Tag Archive for: mystery evaluator

It is everyone’s dream to get the best grade – in school, at work, and of course as a mystery shopper. Do you think your grades are too low? Would you like to know what you can do to raise them? There might be several reasons for receiving low grades, but the below advice might help you receive a higher one next time.

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Now of course, we at BARE International -and everyone else who doesn’t work here – do not condone lying as a reliable (no pun intended) or virtuous way of living; indeed, you can get into very serious trouble, should you knowingly tell untruths (you can go to jail for lying in a court of law, for example). So lying is not okay… typically, but we’re all so good at it! Moreover, we begin doing it very early on, some researchers say as early as 6 months old.
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The title itself might be somewhat misleading, if not an outright porky pie. But much in the same way this piece will illustrate, it is in no way harmful, and can be in fact beneficial to both parties (the writer and the reader). The kind of slight-of-hand I’m talking about is utilized by Mystery Shopping, an intriguing, interesting and ultimately fib-fueled world, in which lying helps everybody concerned.
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As children we are all taught – and rightly so – that lying is unequivocally a ‘Bad Thing’, discouraged at all levels by any parent/teacher worth their salt. But here’s the kicker: sometimes it can actually be used for good, and I’m not talking about the little white lies that occur from day to day (”that was delicious!”), nor the big-time (”the moon landing was faked”) kind of lie, but rather a type of lying that can help improve the situations for all involved.
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Don’t believe me? Then I’d say fair enough, considering the above paragraph’s content (and that it’s healthy to have a good dose of cynicism when it comes to reading things on the internet).
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But please, allow me to convince you…
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1 – NO ONE GETS HURT
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To the uninitiated, Mystery Shopping might seem like some clandestine, covert black market; a situation where unsuspecting staff are duped by officious, clip board-wielding telltales clad in beige trenchcoats while wearing sunglasses. shutterstock_369099806-copy2That’s only partly true (they don’t really wield a clipboard, though the “I Spy” attire is optional); certainly, the employees of our clients are never mislead or tricked into something untoward, and aren’t in any danger of immediate negative repercussions. The closest it can come to, for example, is a project in which our Evaluators (a fancy word for Mystery Shopper) will appear overtly suspicious during a shop, asking odd questions and generally trying to set off alarm bells in the employee they’re auditing; such signaling might be picked up and acted upon, though even if it is missed, that’s important and useful data too.
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But the key thing to remember is that it’s a completely safe situation – there’s never been an instance of someone losing their job due to a Mystery Shop, and there never will be. Our Evaluators pose as regular shoppers to aid the actual regular shoppers, and help sharpen the staff of whichever business they have chosen to evaluate.
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2 – ALL-INCLUSIVE IMPROVEMENT
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Of course, humans aren’t the only animals that lie: a few years ago Koko the Gorilla (celebrated for her 1,000+ sign language vocabulary) asked for a kitten to have as a pet, such is her affinity toward felines. Like many, Koko likes to take the credit for her good behavior and blames the bad on someone else. After ripping out a sink from the wall of her habitat, her humans asked what happened.
Koko signed, “The cat did it.”
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Setting aside any ethical concerns, the truth is that when you do a spot of Mystery Shopping, therefore inherently not telling the whole truth, it is good for everybody: good for us (the company on whose behalf you’re Mystery Shopping ); good for the market (as it keeps the ecosystem strong); good for the store (provides useful analytics with which they can improve themselves and their staff); good for the customer (better quality staff & store means better quality shopping & service); and of course, good for you (you stand to make that bit extra at the end of an otherwise predictable month)!
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Customer Experience Research is the name of the game – there’s a formula we use that is as follows: ECX = OE + EC + CS, which stands for Excellent Customer Experience = Operational Excellence + Employee Commitment + Customer Satisfaction. Instead of seeing lies in a single category of selfish and wrongheaded behavior, it’s possible to think critically of lying and to consider instances where it can be productive and healthy. As a first step, you can allow yourself to not feel guilty about what you’re talking about during your Mystery Shop: in fact, a great many of our Evaluators thoroughly enjoy the role-playing aspect of the visits, performing the scenarios confidently and coming up with added details to embellish their backstories. We all like to pretend to be someone else, especially if we’re permitted – and paid!
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Speaking of which…
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3 – YOU GET PAID FOR SERVICES RENDERED
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Either in the form of a shop fee or as a reimbursement, you’ll be able to rack up considerable extra cash come the end of the month. That means you’re able to boost your income by doing a test drive for one of our automotive projects, while also picking up a pair of new shoes effectively gratis (as amount you paid can be remunerated). Fancy a stay in a hotel, on the house? Be my guest. There’s nothing quite like waltzing through the door and giving a false name at the reception; and who doesn’t like knowing they’ve got away with even the simplest bluff (most people are better at it that they’d probably like to think: in a 10 minute conversation with a stranger, we humans will tell an average of 3 lies, though the majority rarely even realize they’re doing it). In addition to the well-known bassline of Mystery Visits, there are several ways in which to make it work best suited your own routine; if you don’t feel like leaving the house there’s Mystery Calling & E-Mailing, used for checking customer service, response time and ease of use.
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Okay, so the previous sentence might sound like it came off the back of one of our recruitment flyers (it didn’t), but the point I’m making is that you needn’t be Lance Armstrong to be one of our Mystery Evaluators. It’s a simple job, and can easily be done well. What’s more, you’ll never have to pay for the privilege of Mystery Shopping, and never should.
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BONUS 4th REASON! – THE MORE THE MERRIER
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In short: we’ll pay you a bonus for every friend you recommend, and the cherry on top is that it won’t negatively affect you in any way at all – many of our projects have a mandatory “cool down” period between shops, so even if you wanted to perform visits week-in-week-out, there’s no guarantee you’d be able to. Introducing someone you know to us is the easiest way in which to keep a healthy cycle time ticking over, meaning that even when you’re unable to do a shop, your friend will be.
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So, to conclude: there are times when not telling the truth is a good thing. Lying to help another person or their business is and should be perceived as good, while lying which has no effect – or actually harms others – is of course wrong. The thing to remember is that, done properly, Mystery Shopping reveals a bevy of benefits, by enticing businesses to up their game (perhaps if a rival seems to be pulling ahead), or even to practice new policies (if their previous form isn’t up to scratch), and that is a benefit to us all as customers. If the boss is evaluating an employee, they’re bound to be on their best behavior: a Mystery Shopper ensures a realistic evaluation based on how employees interact with real customers and not just their supervisors.
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Apologies for such a clickbait-y title, though I suppose you could even consider it as something of a white lie: yes, I’ve slightly exploited your curiosity, but now both of us have benefited – with you learning a little bit about something you (presumably) didn’t really know much about before, and me getting to spread the word. You can’t say we don’t practice what we preach. I mean, would I lie to you?


