of your mission and compromise your future missions.
  • Follow instructions: The instructions provided for each assignment must be followed precisely. Make sure you understand the requirements of each assignment and ask questions if anything is unclear to you.
  • Be observant: Pay attention to the smallest details and note anything that may be relevant to the evaluation of the assignment, such as employee behavior and friendliness/serviceability, condition of facilities, adherence to schedules, quality of products, timeliness of services, lighting of restrooms, etc.
  • Write accurate reports: Writing detailed reports is one of the most important tasks of mystery shopping. Write reports that clearly describe your experience, using concrete examples and specific details.
  • Remain objective: Objectivity is also a key element; even if you had a very pleasant experience, don’t forget to note the weak points as well!
  • Suggest improvements: If you have experience in sales or communication, don’t hesitate to share your ideas, at least those that could improve the service or product, in your report.
  • Be flexible: Mystery shopping assignments can take place at different times of the day and week. Be prepared to work a flexible schedule.

Conclusion

Mystery shopping can be a very interesting job, even exciting in some circumstances. If you like shopping, eating in restaurants, spending a night in a hotel, or testing various services, you will love this job!

However, the main disadvantage of this activity is that it does not allow you to make a living out of it, as it is above all a part-time job. But there are many good points, starting with the duration of a mission which can sometimes take only one hour, or even less, and there is the fact that you can accept and refuse each mission that will be proposed to you.

So, after reading this article, would you be interested in becoming a mystery shopper?

EcoTips

Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

Consider taking public transportation instead of driving. And if you need to buy a computer to write your reports, opt for an entry-level laptop, which is more than enough for this kind of task. Otherwise, a tablet or even a smartphone can do the trick. And to make it even cheaper, you can even buy it secondhand (best eco-friendly solution!).

Pros

  • The discovery of many products and services
  • A way to earn extra money
  • The possibility to work in a flexible way
  • You will gain valuable experience in customer experience
  • The choice to accept or not the missions that will be proposed to you

Cons

  • A rather irregular work
  • Relatively low pay for some assignments
  • The need to be professional and discreet so as not to arouse the suspicions of the company’s personnel
  • The risk of having to face uncomfortable or unpleasant situations during certain missions
  • The need to be able to write reports after each mission

Disclaimer, please read this Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local government before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.
Also, be aware that this post may contain affiliate links, and I may get compensated a commission at no extra cost to you if you click on the affiliate links and subsequently make a purchase. This will help maintain the site, so thank you.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments

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