General Mystery Shopping Info
- What is Mystery Shopping?
- Mystery Shopping: It's a business!
- What to expect when you become a mystery shopper for CRG Mystery Shopping
- What We Expect From You-Our Mystery Shoppers
- Pay, compensation and payment terms and conditions
- Shoppers Beware
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery Shopping is a research method used to observe and evaluate various components of a business. A mystery shopper documents the customer experience and uses the business' standards and expectations as the metric for evaluation. It is meant to be an independent and objective means of gathering information from the customer's perspective.
A mystery shopper poses as an ordinary customer and undertakes the same type of activity as any regular customer and in the same type of circumstances. The information obtained during a mystery shop is then recorded and reported. Afterward, an analysis of the various aspects of the information collected during the mystery shop will contribute to a company's market research and assist them in identifying areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.
Mystery Shopping: It's a business!
Many people think of mystery shopping as a fun and exciting way to earn some extra money. While this may be true, it is still a business. When considering a mystery shopping assignment, understand that someone (a client) has spent money by commissioning us to acquire certain information. The mystery shop is the tool through which they have chosen to retrieve that information. This is why one must approach each mystery shopping assignment as a serious and professional endeavour. The results of your completed report may actually effect change!
What to expect when you become a mystery shopper for CRG Mystery Shopping
CRG Mystery Shopping mystery shoppers are independent contractors that can accept or decline various opportunities as they become available. Shoppers are not obligated to accept opportunities nor are they guaranteed to be chosen for any particular assignment. Once you read and respond to a mystery shopping opportunity (an opportunity is usually an e-mail notification sent to you), staff at CRG Mystery Shopping will make the final decision as to whether or not you will actually be selected as the shopper associated with that assignment.
Shoppers chosen for a particular assignment will receive an e-mail notification that acknowledges that they have indeed been chosen for the assignment. This e-mail will contain additional instructions/information related to the assignment and how to proceed. Shoppers are required to read all assignment e-mails in their entirety as they may contain instructions/information that, if not read and understood, could result in the mystery shop being invalid. Shoppers may not receive payment for any invalid reports.
Our mystery shoppers are encouraged to call/e-mail if they have any questions that would clarify any information about a particular assignment.
Once a mystery shopping assignment has been carried out, shoppers are required to fill in a report related to that specific assignment. Mystery shoppers must access our on-line reporting system via our Existing Shoppers page to access the report. Shoppers are required to log in, fill in the report, and then submit the report. Reports for the associated mystery shop must be submitted within the designated time frame. Shoppers will be required to access the on-line reporting system before carrying out the assignment in order to obtain a copy of the report and download shop instructions directly from the report.
What We Expect From You-Our Mystery Shoppers
In order for us to function in a professional and consistent manner, we require professionalism and consistency from all of our mystery shoppers. The following outlines some qualities that will help meet these expectations.
Reading and Communication
Much time is spent preparing instructions and supporting information. Reading all of the documentation (opportunity e-mails, assignment e-mails, instructions and report forms) associated with a mystery shop will help ensure that your assignment is carried out the way it is intended. Pay attention to times, dates and scenarios - these are some aspects that could be relevant to your assignment. Instructions are purposefully specific. Any deviation from the instructions may invalidate your report.
If you have any questions or require a clarification about the instructions or assignment, it is important that you express your question to the coordinator or manager associated with your assignment. A CRG Mystery Shopping contact name and number is always provided in your assignment documentation. A simple call or e-mail could help to clarify any issues that are of concern. This type of communication helps to guarantee the quality and validity of the assignment.
In addition, part of good communication is ensuring that proper grammar, spelling and sentence structure is used when filling in any comment sections you encounter in report forms. The use of language short cuts, abbreviations and chat room type of language and/or acronyms is unacceptable.
Discretion and Anonymity
Keep the mystery in Mystery Shopper.
We expect that our shoppers will be discreet about the assignments they accept and adhere to any explicit or implied notion of confidentiality. Mystery shoppers should never state that they are mystery shoppers unless otherwise instructed to do so. Blending in with the business' customers and remaining anonymous are key factors in being a mystery shopper. Also, one should never disclose the results of a mystery shop with anyone other than an employee of the CRG Mystery Shopping.
In keeping with the required tone of discretion and anonymity, shoppers must not accept assignments with which they have a conflict of interest. Current or former employees of a business being "shopped," for example, would have to disqualify themselves from participating in that particular assignment. If you believe you have a conflict of interest then please contact the coordinator or manager associated with the assignment in question.
Every attempt should be made to be an objective mystery shopper. Our clients are after a "snapshot" of your experience, a factual documentation of what happened while in their establishment, surfing their website or making a phone call. While times, dates and names are usually considered unalterable objective measurements, other elements about your experience may prove a little more difficult to express. Try not to let past experiences, attitudes and/or opinions of the business you are evaluating inadvertently affect the outcome or description your mystery shop.
Directly answering questions that are asked without assuming "what the company is after," will help the quality of your report. Inserting comments when/where required can help describe your experience. Be sure that they address the question(s) being asked and that they are written in proper format. Using slang, foul language and comments deemed inappropriate to the information being asked, will almost certainly guarantee that your report will need to be altered or rendered invalid. This means you may need to rewrite the report or the shop may need to be redone. Either way, this process is unnecessary and wasteful. Read your comments out loud - you will get a good idea of how they sound.
Writing constructive commentary in a neutral and factual manner often helps to keep the wording objective. Express what happened (or didn't) as opposed to what someone else did or didn't do. The following are examples of what we mean:
Write: "I was not greeted" instead of "He did not greet me."
Write: "I was put on hold without being asked. I was on hold for one minute" instead of "She didn't even ask me if I minded holding; she just put me on hold. She left me on hold for one minute."
Pay, compensation and payment terms and conditions
Compensation for each assignment varies. The compensation, which could be a combination of monetary payment and/or reimbursements for goods or services received, will be listed in the opportunity e-mail and/or the assignment e-mail you receive. Compensation can also vary based on the total number of shops and/or if travel mileage is factored into the assignment pay (although mileage is not usually reimbursed for travel within your greater city area).
Shopper pays are processed on a monthly basis. Payment is usually issued within 30 days of your completed and validated assignment. If the assignment requires that you mail in your original receipts to CRG Mystery Shopping, payment will be issued within 30 days following the date we receive your receipts in our office.
Shoppers may not be remunerated or reimbursed for any incomplete or invalid shops. A shop can be invalid if the guidelines weren't followed and if the report was not submitted within the allotted timeframe.
Shoppers Beware of Letters Offering Quick Returns for Cashing a Check
If someone posing as a representative of our company ever contacts you with a cashier's check, call us before you try to cash the check...it may be a scam!