February 2020 saw the start of my career with Mystery Shoppers Ltd as an Assistant Operations Manager based in our Devon office. As part of my role, I will be working closely with the shoppers to understand the process that a shopper goes through to register, when applying for assignments as well as what it’s like completing the mystery shops.
I found the process of registering fairly straightforward; you go to the website (www.mystery-shoppers.co.uk) and click “Become a Shopper” on the landing page. Once you have entered your basic information, read and accepted the Privacy Notice and the Contract for Services, you eventually receive a cheerful ‘welcome’ email to verify your account. I must admit, this wasn’t instant and did take several minutes to come through to me. It also landed in my junk folder so took a while to find. I marked the message as ‘not Junk’ to make sure I didn’t miss any future messages. Nevertheless, I did receive the welcome email, and was asked to complete my full profile. Having never worked as a Mystery Shopper before, or really known much about it, I was unsure as to why I was being asked to provide information regarding my height, hair colour and date of birth, etc… I felt uneasy about providing this information and I asked my team what it was used for.🤔
They told me that the companies we mystery shop often had quite specific customer types, like clothes shops who typically have customers between certain ages for example. So, shoppers are being asked to provide this information about themselves so that they can be matched to appropriate assignments. I fed back that we should probably make new shoppers aware of this so that they understand the reasoning behind it. I was also unsure about handing over my bank details, I realised that I didn’t need to do this straight away and it is just to make sure that I am paid on time and correctly when I’ve done an assignment. I also asked the team why I would be asked if I had a criminal past as the work is self-employed. The reasoning behind this is because we work with all different kinds of companies from retirement homes to children’s nurseries and other places in which a shopper might come into contact with vulnerable people. In addition, we ask about disabilities because we often assess the accessibility of shops etc. and require disabled shoppers for this.
I decided that I would just enter the basic info at this point so that I could get cracking with searching for assignments straight away (as I was being lazy! Haha!), but the team said I’d be best to complete the ‘Extended Profile’ at some point, to make sure I didn’t miss out on seeing assignments based on this info e.g. car make and model etc.
Once I’d finished filling in my profile information, I was able to see assignments near me. I was excited to find that there was a lot of variety when it came to the assignments on offer. However, the list did seem quite repetitive. Basically, when you click view ‘Available Assignments’ it not only showed me assignments that were in my chosen location’s radius, it also showed me assignments that weren’t location specific. For example, calls, email enquiries, online orders, etc.
I must say initially I found searching for assignments near me a bit confusing. There were many that looked exactly the same and there was a lot of scrolling involved. I realised that by clicking on the ‘I’ for information, although some of the assignments might look the same, they can be very different with different parts to play or scenarios to follow! So, my advice would be that it is always worth checking each one.
Ultimately, this is what I'm here for; to feedback on what MSL can do to improve the experience for shoppers. I'm going to be completing 4-5 mystery shops per month for the company going forward to provide as much feedback as possible so watch out for lots of improvements coming your way! If any of you are reading this and think "I have some feedback for you!" then please email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org