Author: Richard

Richard is a real community builder, involved in various activities within the office, helps charities and has a degree in filmmaking and screenwriting. He’s a ”Creative”, interested in telling stories, making connections and helping generate ideas. An avid reader, he is passionate about gaming, food (don’t feed him after midnight) and history. He has plans for the future, and you -the one reading this sentence- are part of them.


Interested in becoming an Evaluator with BARE International?

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Many of us already had the experience of going out the door to do “some” shopping but ending up with half of the bank account empty. But did you now that some people are actually paid by a company to go shopping? In that case, they all of a sudden get the label of “Mystery Evaluator”. Of course there is more to it. These shoppers then become secret agents of what is called “Mystery Customer Research”. 

Now, what exactly is this taboo called Mystery Customer Research? Mystery Customer Research is a simple act of shopping where everyday people with an eye for detail go shopping, go to a restaurant or take an airplane, while they actually get paid to do this! These “undercover shopaholics” then fill in a questionnaire evaluating the service they had been given. This way they help companies obtain valuable information concerning their own services, enabling them to improve customer satisfaction, and consequently increasing profits.

 

So what does Mystery Shopping exactly look like?

shutterstock_97220222_resizedTom Johnsson goes to a fast-food chain. On his way over, he pays attention to whether there are street signs guiding him to the restaurant he is looking for. Once he gets there:

  • He checks whether the restaurant and its employees are clean and not too smelly.
  • He also focuses on the time spent queuing.
  • Once he gets to order his meal, Tom observes whether the cashier is friendly and helpful.
  • When he takes his first bite, he must try not to lose himself in the delicious taste of his fast-food hamburger.
  • After he gets home he has to fill in his questionnaire with every single little detail of the visit.

