Jim and Judy Johnson, owners of Mystery Shopper Pros, answered some questions for us about mystery shopping for them. Here is what Jim and Judy had to say:
What types of shops does your company do?
We do restaurants, automotive services, movie theaters, hotels, bar integrity, bowling alley and consider anything else that is asked of us.
What is the best way for a new shopper to get in the door and get a first assignment?
While we prefer shoppers who are silver or gold MSPA Certified, experienced shoppers are welcome. If a shopper asks for our recommendation, we always suggests that they at least get silver certified first with the MSPA. It is not that they are more qualified than a person who is not certified, but it shows us that they are committed to doing the shops. We have accepted people who just say they want to be a mystery shopper and then have issues with them showing up for the shop.
How can shoppers qualify for your best (highest-paying and most interesting and enjoyable) shop assignments?
We use Prophet Software. Shoppers are ranked based on experience and certification. We send checks via bill pay with our bank and they will receive it generally within 3 weeks after doing the shop. We have been told by shoppers that we have the quickest payment turn around time.
What is your biggest problem/pet peeve with shoppers?
Lack of communication, cancellation of shops last minute or with no notice at all. Shoppers will also accept a shop just to hold it and then will try to negotiate a different date that wasn’t even offered.
What are the biggest challenges facing mystery shopping companies today?
1) The perception that mystery shopping is just a scam.
2) Shoppers who accept a shop and have no intention of doing it.
What do you see as the future direction of mystery shopping?
It has come a long way since the Internet arrived with regard to communication between the clients and the shopper. I can see video taping the entire shop to be the next minimum requirement.
What do you want shoppers to know–what will make them more valuable to your company?
We expect our shoppers to have excellent communication and to be very detailed. Even though we insist that shoppers check for spelling and grammar, the quality of the reports can be very poor. When we receive reports with NO or ALL capitalization and/or misspelled words, we send them back to the shopper with a stern letter to make corrections. If it comes back with errors again, we fix it and remove the shopper from our list.
We are looking for shoppers who understand that they are making a commitment. This is as important to our clients as it would be to any employer.
Anything else you want to add? Advice? Funny shopper stories?
If it’s too good to be true it probably is. People are so quick to want to make a quick buck that they don’t take time to research why they received a check in the mail from someone they don’t even know. They cash the check for $3000.00 believing they can keep $500.00 of it if they mail back a cashiers check from their bank for $2500.00. Needless to say the $3000.00 check bounces and they are out the $2500.00 that the bank took out of their checking account. The best part is they start calling legitimate mystery shopping companies threatening them to get their money back. I feel sorry for them but they need to be more cautious.
Thank you, Jim and Judy, for sharing this information with us. If you would like to be a mystery shopper for Mystery Shopper Pros, go to MysteryShopperPros.com.