Question from a shopper:
I have been applying to mystery shopping companies, but I never get any jobs. What am I doing wrong? Should I give up?
Whether you are a brand new shopper trying to get started, or an experienced shopper looking for more assignments, there are several possible reasons you are not getting as many assignments as you would like. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Did you submit a complete application?
Make sure that you answered every question on the application. If they ask demographic questions (e.g., age, marital status, race, income, etc.) answer them. They are not asking those questions to discriminate against you. They ask because they have clients who need shoppers with certain characteristics. Answer every question on the application to be considered when shops with specific requirements come up.
Companies sometimes add new questions because of new client requirements. It can be a good idea to check some of your older applications from time to time to see if they are asking you to update your information.
How is your writing sample?
Don’t forget to provide a writing sample if they ask for one. Make sure that your sample is the best you can make it. It is a good idea to keep a few sample paragraphs on hand for use in applications. Some companies ask for a paragraph describing good customer service, some ask for one about bad customer service, others ask you to say why you want to be a mystery shopper or why you think you would be a good mystery shopper. Some ask for more than one of these examples. Keep one of each saved on your computer so you can copy and paste into applications.
Make sure your writing samples have proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. The service descriptions should be objective (e.g., describe what the employee did, don’t offer an opinion such as, “Jeff was the rudest person I have ever encountered!”). AND DON’T WRITE IN ALL UPPERCASE or all lower case. Use proper capitalization: the beginning of each sentence, proper nouns, etc.
Are you requesting assignments?
Companies generally do not just assign shops. Shoppers need to request them. Many companies send emails letting shoppers know what assignments are available in their area. However, some companies expect you to check the job boards regularly to see what shops have been posted. When you see shops that look interesting, go right to the site and apply.
Are your shop requests complete?
When you request a shop assignment, there may be one or more questions, such as what day you would complete the assignment. The question is there for a reason, so answer it. For example, if they ask what day you would complete the assignment, they probably have other shops to schedule around this one. They need to know when you will do the shop so they don’t have two shoppers there on the same day.
What if you could go any day? I usually answer saying that I would prefer to do the shop on (date), but could do it any day in the shop period. That way they can schedule me on my preferred date or another day that works for them.
Have you applied to companies that have clients in your area?
Although many companies are national or international, they may not have any clients in your area at this time. It can be hard to determine this sometimes, but if you are not getting any notices of open shops, it is certainly a possibility.
Don’t assume that because you saw an assignment for a particular restaurant that they shop all of the restaurants in that chain. They may only have a contract with the locations owned by one franchisee, or in certain states or districts.
Apply to as many companies as you can, and keep submitting applications to more mystery shopping companies. The more companies that have you in their databases, the more opportunities you will have.
Have you applied to any companies that allow you to self-assign shops?
Self-assignment means that you go to the mystery shopping company’s job board, look for shops in your area, and claim the one(s) that you want. When you are a new shopper, or even just new to a particular company, you may not see a lot of self-assign opportunities. When you find them, though, it is simple to accept the assignment and start showing them what you can do.
Are you too picky?
When you are new (to mystery shopping or just to a company) you will not always see the best assignments. Be open to doing some of the less glamorous and profitable shops at first, to get your foot in the door. Once you have a track record with them, you may see more and better assignments. How many shops equal a “track record”? Possibly just one or two.
So what can you do to start getting assignments?
- Apply to lots of mystery shopping companies.
- Make your applications complete and correct.
- Look for self-assign opportunities.
- Watch for open assignments in your area by checking your email and the job boards.
- When you request a shop, make your request complete.
- Be open to doing “lesser” shops to get your foot in the door.
Once you start getting mystery shopper jobs, always do your best work. That will make it easy to get more assignments.