Most people in Malaysia thought Mystery Shopping is an urban legend. Many of us also do not have the slightest idea about what Mystery Shopping is about even though they have heard it a few times in popular local radios. Little do we know that it is a one of the most popular methods used by major multinational corporations across the world to measure the effectiveness of their business operation. In fact, this is quite popularly used in this country too.
What is Mystery Shopping? It is basically a way for a company to ‘assign those public people that will act as their real customers and feedback their experience to the company’. In this way, the company can know how their customers are attended in a real working environment.
The logic is simple. Let’s say our dear Mr Tony Fernandes wants to know how Air Asia customers are treated at the booking counter. Off course, if Tony himself goes and lines up in the queue, surely the staff will spot and recognize him from miles away. What will the staff do? Excitedly jump up to the air and scream to the customers,
“BOSSES, YOU ALL LOOK SOO HANDSOME TODAY!!”
So there’s no point for him to go and investigate himself. Instead, a more clever way to do is assign a company that provides the mystery shopping services to do the job for them. This company has a database of people who register with them as Mystery Shoppers. Sometimes, Mystery Shoppers were given different names such as Virtual Customers, Expert Evaluations, Spotters and so on.
This is surely an effective method because the employees themselves will not know to differentiate the real customers and the fake ones. They don’t even know if their company is engaged with Mystery Shoppers. So in other words, it is a highly efficient way to measure the employee’s integrity.
For instance, a customer service staff who treats young and sexy women nicely and the elderly people like a half-dead man is an employee who exhibits a dangerous lack of integrity. Surely, if a Mystery Shopper spotted and reported this, his days in the company are numbered. Soon enough, he will find himself being thrown off the window.
The Mystery Shopping companies recruit from time to time to get more people to register with them. When you are matched with some of the jobs available, you will be assigned the task to do a business transaction with the assigned companies. Some examples of the tasks are queuing up in a bank, registering for a credit card, booking a hotel room, buying KFC meals through the drive-through check out and many more. You may be asked to line up to line up during the peak hours so you can report about your experience.
As a Mystery Shopper, your main task is to provide report and feedback of your experience as required by the company. Depending on the agreement between the company providing the Mystery Shopping services and their client, you will probably have to fill up different sheets and forms. Sometimes, you present your report using online facilities. In fact, more and more Mystery Shopping deals are administered via internet these days.
What do Mystery Shoppers Get Out of This Deal?
This is the fun part. Most of the times, when you are asked to do the shopping, all expenses are covered for. Imagine, booking a hotel and stay overnight free, with free breakfast and other complimentary services e.g. spa, gymnasium and so on! Do they pay you cash? Some of them do. Some don’t. But many of them are generous enough to give you expensive meal coupons, redeemable vouchers, free stay in a hotel and perhaps give you a few hundred thousands of BonusLink points.
How Can I Become a Mystery Shopper?
While being a Mystery Shopper is fun, you can never know when you will get the next deal once you register with a company that provides such a service. The reason is simple, since the registration is mostly free of charge, not surprising there are hordes of people interested to be part of the deal. If your particulars fall within a very common demographic tabulation (e.g. age, sex and so on), then you may have to wait for long for any opportunity to come.
A good advice is that, you should be diligent enough to do research and find out about companies providing Mystery Shopping services. The more you register with, the higher the chance you to get the next best deals. There are currently quite many companies providing the service in Malaysia. Here are two examples of them that provide online registration and administration facilities.
If you want to find more, you should work it out on your own. Stop being a lazy bum.