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Mystery Shopping Company Discussion


Posts:7,447
Regarding Sundays... most shop instructions say which days you can shop. That usually does NOT include weekends. But, as always, check the shop instructions.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
February 03, 2012 04:20PM
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Posts:96
Ciao walesmaven...glad you're on board...you're one of my favorites on this forum as well...

I called EMPS...was advised I needed to make 3-5 call attempts within a 2day period to reach the target...then update the shop to see if I can ask for the agent directly...when I stated time was of essence due to the limited time I will be in the area...I was advised to start calling today(which was the plan) and tomorrow and if no success by tomorrow...do the update thing...

The last one she gave me states anyone except a certain person...I asked the phone contact if that meant I could shop who ever answered the phone? Affirmative!!!...

Now...how does the scenario go when the person answering the phone is not the target...do I just hang up or ask about availability just in general? What if that person tries to schedule an appointment with me?
February 03, 2012 04:41PM
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Posts:378
The instructions often say not to hang up too much because that might give them an idea that a shopper is calling. I often ask how late the office is open or say I dialed the wrong number. Or I'll ask if they have an apartment available, and then say thanks and hang up right away before they try to ask anything else. And sometimes, I do just hang up.
February 03, 2012 04:53PM
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Posts:96
DanceMom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The instructions often say not to hang up too much
> because that might give them an idea that a
> shopper is calling. I often ask how late the
> office is open or say I dialed the wrong number.
> Or I'll ask if they have an apartment available,
> and then say thanks and hang up right away before
> they try to ask anything else. And sometimes, I
> do just hang up.
.............................................................................

Thanks for you input!!!
February 03, 2012 04:55PM
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Posts:7,447
I often put on a strange Eastern European accent and say, "Not Kmart?" Alternative is a sort of choked Kenyan accent asking if I have reached (name a local grocery store).

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
February 03, 2012 06:52PM
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Posts:76
myshop2011 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, finding this post is timely~I have my first
> Ellis shop today. I was going to go ahead and go
> into town and call when I got there (as I usually
> do with apt. shops), but I guess I better rethink
> that! I'll let you know how it all goes.... wish
> me luck!


Well, fast forward to a week later.... after about 6 phone calls and not getting my target, I made contact with the scheduler who was decent about it and agreed to reschedule. However, I haven't got the reschedule yet, because she had some questions about the date and the client's requirements... I'm still waiting to hear.

I did my first shop with another company where I had to shop a particular consultant. Well, I got lucky, she answered on the second call, I had my appointment with her and got it all done easy peasy...

Guess it just comes down to the luck of the draw and which consultant is closest to the phone....
February 07, 2012 12:12PM
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Posts:76
darmody2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> myshop2011 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Well, finding this post is timely~I have my
> first
> > Ellis shop today. I was going to go ahead and
> go
> > into town and call when I got there (as I
> usually
> > do with apt. shops), but I guess I better
> rethink
> > that! I'll let you know how it all goes....
> wish
> > me luck!
>
> Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Well.... I did my shop (a college apartment shop-man, those students have it made that's a pluuush complex) I just checked online and it looks like it was accepted and I'm just waiting for payment. Yay!
February 25, 2012 01:01PM
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Posts:8,118
I dug this thread up because can't find the most recent one. I had a target that was unreachable. I then drove up there (5 miles from me) on the weekend knowing the target only works weekdays. I made an appointment through a very nice agent for Monday 10:00, with the target. Target told me she never answers her phone, prefers to reply by email. She also told me she would show me the unit I requested but has a conference call in 1/2 hour. We did the tour, got my info., and left. My report was denied, and I will not be paid due to not reaching her by phone. I went through hoops to get that appt.,
what's the difference if you don't get it by phone, but still get it. No pay for 3 hours of work. Beware of these target jobs, this was my first and last.
I received an auto email stating if you cannot reach target by phone, job will not be accepted.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
May 24, 2012 04:29PM
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Posts:36
I won't do the targets anymore either! I will do the take anyone but have been having a hsrd time getting anyone to answer the phone. Always goes to voice mail.
May 24, 2012 08:46PM
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Posts:751
Irene,

There's not a shred of doubt in my mind you're extremely disappointed. Knowing the Ellis instructions from having completed almost 200 jobs for them, I'll state 3 points:

1-You didn't make contact with the target by phone, which is a violation of the instructions.
2-You traveled to the community knowing the target wasn't working, which is a violation of the instructions.
3-You rhetorically ask what difference does it make if you don't make contact by phone; Ellis and their clients require a phone contact and a section of the report is devoted to that requirement.

I wish I could have known of your problem contacting the target, because I'm positive I could have been referred you to one of the ladies for assistance.

As to target shopping, I think anyone would rather be able to shop whomever answers the phone, but that isn't the case. Are these jobs for everyone? All know the answer; no work is for everyone. There're shoppers who love MSCs from whom I wouldn't accept any work. In addition, I won't "hit the road" for a video route, but others love the travel. It all boils down to the old adage: To each his/her
own.

