This had to be frustrating. If I could give a little perspective from the client's point of view: I've worked in property management for 5 years, 3 of which were for a company that used Ellis. There are two reasons why Ellis and subsequently the client are so particular about this.
1. leasing agents are often trained to handle/track all their leads from initial contact all the way through to closing. Passing leads/appointments off to co-workers can be seen as not taking responsibility for their work. Impromptu or last minute visits are one thing, but if you're speaking with a leasing agent in the morning to do an afternoon shop that day and he/she is making every excuse to not be the one to meet with you although they'll be there, the client will likely want to know, so make sure you share that in your notes.
2. If the client is asking for a particular target it is likely for a good reason. i.e.: they've had a poor shop recently and they want to see if the employee has learned from the mistakes or this shop could be the verification of positive or negative performance the company is looking at in that employee.
If I could give a tip on getting leasing agents to follow through with you from phone call to appointment, I would say, make it clear to them that you've built a rapport and feel comfortable only with them. If your schedule permits, specifically ask the target for an appointment when they know they will be available for you.
"I feel like you really understand what I'm looking for. I'd love to set up an appointment, is there anyway I can make sure to come in when you're available?"
I hope this helps and I hope to have good experiences seeing things from the shoppers point of view!
Thanks guys for all of your messages. And I do still work for them. I like the apartment shops and the pay. Ellis pays good, especially when they add a bonus. But I do also still contend that they need to spell out their instructions more clearly and specifically.
My last shop with them was bonused and 50 miles one way. I was required to speak to a certain target which I did. Made plans to attend the next day. Target said she would be on site. Once I arrived she was not. Nothing I could do but take a tour with another employee. Ellis stated they will not pay because I did not meet with the target. I asked how was I suppose to if she was not there? Last shop for them!!!
Whoa! They shouldn't have done that to you. If I'm not mistaken, their instructions state that you're supposed to say that you'll wait for the person you spoke with on the phone, and if that person is not there at all, then meet with whomever is there. I've had that happen before, and they've always paid me. You might want to speak with one of the VPs or schedulers about that. Not cool that they didn't pay you for something that wasn't your fault.
If you do not go
On the same day as the call you are required to
Call the day of the appointment and confirm the target is on site.
If you know the target is not on site the day you are scheduled to go then you have to re set the appointment
I also do a ton of shops for EPMS. They are sticklers for exactly following the instructions. I am sure they would say you should have called them if you were unsure. BUT I also believe that EPMS looks for reasons not to pay or to deduct from pay. I have to say I hate their reports. They are tedious and take way too long. AND I refuse to guess someone's weight (that is part of the physical description of the agent) and I am seldom so taken by the agent that I am sure of their eye color! Ridiculous questions!
I specifically avoid the "Target" shops, I cannot stand making the multiple calls and trying to think of reasons for hanging up, without just hanging up. I always feel the client should know exactly what days their employees are working and provide that info.
But I keep shopping for them because they pay on schedule and since I wait until they are up against a deadline to accept I usually get paid $60.00 per shop with the bonus.
I'm in the same predicament right now, so I'm grateful that this thread exists. The shop deadline is today, but I've been sick with strep-throat for the last two days, so I had to attempt the shop today. I had no problem getting the targeted associate on the phone, but the associate told me that they were going to pass me off because they weren't going to be available. I instantly emailed EPMS asking them what they'd recommend me to do. Here we are, 5 hours later, and I still haven't received any response. Based on what happened to the original poster of this thread, I'm going to go ahead and just request an extension, since they don't have time to respond to questions.
Sounds like the MSC has at some time turned in reports to show that the Target is refusing to do follow through. Isn't that one of the goals of this report? Isn't seeing whether or not the Target shows up or responds to those seeking their assistance valuable? The Shopper should not be penalized for attempting to connect and then being shunned.
There should be a limit on attempts and Shopper allowed to bow out with some pay. There should be full pay if it turns out the Target is elusive after Shopper shows up. Especially if one has to be kept waiting and Target is a no show, as long as Shopper does shop with another. Full pay & time limit on wait time. Make it only 3 attempts on phone and get paid a partial for the call. It is unacceptable to be unpaid for correct efforts, whether Target presents or not. Those reports are long and the Client is gathering data on the presentation and on the Target whether they do their complete job or not!
Calling the Scheduler works if the time zones permit and/or if Schedulers work after 4 or 5 pm or weekends. Some of these Targets have second shift or weird hours. Remember, these shops can take several days, even weeks if the paramaters are too vague. Shoppers will have this eating into your quick, productive shop schedule. So get paid commensurate with your time and risk!
I have done 2 apartment shops for them, about 2 yrs apart. The first time I was FLOORED at the questions about eye color and tattoos, What did you pass going this way and that?...and then to have to re-do the report for the "second" confirmation time during the same debrief. Thought I had those covered for the second shop, but I forget what the twist was. Got paid for both, but I don't think there is enough $$ to get me to do a third!! The debrief took at least 2 hrs!
But, on the other hand, I like the emails I get from them thanking me for shopping for them, Mother's Day cards, etc. Every once in awhile they send surveys. This is the side of them I like, not the apartment shops!! I do not think I have seen any shops from them that were not apartments (thru my scheduling companies). Hugs