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Everyday companies strive to meet customer expectations with clean stores, excellent customer service and unbeatable prices. Mystery shoppers help companies do just that by posing as actual customers while observing the actions of employees and other predetermined factors that the company is looking to improve.
Mystery shoppers are generally hired as independent contractors to go to stores or restaurants and shop for particular items, ask the employees questions or observe the surroundings while appearing to be a regular customer.
Mystery shoppers generally work part time on a flexible schedule. Once a shopper gets an assignment, she goes to the establishment, makes observations, asks questions and sometimes even make a purchase. After the visit, the shopper fills out a specific questionnaire about the service she received. Some mystery shoppers work for only one or two companies, but some sign up with a dozen or more.
Education or Training
No specific training is required to become a mystery shopper. Some companies give brief training sessions outlining the skills shoppers should use and give detailed instructions with each assignment that shoppers must follow to get paid. You shouldn't have to pay to register with the company or pay for training.
The amount of pay for each assignment varies depending on the type of establishment being evaluated. Sometimes shoppers receive free food or merchandise in lieu of financial compensation. Annual earnings for each mystery shopper vary depending on the frequency of shops performed. According to an article on the Forbes website, typical earnings are between $5 to $20 for each shopping trip. Sometimes shoppers are also reimbursed for part of what they spend.
There are many companies that hire mystery shoppers legitimately. Research the company in the library or in online reviews before accepting or performing any jobs. Legitimate offers won't ask you to pay to become a mystery shopper, according to the Federal Trade Commission, but scams are plentiful. One scam requires you to deposit a check in your personal account, take out the same sum in cash and wire it to another party. You're supposedly testing a wire transfer service, but according to the FTC, the check turns out to be fake.