 

However, Tom is happy to have his burger for free, and the fast-food chain will be pleased as well when the questionnaire is filled in correctly. This scenario will be repeated by many shoppers, in multiple restaurants of the chain, during a period that can vary depending on the desires of the brand in question. The overall evaluation will enable them to look for solutions as how to do better on both general and shop level.

It goes without saying that there is more than mystery shopping alone. Sometimes the evaluator is only asked

  • To make a phone call,
  • To act as future client, or
  • To give feedback to the salesperson after the mystery evaluation is performed.

 

But the aim of all this will remain the same: to improve customer satisfaction. Either you are a Mystery Evaluator or a normal person with no secret life, I’m sure you would like the extra spending money or getting nice products for free. If you simply want to enjoy the experience as a Mystery Evaluator, then this is your chance to try it out.

 


Author: AnneloreAnnelore Valencia_edited

Annelore has been an employee of Bare International since September 2011 and is based in the Antwerp Office. She has a Master’s degree in English & Spanish literature & linguistics and a Master’s in Management. She likes discovering new places, travelling, reading and going out with friends to enjoy some very good (Belgian) beers.


Interested in becoming an Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Mystery Evaluator’s Community?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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A short summary of a guy, who met Mystery Shopping, and was instantly dropped into the deepest waters with Switzerland as a Resource Manager.

The first encounter

During my interview in February 2015 at Bare International I was faced with the question, which country I thought was easy to schedule. Based on my previous experiences, I mentioned Switzerland, Austria and Germany. I had worked with people from these countries, and we always got on very well, so I thought it could not be really hard.

The nice lady, who was present (to be my boss for my first 6 months at Bare International), immediately told me, that Switzerland was anything but easy. But then she also told me that if I thought I could manage, she’d like to see it. Not very surprisingly, I ended up scheduling Switzerland two months later.

First steps as a Resource Manager

After the initial shock of starting at a new workplace, the first trainings and the takeover from my colleague, I ended up with a complicated project and a high number of visits to perform. And that was the time when I learned to trust and rely on my Evaluators – it was a really hard time, but it was worth the experience.

I received loads of help from my fantastic colleagues regarding the language problems – French is not my strongest side – and also in finding new people to work with us. Without them, my first few months would have been much harder.

I also had the privilege to organize and participate in a meeting with our Evaluators in Geneva. Although it was organized under strict deadlines, everyone enjoyed it nevertheless. Meeting the people who work for us helped me a lot – they know me now personally. We are more to each other, than a mere email address.

The current situation

I am very happy that I can work with all the Evaluators from Switzerland and with this post I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of them, who are helping me to do my job as best as I can. It is a pleasure to work with you all. Let’s continue this in the future as well!

Speaking about mystery shopping, BARE International is my first experience in this field, and I thought I’d try it myself – thanks to the scheduler for Hungary, I now have my first visits behind me. I can now tell my Evaluators not to be afraid of the visits or our system – both can be mastered. However, if something comes up, I’m always there to help.

 


 

Author: ÁkosÁkos_blogger_pic_edited

Ákos is a full-time employee of Bare International.
He works as a scheduler for Switzerland and is a member in the Social media team. He likes travelling, cars, and craft beers. He has a diploma in German Literature and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Besides English and German, he is trying to master French and speaks Norwegian reasonably well.

 


Interested in becoming an Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Mystery Evaluator’s Community?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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A few years ago I was surfing on the internet when I saw the ad: „Get paid for shopping.”
Hahaha! Could it sound more like a scam? I am not falling for this. Or am I?

It somehow still made me thinking… Well, I heard about this guy who does mystery shopping and he never complained. Checking out the company’s website won’t hurt. I started exploring the page…
I saw logos of prestigious clients, I even discovered some brands I liked. I remembered, last time I went to that shop, the salesperson was really rude and I had the feeling I was ruining her life by asking for a smaller size of that shirt. How funny it would be to go to that very same shop and leave feedback about her. I will register.


What? Why on earth do they have to know how tall I am?
Later a friend told me that her boyfriend had registered for a mystery shopping company. They called him to offer him a mystery visit including a test drive with one of the world’s smallest car. They asked him how tall he was. After he said he was 1.92, the agent kindly apologized for having called him. He would not even fit in the tiny car.

