Mystery shopper job summary
Mystery shopper jobs in Britain and Northern Ireland involve taking on the role of an undercover consumer. Mystery shoppers undergo a normal customer’s experience and report their feedback to an agency. In this job you need to analyse the quality, usefulness and depth of experience staff have given to you as a customer.The feedback is given through a set and structured questionnaire report (much like with paid surveys). You should fill the information in honestly, and with a good deal of depth in line with the set criteria. Getting used to the questions that research agencies ask allows shoppers to analyse their experience in a consistent mindset.Typical locations that you will be asked to analyse are retail shops, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and even holiday locations.
There are certain skills and qualities that individuals need to become a mystery shopper. A lot of the jobs are targeted towards students and teenagers. However there is a good deal of assignments for older shoppers as well.
Job requirements depend on the client; because some retail establishments will naturally be targeted towards younger or older clientele. One of the main things you will need to possess is the ability to objectively critique your experiences. This means going into companies with a completely open mindset; even if you have had a consistently positive or negative experience with them before.
Remember that you are judging your own experience on the day of your assignment. You’re also going to need to have an accurate memory. Obviously you are not allowed to make notes during your shopping experience. You have to act exactly like any other customer would. This means that you’re going to have to remember as much as you can and write up your report from that.
Finally you are going to have to have strong written English skills. Having a clear grasp of grammar, spelling and sentence structure are essential. Producing well written mystery shopping reports will help agencies gain clear and comprehensive information.
Mystery shopping pay rates
The pay rate for mystery shopping will vary from job to job. This will be affected by a number of different factors that include the market size, availability of applicants, location of the task and the value of the included expenses. With each mystery shopping opportunity there is usually an included (paid for) product or service. For example if you were assigned to buy alcohol from a supermarket, in addition to your earnings you would get to keep the goods you bought. You are given an expenditure budget by the mystery shopping agency; they either give you this money up front or reimburse your expenses afterwards.
Most mystery shopper vacancies/assignments only take 15-20 minutes to complete as they are in a retail environment. Your pay is on a per job basis; there is no hourly contract between you and the agencies. Pay will typically start at £12-15 per task plus your expenses. This works out at around £48-60 per hour; which is fantastic money seen as how you are shopping or undergoing a service experience.
Mystery shopping is very much a lifestyle job. It does not take up much of your time, you are engaging in leisure activities, you get free stuff and it pays well. Although the work is not daily or full time it can line your pockets nicely. There are few jobs that are as genuinely enjoyable as this one. In addition you can do it when the time suits you and even be with your friends and family whilst working.
Getting promoted and working your way up the ladder
At first it may not seem like there is much room for promotion in the mystery shopper world. That is largely true; but you do gain valuable insights into market research and qualitative data collection. This can give you useful skills if you are to apply for jobs overseeing market research projects. It is always helpful to have firsthand experience of data collection and analysis.
UK mystery shopping agencies
The following websites offer you free access to mystery shopper jobs.
What’s the chance of getting work in this industry?
The job market for mystery shopping is fairly steady. Although physical retail is becoming less of an inclusion in our shopping habits the focus on customer service isn’t. In fact evidence is showing that providing a unique/engaging customer experience is what is keeping the high street going. Therefore retailers need comprehensive data on how their staff are doing. Mystery shoppers are vital to keeping the high street strong and offering value to customers.
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