If You Can’t Say Something Nice – Offering Constructive Criticism

You already know the point of apartment mystery shopping is to offer feedback on your apartment shopping experience. Most of the time, you’ll have a good experience with good service. However, once in a while, the experience will be…less than desirable. It is in these instances that you need to be especially thoughtful about how you deliver your feedback. Clients want to know the facts, but they expect to receive that information with courteous, professional language.

For starters, remember that you’re not really looking for an apartment – you’re only pretending! This will go a long way to help you remain neutral and not rely on emotions to evaluate the shop. Sure, the apartment you’re looking at may be way out of the price range you would spend in real life or maybe it doesn’t look at all like the type of apartment you would choose. Keep in mind that your primary objective is to rate the service performance of the agent, not rank the actual apartment in terms of which looks nicest or has the best price. This way, you won’t feel indignant if the apartment is “too expensive” or “not new enough”.

When you complete a shop and the agent isn’t very friendly or helpful, do your best to stick to the facts instead of fixating on one specific behavior or statement. It’s okay describe your experience in terms of how you felt (i.e. “I felt like I was interrupting”, “I was not offered any refreshments”, or “I did not feel like the agent was motivated to help me”), but try to avoid making assumptions about the agent’s intentions or reasons for behavior. To state, “I was not greeted when I entered the office and waited several minutes until I was noticed” versus, “The agents were all very rude and completely ignored me when I came in because they were too busy chatting” is a more professional, non-emotional way of telling the story. Keep this in mind when listing areas for improvement, as well. For example, try saying, “She could have taken more time to ask about my needs before ending the call” instead of “Next time she could try to actually do her job and find out what I wanted”.

One other area where it is important to exercise tact is when you are describing the actual community. If a particular community is older and possibly in need of updates, but is otherwise tidy and well-kept, avoid making derogatory statements like, “The community was old and outdated”. Instead, try being more specific, like “The community grounds were free of trash and the landscaping was well maintained. The buildings looked like they could use a fresh coat of paint.”

All in all, remember that this is a business interaction. You are essentially working for the apartment management companies on a contract basis, so when you write a report, think of it as writing an email to your boss. You can share your concerns, but do so in a polite, professional manner. Doing this will help you to be a 5-star shopper!

Welcome to the Team! – Getting Started with Mystery Shopping

If you’re looking for a simple, flexible way to make some extra money this holiday season, you’ve come to the right place! Apartment mystery shopping is a great way to supplement your income on your terms. Shop compensation is paid via direct deposit once a month. You can find shops in your area (or in any area, if you’re planning to travel) and you can choose which shops you want to complete.

Before you can start shopping, you’ll need to visit our website to apply. You’ll complete the application and then review the reference materials to help you understand how it all works. Once you’ve completed the application process and have a shopper profile established, you’ll find we have multiple helpful resources on the home page, including several instructional videos. In addition, our staff is just an email away to help walk you through the application and shopping process.

Make sure you have access to a telephone as well as a computer with an Internet connection as most apartment mystery shops require you to complete a phone call and an on-site visit followed by an online report to evaluate the service you received. If you don’t have a computer at home, check out your local library to see if there are computers available for your use. You may also want to consider creating an extra email address or two that you can use for your apartment shopping.

Once you’re ready, you can log in, enter your zip code and find shops near you to work on. When you accept the shops, you will have a follow up person assigned to the shop who is there to help you. Anytime you are not sure how to proceed or have difficulty, you can use the little white envelope to send a message to your follow-up person for help. We’re looking forward to having you join our team!

3 Steps to Have Fun Shopping in 2017

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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!

Two Tips to Grow Mystery Shop Monthly Income

89Let’s face it, we mystery shop because we like to provide invaluable information to companies so they can continue to provide great customer service to their clients. However, we also like to make money. We have bills to pay and we want to enjoy life; that takes money.

First, decide how much money you want to make each month. You should determine how much extra money you want to make each month and you can decide a different amount from one month to the next. Remember, nothing is set in stone here.  From there, you can work out the math for how many shops you need to complete to make that amount of money.

The great thing about apartment shops is it costs no money for you to complete the shops, meaning  you do not have to buy any item or pay for  anything and wait to be reimbursed. This is great, not to mention apartment shops pay well.

You should check the mystery shop site weekly. There are some mystery shop companies that will send you weekly emails on what is available. Otherwise, you will need to check the site to make sure you are able to secure the shops you want to complete.

Mystery shopping gives you the flexibility to make more with less time invested than going to work. Take some time today to check EPMS and see what shops are available for you to complete during your spare time. You can thank me later!

Top Skills of Successful Mystery Shoppers

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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

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 Reasons to Mystery Shop Now

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Mystery shopping is a fun and engaging way to make sure companies are meeting their customer’s needs. Companies invest money to train their staff, so they want to make sure the staff is following the training. Mystery shops give companies the opportunity to collect data and gauge the performance of their staff.

 

One reason you should begin mystery shopping now is to make extra money. You get paid to complete mystery shops, which is a good thing as your time is valuable. The great thing about apartment mystery shops is that they pay well relative to completing other types of mystery shops. You can make as little or as much money as you like with mystery shopping. It simply depends on how much time you have and how confident you are with completing multiple shops.

Another reason to mystery shop is that you can work on your own time. You can choose mystery shops that fit in your schedule and you do not have to worry about clocking in or clocking out; there are no set schedules. Mystery shopping companies do not have a minimum number of shops you need to complete each month. It is completely up to your schedule.

Finally, you stand to gain new skills when you start mystery shopping. The more mystery shops you complete, the better you will be able to complete future shops. You will also feel more confident completing multiple shops, which allows you to get better shops over time. You will feel more comfortable completing numerous shops per month as you get the hang of what is required to complete a successful shop.

Overall, mystery shopping is great way to build your skill set, make more money, and make a difference in customer service.

Conducting the Phone Portion of a Shop

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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

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.

Customer Service Insights Derived From Mystery Shopping

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Working as a mystery shopper is a fun and equally important job. Your observations as a secret shopper have to be measured and they have to be accurate. A shopper should not make up scenarios when evaluating an employee; after all, the employees will be held to standards set by the employer. In other words, someone’s job depends on your accurate report. In addition, mystery shopping gives you an opportunity to hone your personal customer service skills in your own line of work.

 

When you complete your shops and are ready to write up your report, remember to give an accurate, detailed snapshot of what occurred. Once you have the ability to write the information clearly, you will see how it can also be helpful you in your own life.  The writing of emails and reports will suddenly seem smoother and you will be able to compose your thoughts on paper faster. Your ability to get a report completed with accuracy will be appreciated by your colleagues and boss alike.

Besides your writing skill, your power of observations will become better. You will be able to see a larger picture when you observe any given situation. This is a very useful skill as it will allow you to see most things in a clearer light. Observing a situation and assessing quickly is a necessary skill as a secret shopper and because you have used this skill, you will be able to see things others don’t.

So, keep shopping and keep those skills going!