Mystery Shopping FAQ
Mystery Shopping FAQ
Mystery Shopping FAQ

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Field Staff FAQs

If you are ready to apply please Click here


1. What is Mystery Shopping?
2. What are Exit / Intercept Surveys?
3. Is it a full-time job?
4. Do I go in disguise?
5. What talents do I need?
6. Do I get paid?
7. Is it a difficult job?
8. Am I under contract?
Why do you not have a 'jobs board' online?


What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is a method of checking service quality provided by the staff of businesses across the world. It’s the process of having people go in store to numerous outlets across the UK, experiencing the levels of customer service – ultimately reporting back to Retail Maxim on your shopping experience.

When you’re asked to visit an outlet, the resulting report will be formatted by Retail Maxim. This will recap the service level you received and illustrate if it reflects the service that the client expects from their staff. Your role will include visiting shops, cafes and other service environments posing as a real customer; experiencing the service offered by the staff and then completing a questionnaire that we provide to report on the overall service level.

The questions included in the questionnaire match the questions that the client would like to find out about their business – how they’re delivering customer service and if they’re delivering it well.

The assignments we offer aren’t difficult, yet they depend on your level of accuracy when reporting on the service. The questionnaires are designed to help you in recapping what happened and we take pride in the simplicity of our documents.

The subsequent information that’s produced from these visits is all collated and then presented to the client by Retail Maxim, giving the client the ability to use it in driving service levels.


What are Exit / Intercept Surveys?

Undertaking Exit and Intercept Survey activity will usually involve you stopping and speaking to visitors in places such as Town Centres, Shopping Centres, Retail Stores or even Car Parks. The survey questions vary depending on the client and the research objective but you will always be fully briefed about what is required.

Survey questionnaires are usually shorter than Mystery Shopping questionnaires but you will have been targeted to complete a certain (although reasonable) number of interviews within a certain time period.

Your completed questionnaires are then returned to Retail Maxim by whichever method is requested (mail, internet, e-mail) where both data and substance are extracted from them and delivered to the client.

Our clients come to us for a highly accurate service and we strive to continuously deliver this to them. Therefore, the most important thing is that you are outgoing, reliable, methodical and you enjoy engaging with people to get their opinions on various topics.


Is it a full-time job?

Most Mystery Shopping assignments will take less than an hour of your time and the number of assignments you receive may differ depending on where you live.

Survey assignments are usually much longer and undertaken in blocks of between 2 and 4 hours for each survey session. If you prove to be accurate and reliable you will be asked to undertake multiple survey sessions for any given project.

In all cases, we cannot guarantee work for those in smaller cities yet those who live and operate in the major cities may be offered more frequent assignments.


Do I go in disguise?

Where survey activity is concerned we usually ask our field staff to look smart and presentable in business attire. In some cases you may be asked to wear a branded item of clothing which will be provided to you. You will always be provided with a photographic ID badge which includes your field staff number. This MUST be worn at all times when conducting Exit or Intercept survey activity on our behalf.

Where Mystery Shopping is concerned, the main aim is to blend in. Your role as a Mystery Shopper is to act and pose as a ‘real’ customer so you get the true experience from staff in outlets. If they know you’re there to analyse their performance, you’ll receive a different experience than you would as a general shopper! Going in any form of disguise would just draw attention to yourself.

However, we may sometimes recommend a dress code to be adhered to in specific outlets. For example, you wouldn’t walk into a Builder’s Merchant wearing a suit. This is for your sake as much as the staff involved – you’re getting the true experience.

The main objective is to not look out of place and that’s all we ask.

HOWEVER, unless we tell you otherwise, all Mystery Shopping Assignments must be done by you ALONE (i.e. you must not take children / family members)


What talents do I need?

No specific educational qualifications are needed to become a member of our field team. At Retail Maxim we look for certain qualities in our candidates in order to give our clients a great level of service. These qualities include:

Internet Knowledge/Accessibility: 
It isn’t necessary for our Shoppers to be computer geniuses, nor do we require that you have your own computer. We just simply ask that you have Internet and email access to communicate with us.

When undertaking surveys you will need to be confident and outgoing. This will encourage respondents to engage with you and run through the questions you have.

Where Mystery Shopping is concerned ‘Real’ customers will behave naturally in stores, using their own likes and dislikes along with their opinions. You are, in essence, 'acting' when you’re in store, posing as a customer, monitoring the store against set criteria which the client has requested.

In all cases, the briefing we provide for each assignment will provide full details about what you will need to do. Be as confident as possible and you’ll do brilliantly!


Your accuracy in these situations is essential in delivering a truthful and honest feedback from people you are interviewing or from time you have spent in a store or venue. A high level of accuracy in your reporting always leads to good completed assignments and happy clients. The reports and data which we produce as a result of your fieldwork are used in a myriad of ways by our clients, therefore accuracy is absolutely paramount.


