Working as a mystery shopper

It is possible that in some point of your life you’ve been standing in a queue at a retail store next to a mystery shopper.

They’ll be hard to spot, seemingly shopping for a night out for essentials, but what they are doing is taking mental notes of the stores’ appearance, cleanliness, and service of the store.

There are roughly 50,000 mystery shopping trips carried out every month in the UK, as stated by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and as more and more spending takes place online, the demand for mystery shoppers is increasing.

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How you can improve your brand experience using mystery shopping

Ensuring that your customers are receiving a consistent experience across all channels is important for them to form a positive connection with your brand.

A great brand experience is ultimately down your customer’s satisfaction with each channel of you brand, including your website, branding, employee interaction and atmosphere but bad experience with any one of those channels has the possibility to ruin the customer’s view of your brand as a whole.

It is easier on some channels that others to control the experience the customer will have. As your website, app and marketing will be entirely under your control and are offering lots of data and feedback opportunities, you can make sure that your customers are receiving great interactions on those channels. It can be difficult, however, to keep up that same consistency in physical stores.

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How to become a mystery shopper

Companies in the market research sector hire mystery shoppers to visit retail businesses and evaluate the quality of service.

Many directories listing mystery shopping opportunities have been discovered to be scams by charging shoppers to join without providing any work.

To become a mystery shopper, it is important that you follow the below steps and do your research.

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21 Tips for Excellent Retail Customer Service

There are many challenges that come along when working in retail.

Often, it’s the distraction of these challenges that means employees lose focus on providing the best customer service they can to shoppers.

Retail Maxim, a mystery shopping company specialising in retail, has put together a list of simple tips below that can improve your retail customer service!

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Beware of mystery shopping scams

mystery shopping scams

Unfortunately, there are a lot of email scams involving Mystery Shopping assignments. There is no way to prevent these but they should be reported to your local law enforcement agency.

How to spot a scam

  • All emails from us come from addresses ending in @retail-maxim.co.uk. If someone contacts you from a different address, it isn’t us
  • Genuine companies will use a company email address. If someone contacts you from an account with Hotmail or Gmail (or similar) they are unlikely to be a genuine company
  • We only send emails to shoppers who have registered with us. If you didn’t register on our database, we won’t email you
  • We always speak to our shoppers every time that we offer them an assignment
  • We do not pay our shoppers through Western Union, and we never ask them to transfer money with Western Union
  • If you are asked to bank a cheque, it’s likely to be a scam
  • No genuine mystery shopping company would trust someone they don’t know with a large sum of money as an advance. If you are contacted and offered a large payment in advance, this is likely to be a scam
  • If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably will be. Mystery shopping does not normally pay large amounts. If you are offered £100 to conduct a basic enquiry it is very unlikely to be a genuine assignment
  • If you apply for non mystery shopping work on a job site and are then told that the vacancy is filled but there is mystery shopping work available as an alternative, this is likely to be a scam.

Here are a couple of links which give a bit more information on such scams:

http://www.safefromscams.co.uk/MysteryShopperScam.html

http://www.mysteryshoppersmanual.com/category/mystery-shopper-scam (a USA-based site but a lot of the information applies to the UK too)

In the UK, all internet scams/attempted scams should be reported to Action Fraud, the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre:  http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Pros of Becoming a Mystery Shopper

Mystery shoppers provide customer service feedback to a business while posing as customers.

A mystery shopper may be asked to visit a hotel, banks, restaurants, cinemas, shops, and other businesses to pose as a regular customer while they are taking mental notes on the location’s cleanliness, staff courtesy, and any other issues that concern the business owner.

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How Mystery Shopping Can Tell You More Than a Customer Survey

Gathering effective feedback about your business can take many forms, including conducting a customer survey.

Although customer surveys are the popular choice for many businesses, mystery shopping is proving to be the more effective option, and here’s why:

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A step-by-step guide to mapping your customer’s journey

A customer journey map is an incredible tool for understanding and improving your customers’ experience.

A good customer journey map will document your customer experience from the customer’s eyes, thus helping you understand how customers interact with you and possibly identify any areas for improvement.

However, you may have difficulty finding a standard customer journey map as there is no standard. You can, however, build it following design principles, or any other visual creations – make a work of art.

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What NOT to Do in Terms of Customer Service

We have obtained some accounts over the years from our mystery shoppers that are quite something.

We’ve listed a few of our favourites scenarios below, showing you what should NOT be done in terms of customer service!

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Become a Mystery Shopper

Are you a fan of shopping? And giving your opinion about shopping experiences? Are you older than 18? Then you are eligible to sign up to be a mystery shopper with Retail Maxim!

We are always seeking honest, unbiased, observant shoppers to join us and make anonymous store visits, and share their findings through the completion of a survey. Local businesses that you are visiting may choose to incorporate some of the feedback for quality control and staff training purposes.

When applying to become a mystery shopper, you will be asked for basic contact details, and the stores you will likely need to visit.

We’ve covered some of the FAQs on mystery shopping and share the required criteria you need to know before you apply!