Posts by lford

Mystery Shopping is Simply the Best!

July 18th, 2018 Posted by Benefits of Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

There is a plethora of mystery shops that can be completed in various industries to allow you to earn money from home. From dining to amusement parks like that famous one in Orlando, FL, you can complete a mystery shop within almost any industry. In this article, we’ll discuss why mystery shops within the apartment industry can be some of the best! One major perk is you can find available shops almost anywhere in the country, from Chico, California to Omaha, Nebraska and even in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

 

 

No Money Upfront 

Many mystery shopping industries require you to purchase food, items or admission upfront. Although those costs will most likely be reimbursed, you still must come up with those funds to begin with and in some cases, the shop pays a flat rate to include that reimbursement.  This is not the case with apartment mystery shops, such as those offered through EPMS. There is no money required upfront to become an EPMS shopper or to start shopping regular paper shops.

Design and Layout Ideas 

Multi-family housing construction is at an all-time high in many major cities from Corpus Christi, TX to Knoxville, TN, which really increases the demand for apartment mystery shoppers. A fun benefit of completing these shops is they provide many opportunities to see new apartments, including their interior design. This can give you some great ideas for decorating in your own home. The layout of the apartments and offices are always interesting to see as well.

Short Answer Mystery Shop Forms 

The shopping reports for EPMS are easy to complete. The forms are filled with questions you answer based on what you remember from your recent shop. The report is broken down into sections organized by the parts of the shop (telephone, community appearance, greeting, tour, etc.) and most of the questions are yes/no with a few comments questions to sum up each section.

The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start making money, so get out there and get shopping!

Get Your Ducks in a Row

July 10th, 2018 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

You’ve made the wise decision to start earning money working from home as a mystery shopper and you are about to perform your very first apartment mystery shop! Follow these tips to help you do your best. After all, if the shop goes smoothly, you will feel better about accepting more jobs and making more money.

 

One of the first things you should do is get a good night’s sleep. You will need to be alert and observant on the shop, so try to get the rest you need. In the morning, have a bite to eat and then start making your calls to the apartment community. Most apartment communities start answering their phones around 9:00 AM, but this can vary a bit by location.

When you call, make sure you already have a timeline in mind for your move. Don’t hesitate when asked for that information! Doing so will make the agent will wonder why you don’t immediately know when you will be moving and that may compromise your identity as a shopper. Remember to also have a reason why you are moving. Most people move because of a job or because their lease ended. Just be sure your reason for moving is plausible.

After the call has been completed, you are ready to complete the on-site portion of your shop. Wear better clothes to make a good impression, but dress comfortably as well. You will likely have to walk to the model or empty apartment. Make note of the time you arrive at the shop and the time you leave.

Lastly, when you have finished your shop and return home, you will want to write the report ASAP, while the information is still fresh in your mind. If you took notes during your visit, you will be ahead of the game and your report will be accurate.

Once you’ve completed a few shops, you’ll find that most of these practices begin to come naturally!

Help Them Help You

May 31st, 2018 Posted by Mystery Shopping Experiences No Comment yet

When you choose to work from home as a mystery shopper, you have several important responsibilities. One job is to create a space for the leasing agents to show their best performance. To do this, you want to make sure you take the focus off yourself as much as possible and instead allow the agent to take the lead. You’ll want to be sure to present yourself as an open, pliable leasing prospect.

Here are three great ways you can conduct yourself to allow the agent the best opportunity to succeed: 

Listen 

The leasing agent should be doing more talking than you. Remember, your job is to respond, not lead the conversation. Of course, there may be some leasing agents who are more talkative than others, but that is okay; another part of your job is to be comfortable with silence.

The leasing agent should be aware of what his or her job consists of, so sit back and let them take the wheel and guide the conversation, both on the phone and on-site.  Be responsive and answer questions freely, but allow them to ask for the pieces of information they need. 

Smile 

The more comfortable the leasing agent feels with you, the more he or she will feel inclined to complete their job thoroughly. A smile, especially a genuine one, can go a long way to creating a scenario where the leasing agent believes they can succeed in closing an apartment lease with you. 

Act 

Act like you are a real prospective resident. This means you should allow the agent to sell you on the community. If you do not like something about the apartment, use it as your objection for the leasing agent to overcome. This will sound more natural and believable. However, keep in mind that you are not really leasing, so you do not have to press too aggressively about your objection.

Apartment mystery shopping will become easier the more relaxed you are on the job!

Maximizing Mystery Shop Volume

May 23rd, 2018 Posted by Making Money Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Mystery shopping is a great way to work from home!  You stand to make the most money when you are able to complete your shops quickly and efficiently. Here are three suggestions to help you cut out the excess and streamline your shopping process. 

