I’ll tell you my story on how I’ve become an MS (Mystery Shopper, also known as Service Auditor, Secret Shopper, Shopping Secret Agent, etc).
My mom is a sales lady back then (until now, though she got promoted as a fruit of her 30+ years of service :D). She sometimes share us her “store” stories, like “May nahuling shoplifter kanina “, “Nasa store kanina si KC Concepcion, nagpapicture kami ” or “May bumisita palang Myster Shopper last week, OK naman yung grade namin“.
So I’m guessing that in this part you already knew that the idea why I got curious and decided to try this “MS” thing, is because of my mom. Who wouldn’t want to eat food or drink a nice coffee or even shop for free? And go inside prestige boutiques (that you are hesitant to do when you know that you can’t afford it :p) and try their dresses, shoes or accessories and be entertained as a valued customer?
So what is a mystery shopper?
It is a person contacted or hired by a company (can be direct or indirect, through a market research firm) to visit stores as a casual customer and collect information about the following (but not limited to): the store’s products, visuals, displays, prices, regulation compliance, and services provided by their staffs.
So, how do I do it? I just searched for mystery shopping or customer experience companies ONLINE. Read reviews/feedback (of course we just want to deal with legit companies, right?) and signed-up.
I’ve sign-up to total of 6 different companies/sites and been an active to 4 out of the 6. Visited about 50 stores which includes bank, fast food, boutiques, coffee shops, gadget stores, toy store and some NGO’s for 6 years (I’ve got my first assignment on May 2011 and received my first fee which is $6.00 after 45 days directly on my Paypal account). 🙂 An extra bucks for a couple of minutes of field evaluation (usually a minimum of 10-20 minutes).
I’d enjoyed of playing some kind of a detective or spy in a shop setting :p
There are also times when you need to (voice) record a conversation between you and the sale staff without them noticing that you are actually evaluating them and their service (usually in calls). *wink*
Some scenarios I’ve done during my MS assignments:
- The “Curious” Shopper – In this scenario, I’ve been the type of shopper who’s so curious that I end up to know the whole history of the brand and the product I “posed” to buy. But in the end, I didn’t. Hehe!:D
- The “Try-and-try-until-you-succeed” shopper – I can say that I’m being persistent with the sales staff in this type of scenario. I keep trying different items (ex. garments or jewelry) and sizes to find what “suit” my taste or the receiver (whenever I alibi that the item will be given as a gift). There are times where I end up buying the product (if the assignment requires to — I can get a refund fee anyway :p), but most of the time I didn’t.
- The “Aah” shopper – In here, I build a rapport with the sales staff but most of my reply is “Aah” follow-up with a question then another “Aah” and the process continues. This usually happens for a Consultation-only type of assignment.
- The “I-can-afford-that” shopper – In this scenario, I need to act that I have the intention to buy an item no matter what the price is. (Challenging, isn’t it? hehe!) I will reach the stage of “almost-a-sale” but the transaction will be cancelled. (just imagine on how the sales staff will react :p)
Cities where I’ve done my MS Assignments:
- Manila City
- Pasay City
- Quezon City
- Makati City
- Mandaluyong City
- Pasig City
- Paranaque City
- Taguig City
- Las Pinas City
- Imus, Cavite
- GMA, Cavite
- Dasmarinas, Cavite
Can you make a living just by being a mystery shopper?
No, you can’t if you don’t have a regular assignment. And still a no, even if you have one. Base on my experience, the fee that you’ll get from doing MS is not sustainable (it may range from Php 50 to Php 1500 per assignment depending on the provider/company) and you are getting paid after 15 to 60 days after you have submitted the report. Plus those high-paying assignment doesn’t come often.
Customer Experience Company where you can sign-up online:
Home Credit (Philippines) also has some mystery shopping activities. You may inquire to them directly.
For all mystery shoppers out there, you may leave some tips and insights about mystery shopping on all readers as well.
For the readers, please feel free to ask or comment below.. 🙂
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