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Read This if You Are Using Shadow Shopper, Premier Shoppers, or a Similar Site to Find Mystery Shops April 23, 2010

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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In addition to the old-fashioned method of finding mystery shopping companies to sign up with, there are many sites that automate the process for you. Outside of Jobslinger, Shadow Shopper and Premier Shoppers seem to be the most commonly used sites.

The one benefit to using such sites is that they compile mystery shopping opportunities from multiple companies, and many times you receive email notifications when new posts are submitted. However, we’ve seen many shoppers who come from these sites that miss out on potential mystery shopping opportunities.

Why? When you receive a posting through one of these sites, you can reply via email to express interest, which is fine. However, many people don’t realize that once you’re interested in a shop, you need to take it one step further and register (or sign up) with the company that has the shops. This is a step that is often missed, so interested candidates never get past expressing interest in the work.

I’ve seen an increase in this happening, and wanted to make sure that those of you using these sites to find work take the time to go through all of the steps outlined in the shop posting, including registering with the company. In the last month our staff have seen several people email in response to a job posting, and once we give further instruction on where to register and apply, they are never heard from again.

Some that are very new to mystery shopping believe that once they’re registered with Shadow Shopper, for example, they are also registered with the mystery shopping companies. Shadow Shopper is only the vehicle to find the shops; once found, you need to go to the individual companies to register.

Being new in the industry is difficult; our hope is that this information will help ease the frustration and get new shoppers up and running quickly.

Until next time, happy shopping!

Applying for Mystery Shops: Take Your Time! April 22, 2010

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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As companies schedule shops, most often an automated system is used, such as Sassie or Prophet. Once shops are posted, a scheduler or Account Manager receives a list of applicants and has to choose one shopper to be assigned the work.

There are some common errors that can easily disqualify you for being assigned a shop. These can be easily fixed using some of the tips below:

1. Not answering the qualifying question: many times there schedulers will ask one or more questions to better qualify shoppers for any given shop. These could range from, “Do you have fine dining experience?” to “What day out of this date range can you complete the shop if accepted?”

This information not only helps schedulers pick the most qualified shopper, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t answer the question, either because they didn’t notice it or are in a hurry to be the first applicant. In either case, not answering at all will disqualify you pretty early on.

2. Answering questions with incorrect responses: say a shop is posted and can be completed between the 12th and 16th, and the qualifying question asks which date you can complete the shop if selected. Saying you’re available on the 18th doesn’t help the scheduler.

Sometimes you’re in a hurry to apply and don’t carefully read the entire posting, and you may miss the given date range. I’ve also heard from shoppers who say they will put a date they ARE available, even if it’s not within the posted date range, in case the scheduler cannot find someone to shop within the given dates.

While this is a good idea in some respects, I would advise following up with the scheduler to let them know that while you are not available to do the shop within the dates given, you are available at a later date should they need help. Or, better yet, when you reply to the qualifying question, provide an explanation. This can be as simple as, “If you cannot find anyone to complete the shop on these dates, please know I am available on the 18th if you need help.” This is the best approach, because many times schedulers ask shoppers not to email them and this approach avoids an unwanted email and at the same time gives the scheduler this much needed information. If they run into trouble, they will think of you first!

3. Traveling: on most mystery shopping online programs, schedulers are shown a list of applicants along with the mileage it would take for them to get to the location they are applying for. If a scheduler sees that you live 1,500 miles from the location, they are not going to choose you. Now, you may be traveling to that area and want to pick up a shop while you’re there, but the scheduler has no way of knowing that. As mentioned above, providing an explanation along with your applicant will be most beneficial.

The best advice when applying for shops is to take your time. Typically, once a shop is posted, it may not be scheduled for up to 48 hours. Unless it is self-assign, it is not first-come, first-serve. Read the entire posting, make sure you answer any qualifying questions, and provide explanations for any responses that may be considered abnormal in any way.

Until next time…happy shopping!

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