Imagine being paid to get elaborate salon treatments done! Or perhaps getting a free lunch at a fancy restaurant in Ahmedabad! Sounds like an irresistible deal for us Amdavadis, isn’t it? All this is possible, if and only if you are a mystery shopper who has undertaken mystery shopping assignments!
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery Shopping is a research tool deployed by most corporate giants to evaluate their services and at times their products. The process is simple, any general person is allowed to sign up for a mystery shopping experience assignment and all the person has to do is visit the outlet of the client, judge the services and products on certain parameters. The shopper is then expected to share their feedback and is given an incentive in return for their efforts. These incentives range from free services to a pre-decided considerable cash stipend.
The Ahmedabad Blog connected with Pankaj Guglani, Founder – RedQuanta, a Mystery Shopping firm, to understand the concept of mystery shopping better:
Do you have any criteria for selecting mystery shoppers?
Pankaj Guglani: A prospective mystery shopper could be anyone with good observational skills and one who takes his/ her opinions seriously. Good communication skills, being net savvy, are few of the general requirements. RedQuanta then matches the profiles of these shoppers; their age, income and lifestyle to the client’s target customer base. For example, for the audit of a luxury brand, we would require a shopper who falls in the income group of 20 lakh plus per annum.
How do you define the ideal shopper?
Pankaj Guglani: Like mentioned earlier, an ideal Mystery Shopper would be somebody who has good observation skills and an eye for detail. They must also be street-smart (so they don’t give away the fact and make it too obvious that they are a mystery shopper). Good communication skills are also a must, over and above that an ideal mystery shopper must be enthusiastic about carrying out these assignments and getting their opinion heard.
Why should more Amdavadis take up mystery shopping?
Pankaj Guglani: Businesses all around are waking up to the potential of mystery shopping. And not just customer facing, but clients in the B2B scenario are also using mystery shopping as a tool to evaluate their processes. Customer is after all the ‘King’ and for any business, knowing where you stand straight from the horse’s mouth is the reason behind mystery shopping as a growing business. Thus with Ahmedabad being an extremely fast emerging market, an exercise like Mystery Shopping can regulate quality check. Also Mystery shopping gives individuals a chance to make their feedback count, and what’s more they are paid for it. Incentives are in kind and/ or cash. It could be free services at a salon or spa, a chance to holiday with your loved one, shopping for yourself, a meal at your favourite restaurant, the list goes on. And the money could fall anywhere in the range of Rs. 300 – Rs.20,000. It also gives a sense of fulfillment and excitement to many people, as our mystery shoppers are freelancers working with us. For homemakers and people stuck in routine jobs, it’s a welcome change. For students, it’s a way to earn extra pocket money.
The Real Mystery Shoppers Of Ahmedabad
Amdavadis love free stuff, be it free plastic containers with ice cream packs or the free coriander with the veggies. We just love it when we get more for the price we pay and thus mystery shopping is the ideal past time for many Amdavadis. According to RedQuanta, there were about 2000 mystery shoppers from Ahmedabad registered on their website and within a span of 1 year there are over 5000+ mystery shoppers in Ahmedabad alone. What’s more interesting is the fact that a typical mystery shopper in Ahmedabad can earn anything between Rs. 15,000 to 40,000; depending on the number of assignments they undertake. Moreover, the age group of mystery shoppers in Ahmedabad ranges from 20-40 primarily.
The Ahmedabad Blog connected with a few mystery shoppers from the city to understand the process better. Pinky Somani and her husband Amit are avid mystery shoppers. Pinky has been a mystery shopper for more than 4 years and is associated with around 5 Mystery Shopping companies and undertakes anywhere between 10 – 15 mystery shopping assignments in a month! “I enjoy doing inspection as these mystery audits will help these brands provide better quality services int he future. Moreover, the incentives in the form of free services or cash depending upon the assignment is attractive as well.” said Pinky. She adds, “It’s genuinely a good experience and we have encouraged other family members too to take up mystery shopping assignments!”
A mystery shopper who wishes to stay anonymous said, “Though it might sound fun to get paid to shop or eat out, it’s just a way to make a quick buck. Businesses often want a detailed report of the mystery shopper’s experience. After every restaurant evaluation, I spend about an hour’s worth of paperwork.” She also adds that, “It may seem very tempting, but mystery shopping should be looked upon only as a supplementary income.”
Jay Shah, a young college student who is a mystery shopper for an Australian firm shares a completely different take on this experience, “Mystery shopping is like being an undercover agent. Especially in tricky situations when I need to get the name of the manager without sounding obvious or I need to checkout the restroom. But in the end, it feels good as I help the brand improve their services. So in a way, it’s like putting on an invisible mask; Bruce Wayne by day, Batman by night!”
Have you ever been a mystery shopper? Share with us your experiences in the comments below!