I completed a shop in 2011 for Ellis. Fast forward to yesterday, I was at a new pilates studio doing a class with 6 other people. I was sitting down on my machine when someone comes over and whispers "hey mystery shopper"..I gave her the confused look and sad "who are you?" because I honestly did not know who it was. Normally, I always assumed that I'd just say "mystery shopper? what's that?"
She then told me not to worry, that she wasn't going to get me in trouble and that she no longer worked at that apartment complex because she was now a pilates instruction...THE instructor for that class.
She told me that they knew I was the shopper before I even walked into the door because they had caller ID and the incoming call showed an area code from a different part of the country. She said that they normally always get calls from local area codes because the neighborhood where they were located isn't an area where people moving from another state usually move to. Each agent was shopped on a monthly basis so they eventually figured out when a mystery shopper was calling before they even picked up the phone.
The shop was in the same city as I live in. I used the EPMS recording system to reach the target. They really need to work on this issue because I can see how this can make a shopper stand out. She said that she knew I was the shopper because shoppers were about 90 percent of their calls who called from out of state area codes.
I can see where this could be an issue, but think it will become a non-issue before long. I use various Google numbers for different aspects of my life, and I know I'm not alone. I think eventually, as more and more people start using Google Voice and other services like it, these places will be accustomed to numbers from just about anywhere.
I don't know anyone who uses google voice. I had a number but found that it would randomly show my cell phone number on caller ID even when I used google voice to dial out.
The big red flag is when the caller ID has an area code from a city 1,000 miles away and you give the local area code as your contact number.
> I can see where this could be an issue, but think
> it will become a non-issue before long. I use
> various Google numbers for different aspects of my
> life, and I know I'm not alone. I think
> eventually, as more and more people start using
> Google Voice and other services like it, these
> places will be accustomed to numbers from just
> about anywhere.
I did a shop that had an area code for the bay area from California. I live in Northern California and came up with a scenario on why I was moving from Walnut Creek. The target went on and on about Walnut Creek, had to do another shift in my story, that I had only lived there a short time. I wasn't about to try and reminisce about her memories of time past by in Walnut Creek.
That's interesting Amie. I did two shops for EPMS this week. One used their recording, and the agent was so nice and did everything right. The second did not use the recording and the phone agent kept the conversation very short, didn't want to set an appointment and made sure she wasn't there when I showed up. The guy I shopped was obviously new--he didn't even have his own business card--and didn't do anything the leasing people usually do. Neither of them on the second shop seemed to care if I showed up or rented an apartment while the first one was overly nice--she even offered me something to drink three times.
I plan on taking this class again next week and will ask her how else they were able to spot mystery shoppers. I wonder if the same number shows up on caller ID because if the same number keeps calling and hanging up, or saying "oops, wrong number" until they reach their target, then I assume that it is a dead giveaway. I've been tryign to reach a target for four days now and the same two people were answering the first two days and have now stopped answering altogether.
Yeah, this is a fear of mine when doing the recorded call portion of EPMS's apartment shops. Even using the *67 function prior to dialing in the 888 number plus password, I have to believe that the system gives a random phone number outside of the area code that the apartment community is located in. I just completed a random EPMS video shop a few days ago where this was the case and thought that the phone system alone was something that tipped off the most experienced leasing consultant.
I'm taking a pilates class where the instructor is someone who I shopped in 2011, when she was a leasing agent.
*67 does not work when dialing for recorded shops.
*67 also does not guarantee that your number will be blocked. Some 800 numbers have a system that will unblock your number. I've found this out when calling for personal accounts and being told by the system that they recognize my account by the number that I'm using.
I've also directly called a property using their 800 number and my caller ID was picked up.
> What kind of a class are you taking? If you find
> anything out, please let us all know.
Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Actually, I think the way we all move around now, and we can take our numbers along, that should make it easier. I don't live in WI but I have a phone number with an area code from that state! I have never lived there but ended up with it when I got a phone number assigned to me. It is fine with me now. When I first got it I hated it. I have three different area codes I can use and it is fine by me. My MS cell phone is one area code, my land line is another area code and my basic cell phone is the out of state area code!
Let's say I move from California to Maine, I can take my cell phone number with me. I am not sure about the land line phone numbers, I think they can transfer now too. So, why not say it is a phone number you received from a former place you lived?
I did a targeted Apt. complex person and it went well. I am positive the target had no idea.
> She told me that they knew I was the shopper
> before I even walked into the door because they
> had caller ID and the incoming call showed an area
> code from a different part of the country. She
> said that they normally always get calls from
> local area codes because the neighborhood where
> they were located isn't an area where people
> moving from another state usually move to. Each
> agent was shopped on a monthly basis so they
> eventually figured out when a mystery shopper was
> calling before they even picked up the phone.
This is not a reliable way to spot mystery shoppers. Legitimate potential renters who aren't the MS could easily have a ported number from some other city.
Not that this will be any use to your target leasing agent turned Pilates instructor now, but I thought I'd put it out there.
Sidenote: In general, if on the other end of the transaction (the employee getting shopped on a regular basis), trying to play "spot the shopper" will have potentially undesirable results. Especially if you're wrong and especially if you're not doing your best job all the time. That's why they are called mystery shops...
I'm new and just did three shops for EPMS. I was actually wondering if EPMS gives them a copy of the report including my information, or if they just figured it out based on the narratives? One of the three "targets" e-mailed me back to thank me for the kind words in my report, and it really caught me off guard. If it was a less than great leasing agent, that would make me extremely uncomfortable.
hmmm this is interesting to me because I used to live in another part of the country (Hawaii actually) and my cell phone is still from that area (just can't give it up even after 6 years of living back on the mainland). I don't like to use my home phone number on shops but now i'm thinking I need to go get a cheap tracfone or something with a local phone number for when I have to enter a phone number. On the other hand when it is a call first auto shop it ends up being a conversation about moving back to Ohio and needing a new car when I stop in, tends to open them up talking about features I'll "need" that I didn't need in the tropics. thought?
Ellie in Ohio - trying to get those ends to meet...