 

And also my bank account number?
OK, they have to pay me somehow. I guess if it is only the account number, not the credit card number and my PIN, it is pretty safe. After I registered, I was checking my job-board regularly, but there were mostly visits which required owning a car, so I didn’t apply for any of them. As a funny twist in life, I came across another mystery shopping company when I was looking for a job. BARE International hired me as a recruiter. My job is to look for people in several countries, who are interested in doing mystery visits. I thought it would be beneficial to try mystery shopping, so that I can answer the people’s question and I know exactly what I am offering them

 

Mystery shopping, here I come! But how is it all done?
How could I learn it? I am so confused…oh, there is an online training! Sounds good. I went through the slides and the test, I have to admit it took a lot of time and I wanted to give up at some point. But I remembered, every time we start something new, we have to invest time and energy into learning it.

 

I visited my job-board and found some mystery calls.
Before the visit I had to read the long guidelines but at least I was confident on what to do while on the phone. When I finally dialed the call center, my knees were shaking like jelly and I thought they knew instantly that I was a mystery shopper. I was shivering and stuttering. It took at least 5 minutes to feel normal again. I will never forget that rush of adrenalin in my body. Fortunately, the customer service representative on a the other end of the line was doing a very decent job and I was happy to leave a feedback about him in the online questionnaire. I hope his boss will read it and he will get promoted! Since then I have done several mystery calls. Sometimes it was a pleasant experience.

 

Yet, other times I received terrible customer service.
First I felt very bad reporting about it in the questionnaire. I felt like I betrayed the customer service representative. But I developed this theory, that if they do not have the necessary communication skills and inner motivation to behave recpectfully with the customers, they should change jobs and do something they really like.

 

I can say that including the good and bad aspects, I became a fan of mystery shopping.
I like the adrenaline rush, when I start an assignment. I appreciate working in such a „green industry”. There is no production, no printing, everything goes online. Last but not least I like the moment when I receive the notification that my shop fee was transferred to my account. Some say the payment is low, but usually it’s enough to cover a good dinner in a restaurant. Money best spent.


 

Author: Szintia 1601260_10203075703433404_7153695029350124384_n

Szintia is an employee of Bare International.
Besides her work in the Social Media and Recruitment team, she loves sports, travelling, and she is learning her 6th language. She is a Couchsurfer. She has a master’s degree in Strategic HR Management and she is a professional pastry chef.

 


Interested in becoming an Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Mystery Evaluator’s Community?

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I started working in the mystery shopping industry for BARE International in 2015.
BARE International is one of the market-leading companies providing mystery customer research and auditing services at a national and global level. A mystery evaluator is a freelancer who goes to specific shops pretending to be a regular customer whilst keeping an eye on all details, because after the store visit they have to answer questions about the customer service.

As a newcomer at the company I wanted to learn as much as possible.
I was curiously asking my colleagues about their positions and responsibilities. One key account manager told me that she was the main point of contact for the clients: she mapped their needs; she helped them set up the group of questions that mystery customers would have to answer, and reported the results to the clients.

Some clients need help in setting up the questions?
It fully surprised me. I have to admit I have full respect for our clients: they realized the importance of customer satisfaction, they are ready to get feedback and they are even paying for it.
But how can one ask for feedback if one is not even sure what he or she wants to know? It made me think…

There can be a parallel drawn between customer satisfaction and life satisfaction.
I work in an industry where we sell feedback to clients who ask for it. These companies have a healthy level of self-criticism to hear an honest opinion about the customer service they provide. They are ready to hear it. They are keen on improving.

Are we ready to receive a detailed feedback about our lives?
We don’t necessarily have to ask others to provide it in the first place. Mystery evaluation made me realize that the most important thing is to be able to set up our questionnaire and to be aware of what the most crucial things are for us to be satisfied. I think my questions would be: Do I spend enough time with the ones I love? Do I keep travelling? Is there enough music and sport in my life? Am I in a good mood on Monday mornings? Can I be proud of my professional and private life achievements when I look back to past years? The list is much longer of course, and will be changing constantly during the course of my life.

What questions would you ask yourself?
Have you thought about them yet?
Are you ready to give yourself feedback?


 

Author: Szintia 1601260_10203075703433404_7153695029350124384_n

Szintia is an employee of Bare International.
Besides her work in the Social Media and Recruitment team, she loves sports, travelling, and she is learning her 6th language. She is a Couchsurfer. She has a master’s degree in Strategic HR Management and she is a professional pastry chef.

 


Interested in becoming an Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Mystery Evaluator’s Community?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com