Irene, if you're like me and work for the money, Ellis represents an opportunity to profit; I've been paid from $40 to $70 for the shops over the yrs. In these uncertain times, that isn't "chicken feed." Give the matter some thought and if you'd like to try another job, contact Vanessa Dickerson through the website and I KNOW she'll help you. You might even decide to "give video a whirl." If so, you couldn't find a more willing guide than Bob Asher.
May 24, 2012 10:13PM
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Posts:8,118
Shopperbob, thank you very much for your guidance, I appreciate it. I know I was extremely frustrated due to her not answering phone, and I'm sure she
wouldn't as she stated. My taking this into my own hands, and getting job done, shows my independent nature and thinking, but not what they wanted.
I got it!! I enjoyed the actual job, and work with the report, since Real Estate was my past for years, this wasn't foreign to me. I enjoy it.
I will re-think this now that I know they mean business, and yes, 40.00 sounded
like a nice paycheck, however, over 3 hours work boils down to around 13.00 an hour. We'll see what happens, I won't say never, but it does sound like the real problem is reaching target, how do you resolve that? Video doesn't work for me at this time.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2012 01:44AM by Irene_L.A..
May 25, 2012 01:39AM
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Posts:751
Irene,

While my visits for Ellis have ranged from 15 to 50 mins., the average is 1/2 hr. ALMOST all clients have a report that runs approx. 1 hr. including the scans, but there is one that exceeds 2 hrs.; I pass on that rental agency.

As to the phone, I utilize 7 voices AND mark the name of the answering party. That way, I can use the same voice for more than 1 agent. Although I haven't kept track, I'm guessing I reach the target on my first call on 1/2 the rings. To date, I've only returned 1 assignment, and that was because I was only in the area a single date; the agent was in a company conference and the office was closed that day.

Irene, we all know there're a few asshole MSCs; EPMS is definitely not in that category. I've just begun my 7th yr. with Ellis and found ALL parties accessible, flexible and sensible. On the only occasion of which I wasn't paid, it was definitely my error; I missed a SPECIAL INSTRUCTION to set an appointment., but would have been paid had I toured with the target. Like you I was disappointed, but unlike you it was 4 yrs. into out relationship.

Why not give the matter additional thought?
May 25, 2012 12:17PM
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Posts:8,118
ShopperBob....after resting my bruised ego,I will reconsider,still concerned over reaching target for now, but, know they are a standup company. Learning their ways will service me in the end, and once the timing goes down due to experience, it could be one of my favorites. Thanks again for the encourgement.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
May 25, 2012 12:27PM
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Posts:751
Irene,

You're welcome. It provided satisfaction to me to share as others, including yourself, have for me since I found this forum. Although I'm a fan of 40s and 50s music, I recall a tune from the late 60s/early 70s that sums up this matter: United We Stand, which I think was recorded by the Stone Ponies.
May 25, 2012 02:46PM
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Posts:8,118
ShopperBob...the 50's were my age and I loved music, however, Stone Ponies doesn't ring a bell.....i was into Jazz vocals, Ella, Duke Ellington, George Shearing and of course Johnny Mathis (who I went to high school with), who lived around the corner from me in San Francisco. This would be a subject for
private. Helping is what this forum is about, so we agree on many levels.
The song "Stand by me" comes to mind!!

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
May 25, 2012 03:04PM
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Posts:3
Their reports are so redundant I'm done with them
May 25, 2012 06:10PM
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Posts:180
I thought there's a rule that states that they'll deduct $10 from the pay if you don't complete the phone purchase and shop the target by showing up to the property?

Irene, you are better than me..if I don't reach the target in three days, and new shops pop up, I cancel the shop. I don't get paid extra for wasting my time.
May 25, 2012 06:28PM
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Posts:378
I think Stone Ponies was the group that originally had Linda Ronstadt before she went off on her own. I don't remember that song though!
May 26, 2012 04:56PM
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Posts:14,728
No more calls we have a winner! I don't recall the song Bob referenced, but do remember Different Drum.

*************************************************************************
Have you ever listened to someone for a while and wondered.."who ties your shoelaces for you?"
***************************************************************
"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
May 26, 2012 06:30PM
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Posts:751
Serves me right for mentioning an era of music in which I'm ignorant. It was the Brotherhood of Man with United We Stand. As Lisa and Mom posted, it was Linda and the Stine Ponies with Different Drum. In the future, I'll reference only the 40s and 50s.
May 26, 2012 07:01PM
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Posts:158
I did my first shop for them yesterday and the report is a PIA. I have never had so much trouble with a report. I would rather do the dreaded furniture shop!
June 15, 2012 02:05AM
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Posts:385
I think we should ALL POLITELY send an email to EPMS concerning their reports. One scheduler recently wrote to me that the report takes 20 - 30 minutes to fill out. They are obviously out of touch with the reality of the legnthiness of their reports. Also, I believe the reports would be more detailed and extensive as far as comments if we weren't so darn frustrated by having to write the same thing over and over. EX. we fill out the date and time we called the agent at the beginning and then it asks again toward the end of the report. Also: "Did the agent identify themself by name?", we check "yes" and then have to answer how we got the Agent's name. Fellow shoppers, Please consider addressing this issue with EPMS. They are such a good company otherwise and the shops are fun!
June 15, 2012 05:57AM
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Posts:7,447
It's the clients who insist on those long reports for EPMS.

