Questions About Shops from a Newbie!

Hey guys! I just finished my first shop. I did my best to be thorough, and took a recorder with me. It was actually pretty fun!

My questions are these:
1. She asked for my name and phone number, which I provided. Was that okay? I figured I'm supposed to be interested in making a purchase, so it made sense that I would give her my info. I DID decline to give her my home address.

2. Is it normal to be limited in your comments on an report? I had A LOT to say about this particular shop - I guess quite a bit of it was included in the report itself - but the comments section was limited to 500 characters! I could hardly believe it!

3. Are there any tips you guys have for a newbie that aren't in all the newbie stuff? I'm noticing that there are a LOT of jobs in my area, so I'm going to try to do a few a month for now.

Thanks in advance for all your tips and advice!

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Which mystery shopping company did you sign up with? (not the store please) Please tell us you didn't get $2000+ for one shop, or $300 etc.

Sometimes the comments are limited. They are only interested in certain things, which may or may not be what you want them to know.

I guess it depends on what kind of shop you did if you need to give you name and number?
I was through MFI on this one. I'm only signed up for a few MSCs for now - I don't want to jump in too deep and get overwhelmed.

It was a shop where I was pretending to be in need of the product, but ultimately left without buying - and to gauge the associate's response when I said I wouldn't be purchasing today. It seemed like an okay thing to do.

Have you ever given a fake name? Or something else to hide your identity?
Good MFI is straightforward and legit.

When I used to shop Starbucks, I used fake names all the time. On occasion, they'd call my name, and I would forget which name I used. So, I normally use my Vegas-Name, which is a variation of my real name.
If the guidelines don't tell you that you have to give a real name or anything else, you don't have to do it. It's best to try to avoid giving them your phone number, though. Sounds like you did just fine! There are links at the bottom of the page that might help. One is for new shoppers, the other is to a list of companies you can sign up with. Good luck!
Ooooh, that sounds like a fantastic idea! I'll have to think of some good ones. Thanks for the advice. smiling smiley
Some narrative blocks are character limited and some are unlimited. In either case, try to write only objective sentences and only cover what is asked about in the guidelines or report. Use the sample narrative (if provided) as an example to follow.

I tend to be very verbose and when I first started mystery shopping, I wanted to give the client every little detail of the shop to prove my worth. At some point, I learned that the majority of my extra comments were being removed by the editor to refocus my report to the questions asked.

Welcome to the gang and I hope you enjoy your new endeavor!

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
They said "how likely are you to buy from the associate" and then asked why. There were a lot of problems with my service, is all.

I pared it down to cover the important things - being literally left alone in the store, and not feeling particularly welcomed.

I'll have to work on the verbose thing - I think I'm doing the same thing! Especially since it's my first time around.

Thanks so much!
Another tip -- resist the urge to accept a bunch of the same jobs the very first time you do them...no matter how enticing they may sound. Just accept one shop and complete it to get a feel for how easy/hard the shop itself is and more importantly, how onerous the report is!

It stinks to accept a bunch of juicy sounding shops only to do the first one and find out it is a real dog. You are stuck doing a bunch of crappy jobs if you signed up for a bunch of them. If you only take one, at least the suck is over after the first one...lol!

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I'm signing up for a variety so I can get a feel for which ones I like best. I'm trying to limit myself - again, don't want to get overwhelmed!

I'm glad that I found one that I could do right away, though. I think that's really helped my motivation.
I only took one shop from a MSC when I first started as I was somewhat skeptical of the whole thing. I would wait until I got paid from that MSC and verified payment before accepting a second shop.

That was just me being cautious of something new, but I felt if I was going to get burned, I'd rather it be for a relatively small amount. So far, so good as I have always been paid for work successfully completed. The few invalidated shops I've had were all my fault (at least partially).

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
that's good to know. I figure if I stick to the MSCs that everyone else goes with for now, and those on the MSPA list I should be fine.

