Posts by lford

Phone Excuses to Reach Target

July 18th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Most apartment shops will include a phone portion. This simply means that you will be calling your assigned apartment community prior to visiting.

You may or may not have a target agent. If so, the target agent’s name will be listed in your shopper notes. If you are not assigned a target agent, the notes will say that you can shop “Anyone”.

In cases where there is a specific target agent, you may not reach that person on the phone right away. This is where phone excuses are important so you can continue to make calls without being identified as a shopper.

 

What time does the office close?

This is an easy question that can be answered quickly. The leasing agent may ask if you are a resident and you can say yes to get them off the phone quickly.

Do not be afraid to be brief. You goal is to call back later and hopefully get your target agent.

Is this the apartment complex across from (fill in an area on the opposite side of town)?

You are asking this to get off the phone quickly. The leasing agent may try to ask you questions about whether you would be interested in their property, but you can thank them without answering their questions and say you really are looking for the other community.

Does your community have breed restrictions?

Most communities have breed restrictions when it comes to dogs as pets and some communities do not allow pets at all.  Once they say that they do not allow pets or that they restrict certain breeds, you can say you own one of those breeds, thank them and end the call.

There are many more excuses that can be used, so have some fun with this. Your main objective is to complete calls without blowing your identity as a shopper.

You Locked Me Out!

July 10th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Target Agent Is Not ThereYou might receive an email from your mystery shopping representative that you have 24 hours to update your job status or be removed from the shop or system.  However, there may be occasions where you missed reading that email or read it at the last minute and just like that, the website has locked you out of the system!  Now you cannot update your shops and you might run into losing a job if you are not able to get your update to the follow-up representative until after the 24-hour cutoff.  All of the work you did making telephone calls might be lost or worse yet, maybe you visited the shop and find the job has been removed!

Before you panic at the thought that you lost your jobs and did all that work for nothing, be sure you immediately respond to the mystery shopper representative on the latest update to request an extension as well as send an email to the website main address administrator.  Sending an email to the follow-up person and the website administrator can help you avoid losing the job.  Of course, your best bet is to always keep your follow-up representative up to date at least a day or two before the due date to ensure there is no lack of communication that might lead to your loss of jobs.  If you do get locked out of the system, be sure you resend emails to the mystery shopper representative and the website administrator.  Always remember the golden rule; communicate, communicate, and communicate some more!

Developing New Identities

July 6th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

If you shop for a company for an extended period, you are bound to exhaust your job opportunities if you use the same identity.  Most companies have requirements on the number of locations you can shop more than once, but some may allow you to shop a property several times if you present yourself as an entirely new shopper.

Since some apartment management companies record information of visitors in their computer databank, which may include your name, email address, telephone number, or any other personal information in their system, this information might pop up to the employee as they input the information into the computer the next time you shop.  Shopping the same location can clearly signal to an employee that you might be a mystery shopper.

However, if you are an experienced shopper, you will realize you should have new identities readily available so you can pick up new shops.  If you have performed a shop before at the same location, it will sometimes be noted that you can shop again if you use a different name, telephone number and email address.

A mystery shopper can easily use a nickname or married name to change their identity and there are numerous free email websites to obtain a different address.  For example, if your name is Elizabeth, change it and use a nickname such as Liz, Eliza, or any other closely associated name.  Also, do not forget to sign up for new email addresses which allow you to obtain new identities.  There are numerous websites that provide free addresses, such as Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo.

Follow these tips to have numerous identities to allow you to qualify for more shops!

Best Days/Times to Shop

June 29th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

file000786402730(1)Every once in awhile, you will have a full day of mystery shopping. This can be a good thing and you should be happy, as this give you an opportunity to earn a lot of money. Check with your scheduler to make sure you shop on the correct day; some shops cannot be done on the weekend while others can ONLY be done on the weekend. It’s important to adhere to the client’s specifications.

If you need help arranging your itinerary for the day, look at the times certain shops close. For instance, apartment shops usually stop showing their last apartment before sundown and banks close earlier than most retail stores. In addition, some shops have certain times that the shop must or must not be completed within.

Although you may think the best way to complete shops is by geographic route, remember that time is also a factor and it needs to be considered.

Shopping in New Areas

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Are you ready to do mystery shopping in a new area? Maybe you are visiting friends or family and still need to do some shopping to keep you busy and make some money. We all know mystery shopping can be addictive! Follow the ideas here and you will find shops in any area you may find yourself.

Perhaps you did not know that you can look up addresses and zip codes on the United States Post Office site.  This will help you have the information you need to find shops in new areas.

Simply go to: https://www.usps.com/ and click on “Quick Tools”. From there, click “Look Up a Zip Code”. You’ll enter an address and it will provide you with the zip code. The United Postal Service has zip code maps as well or you could even use Google to find the zip code area.

Once you have the zip code, simply open the Ellis page: http://epmsonline.com/ and go to where you select your shops. There you will find a place to select your shop area. You can then look by zip code or even look at the address where you are staying to find out what shops may be available in that area.

That was easy and now you are on your way to finding shops in different parts of the country!

3 Steps to Have Fun Shopping in 2017

June 14th, 2017 Posted by About Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

stocksnap_ryklc0oeqlReview 2016

Take some time to look at the types of mystery shops you completed in 2016. To make this easier, you can look at your “I want to Check on a Payment/See my Previous Shop Contracts” tab within the EPMS portal to see all the shops you completed in 2016 listed in one place.

How many apartment mystery shops did you complete last year? Would you like to complete more shops this year? What type of apartment mystery shops did you complete (regular, audio, video)? Would you like to explore new types of apartment mystery shops?

