Posts in Tips for Mystery Shopping

Set the Agent Up for Success

February 3rd, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping 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!

3 Keys to a Solid Shop Report

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

16Remember, completing the phone and onsite portion of the shop is just the beginning. The final icing on the cake is your mystery shop report. This report is extremely important as this is what will be sent to the apartment management staff for review.

Key #1 Good Notes

To take good notes, you have two options.  One way is to take some quick notes on your cell phone by sending yourself a text or entering the information in your electronic notepad.

You can also record the shop, even if it is not an audio shop, so that you can refer to it later. This option may take the pressure off you, especially during your first couple of shops.

Key #2 Know Your Deadlines

Most shop reports are due within 24 hours of onsite visit completion. Submitting within this timeline allows you to compose the report while the information is still fresh in your mind. This also ensures that you do not forget to upload the backup documents and that you do not misplace them.

Key #3 Order of Report Completion

Once you have completed both the phone and onsite visit, upload your documentation including the leasing agent’s business card and a picture of the floor plan first. Then, you can start to enter your shop based on the order of the tabs within the mystery shop report.

To save myself time and make sure I remember the details, I enter the phone portion of the shop right after it is completed. Many times, I do this prior to the onsite portion of the shop. Doing this gives me the added benefit of knowing I have at least started the mystery shop report. I feel so refreshed once I have completed the onsite portion of the shop and I see part of the report already finished!

Preparing for a 12-Hour Day

December 5th, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

be successful as a mystery shopper Every so often, you might end up with eight or more shops that must be completed in a single day. When you factor in the hours driving from one location to the next, you know you will be working a 12-hour shift. Days like these do not often come around, so if you can get through the project and make some good money, you will be better for it. Here are a few tips to help keep you going.

Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. Wear clothing that can take you from high-end shops, to apartments shops, to restaurants and to retail. You can also always carry items of clothing in your car.

Take your smartphone if you have one and make sure you have a full charge and a charger. If you need to download apps for any of your shops, do so at home rather than waiting Wi-Fi while out. Carry a notepad; sometimes pen and paper are easier to use than anything else.

Make sure you stay hydrated and carry some water and snacks. Lastly, make sure your car is good working order and you have a full tank of gas.

Follow these tips and you will be ready to go on your missions!

Completing Reports Efficiently

November 29th, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

13After completing an apartment mystery shop, you must take the time to complete the online report. Online reports are typically due within 24 hours after the shop has been completed. Once the report is submitted, you must pay attention to your phone calls, voicemails and emails to note any follow-up received from the leasing agent you evaluated during the mystery shop. I will share four steps I use to make sure I complete every portion of the online report thoroughly.

Step 1: Secure and Review Your Notes and Documents

By having all your notes and documents in one place, you will be able to complete the shop faster because you will not have to stop and look for answers as you come to those questions. Also, put your notes in the same order as the sections of the report so you can complete each section easily, once started.

Step 2: Take Photos and Upload Any Documents

Take photos and upload documents first. This will ensure you do not lose the documents before you can show proof that you completed the shop. Do not forget to name the files appropriately so your shop report editor will know what each document is and which apartment property they are for.

Step 3: Explain Any ‘No’ Answers

Make sure you explain ‘no’ answers to any of the questions. This helps the editor understand what you experienced during the shop and supports your opinion.

Overall, the goal is to complete your online apartment report accurately and on time. Late submissions can deter the company from assigning you more shops. The apartment reports are easy to complete if you have all of your notes and documents. Choose to follow the above steps and you will have nothing to worry about!

Tips for Successful Audio Shops

November 21st, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Mystery Shopping DisguiseThere are several types of apartment mystery shops you can complete. All of them are equally fun to complete, but my all-time favorite are the audio shops. Completing audio shops takes the pressure off trying to remember every single word the leasing agent said or detail from the shop.

Tip #1: Check It and Charge It Up!

Is your phone charged? Does the recorder have good set of batteries? You will want to check at least twice so you can ensure your phone or recorder does not die during your visit. Unfortunately, your shop will not be accepted without the full recording.

Tip #2: Placement of Device

Make sure you place the recording device in a place where you will be able to clearly hear the person’s voice. For example, if the device is in your pocket, make sure the speaker portion of the phone is sticking out of your pocket and facing outward. This decreases the amount of noise from your clothes while walking and helps to clearly pick up the leasing agent’s voice.

Tip #3: Make Sure They Match

Although the shop has an audio recording, you will still have to complete an online report. You will want to listen to any parts of the recording you cannot recall to make sure there are no discrepancies in your report.

The audio apartment mystery shops are fun and they provide the company with more detail to evaluate and make sure great customer service is in place.

Top Skills of Successful Mystery Shoppers

September 13th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet


Successful mystery shoppers are the best at what they do because they consistently complete mystery shops. You can read about doing something all day, yet if you do not take the time to apply your skills, you will never gain the real world experience needed to be one of the best. If you work to develop the skills below, you will be come a great mystery shopper!


Love what you do (or at least like it). If you like, or even love what you do, you will want to do more of it. Am I right? The more you like mystery shopping, the more shops you will want to complete. The more mystery shops you successfully complete, the more practice you will get and the better you will be at completing successful shops.

Do not assume anything. What I mean by this is that you should read everything. Do not assume because you have done a similar mystery shop that it will have the same instructions and directions. Remember, there are companies that hire EPMS to have these shops completed. They will have slightly different parameters and information they want gathered for each shop.

