Posts in Tips for Mystery Shopping

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!

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!

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.

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