Ralph Fontaine of GfK Mystery Shopping recently answered some questions about mystery shopping for GfK. GfK has more than 15 years of global mystery shopping experience, covering over 2,000,000 mystery shops in markets including retail, wireless telecom, quick service restaurants, travel and transportation, petroleum/convenience stores, grocery, financial services, and automotive.
Here is what you need to know about being a secret shopper for GfK Mystery Shopping.
Describe the ideal shopper.
At GfK we have several different types of programs that require shoppers with diverse skill sets, but the number one most important quality any shopper can have is reliability. When a shopper proves that we can count on them, our schedulers feel comfortable trusting them with higher numbers of shops, as well as new or different shops. We also appreciate shoppers who understand modern Mystery Shopping, are able to take/upload digital photos, and who scan/upload shop verification documentation such as receipts. Our best shoppers are those who are also very good with time management. They know how many shops they can do in any given period and only schedule those they know they can complete. We feel lucky to have so many shoppers whose experience, dedication, and attention to detail makes our programs successful month after month.
What is the best way for a new shopper to get in the door and get a first assignment?
Our registration process is very easy, and anyone can get started in just a few minutes by going to the GfK website. Once you have completed your registration, you will be entered in our database, and will receive email notifications whenever we have shops available in your area. You can also log in anytime to take a look at shops on your “Visits Available” page and accept or decline them.
The most important thing you can do as a new shopper is when you accept your first shop for us — complete it correctly and promptly.
How can shoppers qualify for your best shop assignments?
Shoppers should give 110% on every shop, complete their shops as scheduled, and report their shops completely (including file uploads) within the shop timeframes and provide quality report data. These are the shoppers our schedulers go to every time we have higher-paying/more interesting shops.
How long after a shop are your shoppers typically paid? Do you use or require PayPal?
GfK only pays by PayPal, and payment is typically received by the shopper about two to three weeks after successful submission of the shop. We take shopper payment very seriously and strive to pay shoppers as quickly as possible.
How is your company helping shoppers deal with the high price of gasoline?
We encourage shoppers to group shops together, and our schedulers are happy to help shoppers plan a route that will allow them to get as many shops done as possible during a single trip. We also ask shoppers to contact their scheduler if they are planning an out-of-town trip, so that they can be offered shops in the area where they are going.
What do you want shoppers to know–what will make them more valuable to your company?
At GfK, we stand by our Shopper Bill of Rights and work to build a strong professional team of shoppers. Mystery Shoppers are our greatest asset and we take shopper loyalty and communication very seriously. We know that it is our job to provide complete and clear shop materials and objectives. When shoppers truly understand the shop and its objectives they are able to complete the assignments correctly. What we ask of our shoppers is that they take the time to familiarize themselves with the details of their shop and ask any questions before they conduct the shop. Our clients hire us, but our shoppers keep those clients happy by: completing the work as scheduled, being careful to enter all data correctly, and uploading necessary shop verification materials. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship that we value and strive to build on at every opportunity.
Anything else you want to add? Advice? Funny shopper stories?
Here’s one of my favorite funny shopper stories from one of our Field Managers. (This shows another characteristic that’s valuable for a shopper that I didn’t mention above — a great sense of humor!)
“We had a shopper doing a road trip, heading up to a gas station in Death Valley, CA and picking up other shops along the way. A couple of weeks later, I got a postcard from her with a lizard on the front. On the back she had written, ‘Q 8.0 – Was the associate in uniform? If no, please explain.’ Her answer was, ‘Not only was he not in uniform, he did not have a name tag, he was not wearing ANY clothes, and he was eating bugs. Plus he stuck his tongue out at me. Very rude.’ I still have this postcard hanging on the wall of my cubicle!”