Mystery shopping is a prospering business and more and more companies are relying on the shoppers’ anonymous feedback to determine how they can improve customer service.
In an article titled “Spies like us; Mystery shoppers keep eye on customer service” (The Washington Times, July 2004) we can learn that mystery shopping has become a “critical marketing tool” used by companies to develop customer loyalty:
“Consumers have more choices than ever before. The smart companies realize they can compete by creating an optimized customer experience.
More companies are relying on the shoppers’ anonymous feedback to determine how they can improve customer service, which plays an important role in business transactions.
‘If the customer has had a bad experience, they’re going to go somewhere else,’ said Jeff Marr, vice president of Walker Information, which provides research on customer loyalty.
‘When it comes to retailing, you’re only as good as your last interaction.’
The mystery shopping industry has grown over the past decade as more companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies – have tried to focus more heavily on customer service, officials say. Companies such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Home Depot, Kinko’s and Giant Food are just a handful of the companies that use mystery shoppers.
The industry has expanded from typical service-oriented clients – such as restaurants, retailers and hotels – to industries like banks, insurance companies, car dealerships, funeral homes and apartment buildings.
“This is a critical marketing tool,” said Jeff Hall, who is chief executive of a mystery shopping company in Michigan. “Companies need to connect with their customers – not just with a fake smile.”
“Mystery shopping is nothing more than receiving feedback from anonymous customers,” said Paige Hall, president and chief executive officer of a mystery shopping company in Atlanta.
It is estimated that between 600,000 to 700,000 active mystery shoppers – also known as secret shoppers – are in the United States.
In this same article we read the story of Max Jakeman, a secret shopper working at it in his spare time. His story can be yours:
“Max Jakeman is an undercover agent – for a pizza chain. He also has spied on fast-food chains, upscale restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys and golf courses.
The Alexandria resident is one of the thousands of mystery shoppers who get paid to give feedback on their overall customer experience…
Mr. Jakeman, who is in the Army, mystery shops between three and four times a week, usually on weekends and evenings. He calls his answering machine at home and leaves notes about his experience so he doesn’t forget details before he has to write the report.
Mr. Jakeman thinks his job helps make a difference.
“I’m a consumer and I’ve been places where I’ve been treated badly,” Mr. Jakeman said. “With mystery shopping you feel like you’re making an impact.”
The shoppers get paid different amounts for their work, depending on the industry and degree of difficulty. For instance, grocery stores pay $10 to $25, movie theaters pay $10 to $50 and florists pay $45 to $100 per assignment.
Mr. Jakeman brings home $300 to $400 a month in cash, in addition to about $1,000 in perks including free movies, free oil changes, free pizza and free rounds of golf.”
Industry experts say “a full-time mystery shopper who works 40 hours a week can make about $40,000 a year.”
The Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal (see the former issue of the Get Paid Coach) and other newspapers publish articles on mystery shopping because it’s a growing business and hundred of thousands of people make top dollars to shop and have fun.
Would you like to bring home $300 to $400 a month in cash, in addition to about $1,000 in perks just for shopping between three to four times a week like Max Jakeman?
Would you prefer to work at it full time and make $40,000 a year?
Mystery shoppers are needed all the time and there are jobs all over the US and Canada but also in Australia and UK.
The best way to go is to subscribe to a professional resource for secret shopper jobs. You will get a step-by-step guide on how to get started successfully (a must for new shoppers) AND you’ll have access to an extensive database of shopping jobs in your country and in your state.