Don’t Blow Your Mystery Shopper Cover

Our apartment mystery shops are intended to be anonymous.  The leasing professional you shop should never think of you as anyone other than a real prospect.  We sometimes hear from shoppers that their biggest fear is of being “spotted” as a shopper.  What can you do to decrease the chance of tipping off the team member that you may be a mystery shopper?

  • If you are shopping a target agent, don’t ask for them by name on the phone (right away).  If you have not reached your target after a few calls, our team may advise you to ask for them by first name only.  If a prospect is referred to a community by a friend, they likely would not give the first and last name of the individual they recommend.
  • Try not to sound certain at the beginning of the call that you plan to visit the community in person.  Allow the leasing professional to lead the call, determine your needs and build value.  YOU know that an in person visit will usually follow, but don’t jump to it too soon.
  • If you are shopping a target agent and they are not available when you arrived onsite, don’t give the impression that the world had just ended.  Behave as you would in a real leasing situation.  It is entirely reasonable that a prospect would prefer to meet with the same person they spoke with on the phone, but they would not insist on doing so.  If the target is not available even after you agree to wait a reasonable amount of time, continue with whomever is available.  Appearing too upset at being passed off to someone else is often a red flag of a shopper.
  • As the visit progresses, remember to stay “in character” as a prospect.  What features would you want to look closely at?  What questions would you ask?  Behave as you would if you were truly considering that community for your home.

Even after taking every precaution, sometimes a shopper’s cover is blown.  What should you do if you feel like you’ve been spotted onsite?

  • Don’t let your imagination get carried away.  We do thousands of apartment mystery shops every month, and it is pretty rare for a shopper’s identity to be compromised onsite.  Don’t assume the worst!
  • Do not EVER admit you are a shopper.  Even if the leasing agent asks you directly, do not own up to it.  Just continue your story as if you were a prospect.
  • Do not identify yourself as a shopper in a follow up contact.  If you speak with the leasing agent in a phone follow up, don’t say you were a shopper.  Don’t “unsubscribe” from email contacts or say that you would prefer not to be contacted.

Keep in mind that most leasing agents have no idea that the person they are speaking with is not a real prospect.  If you are concerned after a phone call or visit, please let our team know.  If the call was recorded, we can review it and advise you on how to proceed.  If you feel you were spotted onsite, we will let you know the next steps, depending on the circumstances.  Don’t let a case of nerves or awkwardness cause you to second guess yourself as an apartment mystery shopper.

How Mystery Shopping Can Help You Get Back on Your Feet

mystery-shopperHave you just lost your job and you are steady sending out resumes and nobody is knocking on your door? Well I was once that person too. I lost my job after working there for 15 years and was left to fend for myself. Sure I got a small severance pay after the company paid off it’s debt first because of misuse of the money it was making. Now I was still jobless with money running low and bills still running high. Sound familiar? Well if it is then you should try mystery shopping!

Mystery shopping is the new crave of today. Yes there are some out there that say it doesn’t work or something negative about it but I will tell you this. It does work. What’s so hard about getting a shop which is the job that you are required to do and then completing a survey or questionnaire type form with a report of your findings and experience and then turning it in for payment? Does that sound hard? Some shops pay from 20 dollars to 60 dollars and you can complete them in about 3 hours or less which in today’s society is good money. I don’t know about you but that’s $20 an hour and that’s pretty good for a part-time position.

So if you are looking to do something fulfilling that won’t tie your entire day up and won’t have you fighting through traffic then mystery shopping is the way to go!

Insider Tips For Mystery Shops

insider-tips-mystery-shoppingThere are several insider tips on how to get your mystery shops done quickly and accurately. The most important tip is organize and stay organized!

When you get your assignment assigned, ensure you either print out or write down the information that includes the contact person if any, telephone number, and if there are any days not allowed to shop or specific dates and times you are supposed to conduct the shop.

If you are conducting an apartment mystery shop, pay attention to if the assignment states whether this company keeps computer telephone records of previous calls since you may have to change your name, telephone number, and email address if you performed a previous shop for that apartment management company.

Using these tips can save you endless hours of work since you can have a shop denied for not meeting all the contract specifications.

Always remember to review the questions on the form before you begin your shop. I usually take the form with me in my car to review right before I conduct the shop, which helps me to remember what I need to do.

Lastly, do not forget that once you leave the mystery shop location, it is important to write down as many items as you can remember from your visit.

Being organized with the proper information and reviewing the questions necessary to perform the mystery shop will prove invaluable in accurately and quickly completing your mystery shops.