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Bonuses for Mystery Shops – Do You Hold Out? August 30, 2009

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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The end of the month is upon us, and for the last several days schedulers everywhere are scrambling to get the last of their shops scheduled and completed.  In general, this month seems tougher for some reason – there seem to be many more open shops across companies and more bonuses added.  It could be that many mystery shoppers are trying to squeeze in one last vacation before summer ends, or parents are gearing up for a new school year.

I sometimes wonder if  mystery shoppers hold out to apply for a shop before a bonus is added. It’s not a surprise to see bonuses as the end of the month approaches. Some locations are remote, and tougher to fill, but there are others that we wonder about. Perhaps a shopper saw that this shop was bonused last month, sees it posted again for the new month, and waits to take their chances that it will be bonused again.

Sometimes this approach can hurt the shopper, because the shop will be picked up by someone else. Other times it hurts the company. I can recall one mystery shopping company that made an announcement that it would completely remove the bonus program from all of their shops because it seemed that most shops were not being filled until bonuses were added, and it was an expense they could not afford.

From reading boards and visiting mystery shopping communities, I have read the argument that if companies can afford bonuses, why can’t they just post higher fees from the start? The answer is quite simple – the bonus money is not “extra” money that we are keeping for profit, or whatever reason. This is money that is in fact extra and  and companies are essentially “eating” the bonus. In many other cases, schedulers are paying these fees out of their own pockets.  We realize that there are times when bonsues are necessary – that is a fact of the industry. However, when shoppers are “holding out” and causing an increase in bonus money being spent each month, this hurts everyone in the industry.

What do you think? Do you hold out for bonuses?

Until next time…happy shopping!

Mystery Shopping End of the Month Blues August 22, 2009

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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As another month is wrapping up, I am anticipating the end of the month scramble to get all of our shops completed.  If you’ve been a mystery shopper for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen the emails increase during the last week or so of the month, and each email becomes more and more desperate. Why is this?

It’s a combination of things, creating the “perfect storm” for schedulers and editors everywhere. There are some locations that are difficult to fill, plus cancelations and “bailers”, that make the end of the month unpleasant. It also seems that this is the time we find shoppers that apply for a shop, only to cancel at the last minute.

We know things come up, and things happen that are out of our control. That we understand.  What we can’t understand is when people accept shops at the end of the month and cancel for no other reason than “I changed my mind and don’t want to do this anymore.” This statement can bring a scheduler to tears.

How can shoppers help? First, if there is any possible way you can take a shop that may be less than desireable, especially when it’s the  end of the month and you’ve seen a hundred emails about it, you would be a hero in any scheduler’s eyes. On that same note, though, please don’t apply unless you are absolutely sure you can do it before the month’s end.

Another way you can help is to realize that we are simply trying to get our work done – if you are receiving multiple emails from a company, please don’t reply with an angry response.  Schedulers are trying to find the balance between getting shops filled and not irritating shoppers. Mystery shoppers are our lifeline, and we certainly don’t want you to stop working with us!

We realize that the end of the month creates more emails in your inbox, and we truly do not want to upset shoppers in any way. So, if you see some desperate emails coming through, please try to be patient, and if you can, help out.

Here’s to hoping for a great end of the month! Until next time…happy shopping!

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