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Adventures in Mystery Shopping

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This has nothing to do with taking a shopping trip with the Scooby gang in the Mystery Machine.

Mystery shopping is where a person is sent into an assigned store in order to score the experience. The client is looking for feedback regarding customer service, as well as the actual store itself. They may be hoping for information regarding compliance with regulations or specified products and services.

Mystery Shoppers, also known as Secret shoppers, are given a checklist or score sheet and they need to rate a variety of things which will all depend on what the client is seeking to measure. In this case, clients are not looking for opinions, they just want to know what occurred. Often included are:

  • Number of employees
  • How long it took to be greeted
  • Names of employees
  • Types of products
  • Sales pitches
  • Whether and how the sale was attempted to be closed
  • If add-ons were mentioned
  • Was a receipt given
  • Invitation to return
  • Cleanliness of the store and employees
  • Speed

If purchasing a product is required as part of the evaluation, the mystery shopper can keep the item or service and be reimbursed. Sometimes mystery shoppers are tasked with asking particular questions, returning an item, or behaving in a certain way.

As with any market research, there should be no fee for signing up. There is no certification to pay for. So if the program you are looking to join asks for money, it’s a scam! To avoid falling victim to these villains, it might be helpful to do some research with the MSPA-NA at www.mspa-na.org.

This is a great avenue for anyone who wants to take a more adventurous role in market research. You’re interacting with store employees and in some cases, being a different character if you are asked to pose questions or behave in a way you normally wouldn’t. It’s not quite the same as answering questions on your computer, so it is a great way to add variety into your panel experience.

TTFN, Point Clubbers!

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