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Are You Near Atlanta, Reno, or Vegas? February 23, 2013

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Continual education in the industry can only help a mystery shopper better their skills…the IMSC has developed an ongoing conference program to help shoppers enhance their skills, learn more about the industry, and gain exposure to mystery shopping companies and other shoppers.
The IMSC is hosting three conferences this year to support and further educate those in the mystery shopping industry. Dates and locations have been released!

Atlanta – May 30th through June 1st. Click here for more details

Reno: September 8th through September 10th. Click here for more details

Las Vegas: November 12th through November 14th. Click here for more details

Below are some frequently asked questions from shoppers. I hope this will help you in deciding which event to attend!

1. What is the benefit of attending a conference?

There are many benefits to attending a conference! Whether you’ve been a shopper for a few months or a few years, there is always something new to learn! Topics range from industry changes to new techniques in mystery shopping, including video shopping and route shopping. There will be many tips and tricks you can learn to maximize your income in an efficient way, and you may be exposed to companies that you’ve not worked with in the past. It’s likely that you will meet company representatives from companies you already work with; this networking and “face to face” interaction is invaluable.

Shoppers from all over the country attend, and part of the experience is being able to network with those in your industry. I’ve been in the industry for over ten years and still learn something new from every conference we attend.

2. How can I offset the cost of a conference?

Shoppers are very creative! There are a few ways to offset the cost of the conference, including room sharing if you feel comfortable doing so, finding shops along your travel route, both to and from the conference, so that you’re making money along the way, and increasing your shop load in the months leading up to the conference to save money.

Of course, the conferences costs can be considered a tax write off since it is continuing education for your work. Please consult with your tax advisor though to ensure you are complying with the laws in your state.

3. Is it just shoppers who attend the conferences?

No! In addition to shoppers from across the country attending the conferences, representatives from mystery shopping providers attend, and often times present sessions. At some conferences, actual mystery shopping clients will attend the conferences to get to know shoppers better and discuss their programs in more detail so you can see how you’re making a difference to their company.

The conferences provide a good mix of shoppers, representatives, and other key speakers to provide a well rounded experience that is well worth the time and cost.

4. Where can I find out more about the IMSC and past conferences?

To learn more about the IMSC, you can visit their website or like them on Facebook. Their website and social media sites provide continual information and tips/tricks that will help you as a mystery shopper. Even if you cannot attend a conference, keeping tabs on the IMSC will be a great help to you!

Now We’ve Heard It All…. February 20, 2013

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Written by: Kristin Garvey, Independent Account Manager, Ann Michaels & Associates

We Account Managers, Schedulers, and Editors  hear quite a few tall tales in regards to why people need to cancel their shops. Today, for the purposes of a good chuckle, I will share some outstanding excuses shoppers have sent me regarding the need to cancel a shop. Some of them are comical, some are obvious lies, and others are perhaps so far out there that they may actually be true.

“I can’t do my shop because I woke up and my eye was stuck shut.” No further explanation provided.

“I don’t leave my house before Noon.”

“I only have one leg, and my good leg hurts today.”

“I can’t perform my shop because it’s raining.”

“My child is sick.” The shopper was 65 and in her profile, entered that she had no children.

“The store wouldn’t let me bring my dog in with me, so I couldn’t do the shop.”

“I found out last night that my boyfriend has been cheating on me. I can’t deal with anything today.”

” I was kidnapped last night. While I’m home now, I had a stressful night last night. I hope you understand.”

“I’d rather go to a movie tonight with my friends.”

“I don’t like pizza.” The shopper applied to and was assigned a pizza shop. She then canceled the shop because she didn’t like pizza.

“I’m not in the mood to perform this shop.”

“You can’t expect me to write a report regarding my experience. Had I known that I would have to do a report, I wouldn’t have taken the shop.”

“When I got to the store, there were too many customers. I don’t like being in a crowd, so I left the store.”

“I found another shop that I want to perform more than yours.”

“My hand isn‘t working right. I need to cancel the shop.”

“There’s a party that I don’t want to miss, so I’m canceling the shop.”

“Okay, so like I was going to the shop and my car broke down like two blocks from the store, can you believe it? I know!! It’s just CRAZY!! Well, I called a tow truck, but they didn’t show up for like two hours! I finally got my car towed, and it’s going to cost like $3000 to fix my car, and they have no idea how long it will take to fix it. I convinced my boyfriend to come pick me up and drive me around so I can do all of my shops. I have a lot of them to do today, so I don’t know if I’ll actually get around to doing yours. I’ll keep you updated. I just can’t believe that this happened on my way to do your shop. It’s like nothing is going right for me. I’m trying so hard to get my life on track and make some extra money and then this happens. What can you do, right? Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll get to your shop. My credit card is maxed out right now, so I may not be able to do any purchase shops. I’ll probably just concentrate on the shops that are no purchase necessary. Again, I may try to do your shop. I don’t know. If you can just leave it open for me, I’ll let you know next week if I can do it or not. My boyfriend said that he could help me, but I just have so much to do and so little time to do it in. I hope you can understand. I’m just SUPER excited about working with your company, I just don’t know if I can come through for you. Please, please, please don’t assign this visit to another shopper. I really need the extra money right now. Not only is my car now on the fritz, but I also have a lot of debt that I need to pay off. I lost my job, so I’m trying to make some extra money. Did I mention that I’m a single Mom? I am. I’m all on my own, and I really can’t count on anyone but myself. I really try to do what’s best for my daughter, ya know, but it just gets SOOO hard. So, anyway, I probably won’t be able to do this assignment in the end, but don’t assign it to anyone else in case I change my mind and all of that. I really need your help with this because it’s not my fault that my car broke down, and I’m a single Mom so everything is a lot harder for me than it is for other people. Thanks in advance for understanding. I really appreciate it. I’ll keep you updated on my situation. URGH. I’m just so frustrated by all of this. I really do want to work with you. I’ll let you know if I can come through or not. I probably won’t be able to because of my situation, but you never know. Talk to you soon!!!”

We realize that this is a minority of shoppers, but you can imagine why, after getting a few of these in a row, especially at the end of the month, we can get a little cranky!

Life happens, and there are times when people need to reschedule or cancel. We completely understand that. Please be truthful and we will try to make things work out. Honesty goes a long way in this industry!

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