EPMS makes it easy to read through each section of instructions and you must mark it as complete before you can submit your shop results for review. This is a good thing, so make sure to read through everything.

Take action! The best way to refine and learn something is to put it into action. In this scenario, this would involve completing mystery shops. Actually log-in to the shopper area and select shops based on your schedule to complete. It can really be this simple if you allow it.

Overall, if you follow these 3 skills, you will definitely become a better mystery shopper than you are right now. Remember, this applies to you whether this is your first or one hundredth shop.

Best Way to Grow Your Mystery Shop Skills

September 13th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

16It does not matter whether you are a new mystery shopper or you have been doing this for years; you can grow your skills at any level of your mystery shopping career.  To be the best at anything, you need to focus and grow your skill set. This takes time and dedication, yet it does not have to take all of your time. If you are strategic and plan accordingly, you can get a lot done in a small amount of time.


The absolute best way to grow your mystery shopper skills is to practice. Actually this is the best way to grow any skills. If you’re only doing one or two shops a year, there is no way you are going to learn the ropes of being a successful mystery shopper. You may be wondering how many shops you should complete per month or year. Well, this truly depends on your schedule and availability.

The ultimate best way is to practice your skills. And the best way to practice your skills is to mystery shop. There are a variety of mystery shops available. You can do apartment shops, restaurant evaluations, hotel shops; the list can go on. Choose the type of mystery shops you like the best, select a reputable mystery shopping company and start shopping!

For apartment shops, EPMS is one of the best companies. They have a variety of apartment shops to choose from along with the ability to select a majority of the available apartment shops to assign to yourself. Remember, you can always decide your schedule of shops based on your own free time. There is no clocking in or out with mystery shopping!

3 Tips for Target Shops

August 16th, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

13A target shop is when a specific person is designated for you to shop to assess his or her apartment needs investigation and demonstration skills over the phone and onsite. These shops can be fun!

Tip One – Start Calling As Soon As Possible

The first step is getting your target agent on the phone. This can take a little time as you are usually not aware of their working schedule ahead of time.

Tip Two – Think of 3-4 Excuses to End a Phone Call Ahead of Time

You will likely reach your target agent after having made several calls to the apartment community. You will need to make excuses to end phone calls where you do not reach the target as you should only complete the full phone assessment with your target agent. Some suggested excuses:

* Act as if a current resident, asking for office hours.

* Think of a name of another apartment complex and apologize, stating you meant to call the other complex.

Tip Three – Reach out to EPMS for Help

If you have tried to reach your target agent for 2-3 days, including 3-5 calls per day with no success, send EPMS a message through the ‘update’ link located within the assigned apartment shop information area online. They will be able to direct you on next steps so that you can complete the shop on time. Overall, target agent shops can take a little more effort so focus on making it a game. There is rarely a time where you will not reach your target agent, so just keep calling until you do!

Conducting the Phone Portion of a Shop

July 28th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet


There are typically two components to apartment shops and the first starts with a phone call. During with phone call, you will assess the leasing agent’s ability to learn your apartment home needs, share details about the community and apartment amenities, and entice you to visit the community and tour the facilities. This phone call is typically recorded. EPMS will provide a toll free number you will dial and enter a special code unique to that shop.


There will be times where you cannot get a leasing agent on the phone right away and you may need to either call back or in rare cases, leave a message. In those cases, if the leasing agent returns your call, you will need to make an excuse to call them back on the recorded line using the EPMS toll free number. With most apartment shops, you will either be assigned a specific leasing agent to call or you will have the opportunity to shop any agent that answers the phone.

Either way, it is up to you as a shopper to allow the leasing agent to do their best. Try not to lead the call as it is the leasing agent’s job to ask you questions and inspire you to take a tour. The phone shop must be completed prior to taking the in person tour, which you will always say yes to when and if it is offered by the leasing agent. Once you’ve completed a couple of phone assessments, you will see how easy they really are.  Do not worry and remember to allow the leasing agent the best opportunity to be successful!

3 Keys to Being a Successful Shopper

July 26th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

54Becoming a successful mystery shopper is simple, yet you must focus on three basic keys to make this happen.

#1: Know What You Are Looking For

Make sure to read through all of the instructions for each apartment mystery shop. Although all of the apartment mystery shops are listed on the same EPMS site, the apartment or property management companies who hire them may have different requirements.

Therefore, no matter how long you have been completing mystery shops, remember to read and take notes for each section of the shop requirements before completing the shop.

 #2: Stay Objective

Following tip number 1 will help you stay objective because you will know what is required of you and not worry if you are completing the shop correctly. This will allow you to stay calm and focused, giving the staff member ample opportunity to show you they are great at their job. You will then be prepared to create an accurate report for the mystery shopping company to submit to their client. The more focused and calm you are, the better the leasing associate can shine; it is a team effort!

 #3: Be On Time

Make sure that you arrive to complete the in person shop on time; before the leasing associate takes the last potential resident before closing. Always check with the leasing office as this is usually 30 minutes to an hour before the actual closing time. Being on time also applies to submitting your supporting documents (i.e. business card, brochure, etc) and the shop report by the due date. This should typically happen within 24 hours of completing the shop.

Overall, if you follow these three keys, you will be golden.