Be Receptive 

Work to present yourself as open and receptive to what the leasing agent has to offer. If you are able to make them feel comfortable, the process will flow organically and it will encourage them to give their best presentation. Although most leasing agents receive similar training, each puts his or her own “flavor” on their sales technique, so it’s best if you can go with the flow and let them take the lead. 

Be Natural  

Excessive talking and over-explaining can cause a mystery shop to take more time than necessary.  Remember, your job is to evaluate the leasing agent’s performance in trying to convince you to lease. You will not actually be leasing the apartment you are being shown, so there is no risk in showing interest in a community or apartment you may not actually be interested in a real scenario. Be mindful not to over-explain your shopper story as this can tip the agent off that you are a shopper and could cause your shop to be invalid.

Let the Leasing Agent Shine 

Allow the leasing agent to lead the tour.  A good leasing agent will walk ahead of or near you during the apartment mystery shop tour. Along the way, he or she will ask you questions to determine your needs and wants in a new apartment home and will know what to say and how to respond to your needs. You will want to be sure to let the leasing agent lead the both phone call and the onsite apartment tour.

The more you can relax, the quicker your mystery shops will be over time, which will allow you to complete more shops each month.

Getting the Most Shops

May 15th, 2018 Posted by Making Money Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

There are a variety of reasons why you may not get more apartment mystery shops. Take time to make sure you are not making these mistakes, so you can maximize the number of shops you are assigned…and the amount of money you make! 

Late Reports 

If you are consistently late with submitting your apartment mystery shop reports, your account may be flagged. EPMS, just as every other mystery shopping company, will need you to submit your report on time so they can meet client deadlines.

Remember, you are required to upload your backup documents (such as business card, floor plan, pricing and fee sheets, audio and video recordings of your onsite shop if applicable) to the site within 24 hours and the online report should be submitted by the end of the day following the visit. The sooner you can submit the required items, the more you will remember from the mystery shop. This is especially important if you complete more than one apartment mystery shop in a day or if you are completing shops along a travel route. Can you say Kauai’s Na Pali Coast – who would not love to route shop in Hawaii?

Grammatical Errors  

Make sure to check your spelling and grammar before submitting your reports. The more difficult your shop reports are to edit, the less likely you will be able to select multiple shops. You should take time to proofread the sections of your report. If you are unsure, you can use Word or other similar software to help proofread. 

Not Checking the Site Often Enough  

Many apartment mystery shops are self-assigned, so remember to check the EPMS site often, especially around the first of the month. On the other hand, if you check for apartment mystery shops near the end of the month, you may have a chance to complete some mystery shops with bonuses available. In some areas – Nebraska, Minnesota, and West Texas, for instance – EPMS is always looking for shoppers, so be on the lookout for the potential to plan a route for shops.

Try to be aware of these pitfalls and you’ll have the best chance to complete the most shops each month. This will be a great way to work from home and make great money!

Planning Route Shops

September 11th, 2017 Posted by Making Money Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Sometimes shoppers who are planning a road trip like to plan a string of “route shops”. This involves picking up shops along the route you plan to travel to complete while you are in those areas. To make route shops work, you’ll need to plan ahead and try to coordinate shop appointments to make sure the day runs smoothly. Below are a few steps you can take to help ensure your route is efficient and successful.

First of all, check to make sure all the shops you requested are actually assigned to you as the primary shopper. Sometimes shops show on your list, but you are listed as the backup shopper. Be careful when you apply as you may have applied to be a backup shopper. Since route shops are time sensitive, you’ll want to avoid being listed as the backup on shops outside your normal shopping area.

Next, plan your route to see which shops are nearer to each other and try to coordinate appointments that will make sense for the planned route. You would not want to travel back and forth from one area to another if you have shops to do in different areas of town. Put the addresses in your GPS and try the most efficient route to save time and gas.

Of course, you may have to juggle times with the agent’s schedule, but try to make it fit your schedule as much as possible. Some locations have limited office hours, so if you miss your appointment, you may lose your shop. Some companies will not give you the extra week to complete a shop.

After you have done all your planning, you are ready for your day of shopping. Pack a snack, water and a note pad and you can be off on a rewarding day of mystery shopping. Take lots of notes and keep track of your time. That way, you will have fun and you will make money in the meantime.

Ace the Phone Portion of the Shop

August 30th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

The phone portion of the mystery shop is a vital first step. You typically cannot complete the onsite visit until you have made the phone call. The call allows the leasing agent to get to know you and your needs better and set up your visit. It also allows them the opportunity to give a sales preview of what their community has to offer, so it is an important tool in the overall performance evaluation.