Ask yourself those questions to start and if you think of more questions, feel free to ask those as well. From there, you can make a clear plan moving forward.

Adjust Your Schedule

I am sure you made New Year’s resolutions. If so, hopefully one was to add more mystery shops to your schedule!

Decide how many mystery shops you can do in a month and stick to it. It not only helps with your discipline, it will add a little extra money in your pocket each month. Let’s not forget you will be doing a great service to the apartment community’s customer service arena as well. The residents and future residents will thank you.

Mix Them Up

Take some time to look at your review list and see which types of apartment shops you completed the most.

If you completed many regular mystery shops where you would complete a phone call then visit onsite, then try a recorded onsite mystery shop. There are also video shops. Choose not to be nervous about video or audio shops as they can sometimes be easier than they appear.

After all, variety is the spice of life!

Ace the Onsite Visit

June 10th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Follow these tips to ensure your shop visit goes smoothly.

Know Where You are Going

Make sure to check the address and traffic before you head to your assigned apartment location. The good thing is most apartment shop assignments do not require you to make a solid appointment time.

 

This allows you to arrive at any time before closing time, though keep in mind that some communities have a cutoff time for when they will provide tours. Not having a specific appointment time ensures if you run into any traffic, that you are still able to complete the shop the same day as the phone call.

Most leasing agents are there throughout the entire day. If you arrive and your leasing agent is at lunch, you can ask when they will return or complete the shop with the next available agent if it will be over an hour.

Bring Your Driver’s License

The leasing agent is required to hold your driver’s license while they complete the tour; this is for their safety.

Please double check your wallet or purse to make sure you have your driver’s license before you leave for the apartment community. Most of the time, the agent will not provide a tour if you don’t have your license, which could cause the pay on the shop to be reduced.

Take Mental Notes

Remember, you cannot take any obvious notes during the apartment mystery shop, so you will need to take mental notes.

After you complete a couple of shops, you will notice that most shops are similar. As you complete more shops, you will find a decrease in any potential nervousness you may had initially.

Trust me, it does get easier and you will be able to focus and enjoy the décor.

Blend In

Your job is to blend into their typical prospective resident demographic so that you appear to be one of them. You do not want to trigger a thought in your leasing agent’s mind that you are a mystery shopper.

This will enable them space to do what they have been trained to do, naturally!

Creative Ways to Reach a Target

April 19th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Do Not Cancel a Shop Because of TargetThere are times when you must reach a designated person on an apartment shop. This can be because the person has been singled out for a raise or even for a promotion or it is just time for their annual review. In any case, you need some creative ways to get your target on the telephone.

First of all, you could try to have yourself and another person call the office and see if the target answers the call. If your helper is the one who reaches the target, simply switch telephones and carry on with the shop. Make sure you take notes and you should be on your way to completing the shop.

 

Secondly, if you only have yourself to complete the call, you could use the hold or add a call feature on your cellular phone. Make the call as normal and then add the call the number again with the add the call feature. Again if you reach your target, all is fine. If not, hang up and see if the target is on the other line.

Thirdly, when you do calls as such as these, make up a reason for saying you called the wrong number. You could say you thought it was another apartment community and choose a name from another town.

Lastly, try not to call over and over again in an hour. Remember, the agent could be with a customer or showing an apartment so space your calls and see if you can reach you target without too much hassle.

Using Audio Equipment

February 7th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Missing TargetCongratulations! Your scheduler has emailed you asking you to complete a well-paying audio shop! Don’t panic – the money to do the shop is good and all you have to do is get the right equipment. Keep in mind some companies provide the equipment to use and others will ask you provide your own. If you need to provide your own, ask you scheduler what type of audio file they would prefer. Some prefer .wav and others will ask for a different extension; check to make sure.

If you need very small equipment, check online stores to get the best gear with the best price for the project. If you happen to have a smartphone, you can go to the app store and find an app that will work with an audio extension. After you have found the correct one and downloaded, it you are ready for testing. Have someone chat with you and test out if both you and the other person can be heard. Then try walking while talking and verify the equipment is working.

Get comfortable with it and you should be ready to use your new equipment on shops in little time. Remember, when in doubt, you can always email or call EPMS for additional guidance.

Set the Agent Up for Success

February 3rd, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Earn-Cash-and-Help-The-Elderly1When you complete a mystery shop, try to give the leasing agent the best opportunity to be successful.  Here are a couple of ways you can establish a good platform for success.

Tip # 1 Listen More Than You Talk

Let the leasing agent ask most of the questions and do most of the talking. Their job is to learn your needs; give them the time and space to do this. Allow the leasing agent to lead the conversation. There may be times when the leasing agent seems uninterested, but then warms up as you respond rather than overpower the conversation.

Our job as mystery shoppers is to give the leasing agent and community staff the best opportunity to show off their training and customer service skills.

Tip #2 Give the Proper Information

You do not have to answer the phone or respond to emails, yet make sure to give the correct contact information so that you will receive their follow-up. There is a section in every report that scores the agent for making attempts to follow-up and we want them to have the chance to earn all their points.

If you start to complete many shops, create an email address just for mystery shop follow up so that you do not have to flood your real inbox. Just remember to check it so you can be sure to award the points that are deserved!

Overall, our job as a shopper is not to catch the leasing agent doing or saying anything wrong. However, if a leasing agent is just not doing their job and you gave them ample opportunity, your hands are tied; you tried, so no hard feelings. Our job is to give the opportunity to do everything right and then we brag on them in the mystery shopping report to management!

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