I'll keep an eye out, though! Thanks!
Agree...stick to the well known MSCs talked about on this forum to begin with and you will be just fine. I did not find this forum right away when I first started, so felt like I was flying blind sort of in the beginning.

"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl -- year after year..."
I use fake names all the time. I just use close friends or relatives' names so I don't forget. I have also given out fake phone numbers. Just change the last digit. As everyone else has said try for a variety of shops in the beginning so you have a feel for what you like and if you are comfortable. I can always get thru one dog of a shop but will not sign up for a bunch until I see what I am getting into. Some shops that I thought were going to be terrible were quite the opposite. Then when I get home I sign up for as many as I can. Good luck and keep up the great attitude!
You will know that you have arrived when you can whack 3,300 of your choicest narration characters down to a measly 200 characters.



@PrestigeHandle wrote:

They said "how likely are you to buy from the associate" and then asked why. There were a lot of problems with my service, is all.

I pared it down to cover the important things - being literally left alone in the store, and not feeling particularly welcomed.

I'll have to work on the verbose thing - I think I'm doing the same thing! Especially since it's my first time around.

Thanks so much!

The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy. - Corrie Ten Boom
@PrestigeHandle
Long-winded narratives are an issue that I've had to calm down over they years, too..... When there is a character limit, use that as a clue into just how much detail the MSC wants on a section. If you are limited to 500 characters, the client and MSC don't want a dissertation. Reduce your narrative to the narrowly defined parameters of the question.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
When you receive an E-letter mentioning a shop and it includes pages of information covering all aspects of the work EXCEPT the fee, there is almost no chance you will be interested in the job. A few years back, I decided to test my theory, to determine if it were an axiom, by accessing such a shop on 100 occasions and the score was zip.
Very true! If the fee is really worth the time to do the job, it's generally advertised in such emails.... If the fee is something really great, it's generally in the subject line of the email....

@shopperbob wrote:

When you receive an E-letter mentioning a shop and it includes pages of information covering all aspects of the work EXCEPT the fee, there is almost no chance you will be interested in the job. A few years back, I decided to test my theory, to determine if it were an axiom, by accessing such a shop on 100 occasions and the score was zip.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Just answer the questions asked in your report. MSC are not interested in your opinion. Detail only the important questions, answer yes and no answers. Tell the story so that the editor knows exactly what happened, start to finish, briefly.
You'll find some shops require that you give your phone number, to see if the store/person follows up with you. You might want to consider getting a Google Voice number....you can use it exclusively for mystery shopping. It's great and free, and Google Voice texts you when you've received a phone call, so you know to go check it, too. I use it somewhat frequently.
I guess since I created a new gmail account exclusively for mystery shopping, it would make sense to use a number exclusively for that, too. I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for all the advice, guys!
If you get into apartment shopping, you go through quite a few of these numbers....

@PrestigeHandle wrote:

I guess since I created a new gmail account exclusively for mystery shopping, it would make sense to use a number exclusively for that, too. I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for all the advice, guys!

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
With experience you'll learn the idiosyncracies of different companies/editors, from the ones who want dry facts as concise as possible to the ones where your eyes are constantly rolling because you have literally told them the same thing four times and have to make it sound different each time... One of the consistent things however is to keep emotion out of it unless it's a company that specifically asks for your subjective opinion - usually - if at all - at the end of the report.

Shopping domestic and international locations since 2003.
The important thing from my point of view is to make sure and read the guidelines for each new type of shop. If you need to give out your personal information they will let you know in the guidelines. Unless I have a shop that specifies I give my info out or it is clear I need to even if they do not specify I generally steer clear of doing so especially when it is a casual encounter you have with the clerk. You will become inundated with emails from all the stores you gave your info to. I will just say something to the effect that I get too many emails already.
Some places will have your info in their computer even if it is a different location of those same stores so if your job requires you to act like a new customer and ask newbie sorts of questions then you come in again and they see your name etc in their computer when they go to sign you up again it can be uncomfortable. You will get a feel for when u should give out your info and when not.
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