I just read an online article about mystery shopping that, among other things, recommended that you get mystery shopping jobs by going around to businesses and asking if they get mystery shopped and what company provides their secret shoppers. Then, you could approach that mystery shopping company and offer to work for them.
Can you spot the flaws in this theory?
First of all, it is possible that the local business will not know what company does their mystery shopping. It is likely that the contract is handled out of the corporate office. Individual locations probably know that they get mystery shopped, but they may not know or remember the name of the mystery shopping company.
And this is even more important: NEVER WALK INTO A BUSINESS AND ANNOUNCE THAT YOU ARE A MYSTERY SHOPPER. Whew. Sorry for the shouting, but I get a little excited sometimes. I’m calmer now, so let’s imagine this scenario:
“Hi, Mr. Restaurant Manager. I would like to be a secret shopper and evaluate your establishment. Do you have a mystery shopping program? What company hires your secret shoppers? Great! Thank you. I will go apply to them right away. See you soon.”
Uh, do you think the manager might remember you after you walked in and announced that you would like to mystery shop his location and he has directed you on how to get hired? Do you think, maybe, he might recall this conversation when you arrive to do a shop?
Of course, you also should not go to an online forum and ask, “Does anyone know who shops (name of favorite place)?” Discussing clients with anyone, one-on-one or in a public forum, is a violation of confidentiality agreements. Mystery shopping companies do not look favorably upon shoppers who do this.
If you are absolutely determined to find out who has the mystery shopping contract for a business you are dying to shop, you could try this: Call the corporate headquarters or regional office. The mystery shopping program may be administered by the marketing department or human resources or operations. Try asking the operator if she knows who handles their mystery shopping and she may be able to direct you to the right department.
When you reach the person who may have the information, tell them that you are a mystery shopper and you would be interested in mystery shopping their locations. If you really want to pile it on, you can say that you assumed they have a mystery shopping program because their service is always so good. Ask if they can tell you which mystery shopping provider handles their program, and any information they have about the company, such as where they are located.
Once you have the company name, do an online search to find their web site. Because many mystery shopping companies have similar names, having an extra bit of information, such as where they are located, can help you to verify that you have the right company.
Then, do a great application. Do not expect that you will immediately get your dream shop. There may be a lot of other shoppers, who have been with that company much longer than you, who also want that shop. Be willing to do some entry-level shops (e.g., fast food or simple retail) to work your way up to the place you want. Once you have done a few shops, let your scheduler know that you are interested in shopping that client, and ask if there is anything you can do to qualify for an upcoming assignment.
There are no guarantees even after all of this that you will get to shop the client you targeted. You may, but even if you do not, in the process you may find some other worthwhile assignments.