Also, if you make several calls over 2-3 days and never reach the target, CALL your EPMS scheduler (They are not good about emails at EPMS) and get permission to ask for the target. There are a number of "canned" reasons that you can give the target, if asked, about why you asked for her/him.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
June 15, 2012 09:37AM
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Posts:561
I find it pretty far-fetched that they would "insist" on the precise forms we find so repetitive.

I just did a series of eleven EPMS apartment shops for four different clients.

All four of these clients are separate and individual companies, all within 25 miles of each other, and as such they are competitors for the same pool of prospective tenants.

Why would they all ask for basically the same cookie-cutter format?

That assumes that four unique apartment management companies each came up with their own format, sui generis, that just *happens* to be virtually identical to their close competitors.

Nope. It's EPMS, shopping the same repetitive format, over and over to each client.

It's like the retail clerk who sells the same godawful color of lipstick or the same set of unnecessary snow tires day in and day out, telling each customer that "it's just perfect for you."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2012 01:51PM by MissyH71.
June 17, 2012 01:47PM
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Posts:96
MissyH71 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I find it pretty far-fetched that they would
> "insist" on the precise forms we find so
> repetitive.
>
> I just did a series of eleven EPMS apartment shops
> for four different clients.
.....................................................................


Where in the name of Whomever did you get the strength to complete the reports all of those shops?

The shops themselves are a delight,once you reach your target...I just completed my second shop for them yesterday...the 1st was back in Feb. when I started this thread and while traveling in another state...I'd forgotten how lengthy the report was...it took me 3hrs today to enter the report...I didn't really think I'd be able to reach the target so quickly...I got the assignment yesterday and it was due today...I thought there's no way I'll be able to complete this by due date...couldn't figure why they would even assign a shop on a Sat. and expected it to be completed on a Sun with a target(father's day no less)...really got lucky with the target...made 2 calls within 2hrs and target answered on the 2nd call by name...was able to make appmt. for that afternoon 2hrs before office would close...

But the report is so discouraging...makes that $40 feel like $10...and particularly when all you're doing is repeating yourself...I hate when they ask the same repetitive ? and ask that you not quote yourself from the same repetitive ? from a different section of the report...you almost need a Creative writing course and good thesaurus to complete the reports...

I'll think long and hard before I do anymore...How you manage to get thru 11 is amazing...you deserve an award...
June 17, 2012 08:38PM
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Posts:86
I accepted a targeted agent shop that is also audio recorded. I've made 20 calls (at the request of the scheduler), and she just gave me permission yesterday to ask for the agent by name. Unfortunately, the two calls that I made today were not answered. I'm so frustrated. I've wasted enough time on this shop, but if I cancel, I have to pay the $50 cancellation fee (even though the recorder was sent to me for another shop and then I accepted this shop). I've emailed the scheduler again about what to do. Any advice?

Silver certified with a PV-500
Shopping Michigan and beyond
October 25, 2012 07:45PM
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Posts:14,728
I've never heard of a $50 cancellation fee. That is certainly an underhanded way to get people to waste hours on one of their shops. You would have been better off purchasing your own recorder that you could use for shops with other companies.

*************************************************************************
Have you ever listened to someone for a while and wondered.."who ties your shoelaces for you?"
***************************************************************
"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
October 26, 2012 07:13AM
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Posts:86
I'm definitely going to look into purchasing a recorder after this. I just called the property and asked for the target as instructed. Apparently she is out on sick leave.

Silver certified with a PV-500
Shopping Michigan and beyond
October 26, 2012 10:11AM
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Posts:14,728
I completed some targeted video shops for another company two weeks ago. I was provided with each target's work schedule. Neither took more than two phone calls. It is beyond ridiculous that EPMS not only refuses to give shoppers the schedule, they have targeted shops where the target is long gone. It sounds like a lot of free dirty work is being done by having shoppers call for days only to be told the target no longer works there and the shopper is not going to be paid. Why don't they take one of those crabby women that answers the phone and let them call a bunch of complexes and ask for agents. They're getting paid by the hour anyway.

*************************************************************************
Have you ever listened to someone for a while and wondered.."who ties your shoelaces for you?"
***************************************************************
"Allow me to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket." – Captain Jack Sparrow
October 26, 2012 10:31AM
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Posts:180
I do not have any pending EPMS reports, so I cannot look at the name of the page..but what is going on with that LAST page on all EPMS reports? The customer satisfaction page?

If you read the narrative, it tells the client that out answers does not count against them and that the answers on that page cannot be disputed. It is obviously something that EPMS created that the client did not want.

There is a client that is doing shops on both EPMS and a sassie company. The reports on sassie are waaaaaaaaay shorter than EPMS. That executive summary page is draining, as is the page where we have to list eye color. Why does eye color matter if the call is recorded and we have proof of shop? Whyyyyy???????
October 26, 2012 02:12PM
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