 

Target Agent

If you have a target agent, make sure to pay close attention to the name of the person as you make your calls. Often, the leasing agent is so used to saying their opening greeting, they may say their name faster than you were prepared to hear.

If the person answering is not your target agent, find a reason to get off the phone quickly without raising suspicion.

No Target Agent (meaning Anyone)

If you do not have a target agent, you can begin the shop with whoever answers the phone. This is one of the easiest types of shops to complete.

The leasing agent should invite you for a tour during your phone conversation. Accept this invitation and be prepared to shop this same person onsite. If the call is nearing the end and you have not received an invitation, let them know you’d like to stop by that day to have a look and pick up information.

Anyone Except (Name)

This means that any leasing agent who answers the phone other than the person specified NOT to shop will become your target agent. If the person you are to avoid answers, make an excuse to get off the phone.

Overall, do not complete an onsite visit before you complete the phone call unless otherwise directed in the special instructions for the shop. It is important that the leasing agent exhibits a warm personality, inquire about your needs in a new apartment home and offer you the opportunity to tour their community. Making the telephone call is their first opportunity to do this!

It’s All in the Details

August 15th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Since most shoppers want more work, we can unintentionally adopt a “quantity versus quality” mentality. A shopper can become overwhelmed by assigning themselves numerous jobs to make the most money each month and this can result in submitting incomplete or lower quality evaluations. Be careful not to take on more shops than you can reasonably devote your time to.

 

Remember, every time you submit a mystery shopping report, expect a review for accurate content and grammar from several customer service representatives before the evaluation is forwarded to the requested company. Be careful not to underestimate this fact. The quality control reviews by customer service representatives can affect the number of shops a shopper may have access to in the future.

If you are a regular shopper with a company, customer service representatives might record comments about your performance in your shopper file. If you want more and higher priced shops, remember to submit only accurate, grammatically correct reports. You should also be mindful to include pertinent details in your reporting. Adding a couple more sentences with details in your shopping narrative can distinguish you as a highly qualified and detail-oriented shopper versus an average or “quantity-driven” shopper.

Your final evaluation report reflects not only yourself, but also the reputation of the mystery shopping company. If you can take the extra time to make sure you are submitting a polished, accurate report, you can build your reputation with your mystery shopping company and be awarded better, higher paying shops. If you can remember the details, it can be a win for all!

It’s Demographics, People!

August 2nd, 2017 Posted by Making Money Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

When you begin mystery shopping for a company, the website will generally ask you to update your profile with vital information including your name, location, contact information, and other demographic statistical information. Sometimes, shoppers will receive a notice to update their personal profile. A shopper should strive to update personal informational every six months to increase the likelihood of obtaining more shops. Most companies are always in the process of expanding and increasing their shopper base and any changes can represent new and exciting shop opportunities.

With a few computer clicks, you can add or change demographic information such as including an additional zip code, city location, industry desirability, age or gender groups. Any change of these options could greatly increase your job listings each month. When you change your personal profile options, a whole new geographic or demographic territory might be opened to you.

If you have not noticed the nearest industrial areas to your home, now is the time to look at a local map, peruse the surrounding areas, and include those areas in your profile. Mystery shopping companies tend to offer jobs closer to the metropolitan districts, so if you live in a rural or urban area and are not receiving a plethora of jobs, you might want to change or add more demographic options to your profile.

With just a couple of changes to your profile, you might find more jobs and different types of shopping which could greatly increase your capabilities to earn extra money.

Shopping Can Help the Community

July 27th, 2017 Posted by Benefits of Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

As a mystery shopper, you should take great satisfaction that you are truly helping to improve your community by providing a comprehensive customer service report.

Many companies often send surveys to their buyers after a purchase to gather information on their customer service. This will help to improve their services.  As a mystery shopper, you usually submit a much more in-depth report, which usually includes a physical inspection of the premises, interaction with employees and customers, as well as feedback on the representative’s presentation.

Mystery shopping reports will usually ask you to focus on one employee and provide feedback on what their strengths and weaknesses that individual displayed. You will also be asked other questions about the maintenance of the community.

When companies compile all their mystery shopping reports, they will make changes in their policies and this benefits the community resources.  For example, some companies have utilized recommendations from mystery shoppers on allowing potential residents to view photos of sample apartments in their leasing office that were previously not available for viewing until the following month.  Previously, if a building was at a 100% resident occupancy, many leasing professionals would just tell a potential resident they were currently occupied and would not extend an invitation to visit. Now, more companies are offering prospects an invitation to visit despite having no vacancies.

Do not hesitate to offer suggestions in your report. Sometimes those are put into action and help to make your community a better place!

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