Become a mystery shopper
It’s basically like being a spy - with free food...
Mystery shopping is one of those things in life that sounds too good to be true - ‘So I go out for some food, don’t have to pay for it, and I get paid?!’. Well you don’t have to take our word for it, but it IS true, and it’s a great way of making some cash without feeling like you’re working.
What is mystery shopping?
When big businesses want to test the standard of their customer service it can be tricky - as soon as one of the bosses turns up the staff are naturally going to start trying harder in order to impress. This is where mystery shoppers have the edge.
By hiring people who look like any other customer to use their company while all the time rating their experiences, the business has the opportunity to get a true idea of the customer service they provide the public.
Companies will usually pay an agency to provide mystery shoppers - so by signing up to one of these agencies you will have the opportunity to test a range of retail experiences.
What kind of things can you do?
Almost every large retailer that you come across will use mystery shoppers - from fast food chains, to department stores and even airlines. These sound great - and, let’s be honest, a free flight is pretty cool - but it’s important to remember that you’re doing a job. At all times you must be keeping a mental note of your experiences so that you can pass on all the important information.
Assignment length depends largely on what the job is - some are one-offs and take less than an hour, others are almost full-time.
Again this depends on what the job is and how long it takes - though rates can vary if you take on an assignment that requires specific experience that you have. You will be told how much you will be paid for a job when you get the e-mail asking whether you are available. On top of the wage, expenses are almost always covered - for instance if you’re testing out a restaurant you will be reimbursed for the price of the meal.
There is, unfortunately, no guarantee regarding how frequently jobs arise - some months there may be many, others there may be next to none. It almost certainly isn’t possible to make a living from mystery shopping alone - however it is a very good way of making a bit of extra cash (and having fun in the process).
Some sites offer web-based training which, if completed, will result in you being given priority in terms of being offered assignments in your area. Other than that no formal qualifications are required - though an ideal mystery shopper has a good memory as well as impressive observational and writing skills.
Occasionally, if there is any important information you need to be aware of, you will be contacted by the company you will be testing before you start the job.
How to become a mystery shopper
Simply visit the websites of the agencies that offer the service and fill in the online application forms. The most popular sites are mystery-shoppers.co.uk and retaileyes.co.uk. Once you have signed up simply wait for them to contact you - and don’t worry, if for whatever reason you cannot accept an assignment you will have the opportunity to decline.