Being punctual and turning up on a specified date and time is requested in most cases and can be vital to the success of the assignment. It may be that the client has specifically selected a particular time for a reason; maybe due to the footfall of the location. However, not all assignments are time critical but whether it is or not will be made clear in your briefing.

Staying calm and positive

As with all experiences in life, whether it be shopping, eating in a restaurant or many other issues, parts of the activity can cause stress, however it is important to remain calm, positive and natural at all times whilst undertaking Surveys or Mystery Shopping. 

Having a good memory / being methodical

Possibly the most basic but essential quality in our Mystery Shoppers is having the ability to recap your experiences with accuracy and clarity. Memorising certain details until you have the opportunity to write them down on your notes is key. Doing this incognito when you are away from the outlet is also important.

Memory does not play such a big role when undertaking Surveys because you will be recording responses as you go. Nonetheless, as already mentioned, a methodical approach will be required to ensure the accuracy of the responses you are recording.

Access to a camera device/scanner: 

Where Mystery Shopping is concerned you will be required to upload a copy of your receipt for any purchases made and also, in some cases, a photograph as part of your completed report and you will not be able to complete your assignment without this ability.


Do I get paid?

Yes! Payment received is by assignment and payment size will vary according to the complexity of the fieldwork you have been asked to undertake. As you hold a status of a short term contractor with Retail Maxim, you of course hold the right to accept or refuse assignments as you see fit. Doing so will not harm your chances of future assignments.


Is it a difficult job?

Being a member of our field team isn’t a difficult job, yet we require you to read the briefs, questionnaires and surveys carefully before beginning your assignments, just so you know what’s expected of you and to clear up any questions you may have beforehand. Following each instruction with precision is critical.


Am I under contract?

You will be classed as a short term contractor when you undertake field work for us, so no, it’s not a contract. You are under no obligation to accept any assignments we offer to yourself that you don’t wish to do,  nor can we promise to award our field staff a specific quantity of assignments.

However, when an assignment is accepted, we expect our field staff to faithfully carry out the assignment under the terms in which it was issued and asked.

If you feel that becoming a member of our field team is something you may be interested in, click on the link below.

Complete our Application form and we will then take you through the next steps in the process of becoming part of our field team.

If you are ready to apply please Click here


Why do you not have a 'jobs board' online?

Well, call us a little 'old school' but we love to speak with and brief our field staff over the telephone about the assignments we have available so that everyone is clear on what needs to be done. On this basis, over the years, we have forged strong relationships with our team whom we both respect and value. For assignments available in your area please call our office on 01543 496900

If you are ready to apply please Click here


Thank you so much for a job well done! The whole team at Retail Maxim have been so professional and incredibly helpful, working at pace during trying times in a global pandemic. Keep up the great work!

Heart of England Co-operative

We have been working with Retail Maxim for 4 years to carry out intercept surveys across our portfolio of shopping centres. We have found them to be both extremely effective and efficient but also great value for money. The insights we gain from their bespoke surveys and accompanying analysis provides an unparalleled understanding of our visitors. Equally, the team are a pleasure to work with and we look forward to our continued collaboration with them.

Ellandi LLP

Retail Maxim were extremely easy to deal with, guiding us through the process of undertaking Exit Surveys at our Retail Park and within the local town centre. The surveys were tailored to our specific requirements with the project being turned around quickly. Great service and insight was provided and all for a very competitive price.

Investec Argo

Moor Hall Hotel and Spa have been using Retail Maxim mystery shopper services for a number of years. We receive great service at a reasonable price. Robert and his team are keen to help and assist in tailoring the questions and inspections to your specific needs and in line with what you are wanting to achieve. I can highly recommend their services.

Moor Hall Hotel & Spa (Best Western)

Trentham Shopping Village use Retail Maxim for mystery shopping and exit surveys. They are extremely efficient, proactive and their field team are professional and friendly. The reports are easy to analyse and are well-received and acted upon by our tenants. They look forward to our awards get together and really buy into the whole ethos of high customer service standards in the retail environment.

Trentham Shopping Village

Mystery Shopping FAQ
Retail Maxim's care, consistency and attention to detail have produced comprehensive, objective and valuable feedback to our retail operation.

Russell & Bromley

Since we started with Retail Maxim the service scores that we have achieved are improving across the chain wave on wave. The Retail Maxim mystery shopping programme has assisted us in improving our customer service ensuring all of our customer's receive the shopping experience they deserve.


The service Retail Maxim has provided us has been really effective and excellent value for money. We have benefited from your expertise in retail metrics and monitoring 'service levels' and 'experience', which have now been integrated into our company KPIs.

Realm Ltd

Mystery Shopping FAQ
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