Mystery Shopping and more!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mystery Shopping- An additional source of income or an alternate career path

The technological developments of the last few decades have made the entire process of working as a Mystery Shopper a hassle free experience. The obvious perks are the extra money, free merchandise and services and flexible working hours. The key requirements to become a successful Mystery Shopper are good communication skills (both verbal and written), objective thinking and a detailed oriented approach to the review. These skills and associated benefits have bred a number of Mystery Shoppers who have ventured into the business as full time Mystery Shoppers. Housewives and market research students were the first to recognise the potential of this business as an alternate career path, but recent research has shown that many freelance writers, consultants and full time professionals are also jumping into the bandwagon.

Large urban areas have many malls, independent stores and shopping areas which are easily accessible. With proper planning, visits can be scheduled in such a manner that multiple outlets can be reviewed during each visit. Conducting a large number of reviews may be financially rewarding, but it requires meticulous planning to avoid confusion regarding the information collected and to maintain the quality of information collected across all reports.

However, multiple reviews are only assigned once a shopper is identified by the firm as a Star Shopper. The reports provided by the Mystery Shoppers are subsequently evaluated, scored, reported and implemented. Star Shoppers are treated as valuable assets as they provide excellent reports within the specified timelines. Also experienced Mystery Shoppers are provided with online tests and given certifications which enable them to choose the best reviews like Five Star properties, spas and services. The fees for such reviews are lot more than other reviews. Thus one can make the same amount of money for one quality review rather than aiming to conduct multiple reports for the same.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Good Customer Service: Important or Vital.

Customer service is the service that a customer receives before, during and after a purchase. When so many competitors are trying to reach out to new customers, it is vital for any profitable business to retain old customers. Being on par in terms of price and quality is just the first step, but it’s the customer service provided which results in brand building, customer satisfaction and retention, and financial growth.

It is a well researched fact that one bad experience may result in a loss of more than one prospective customer and it may even damage the company’s reputation. We live in the information age and word does travel fast, rather ‘e-travels’. On the contrary, retaining an old customer through good customer service may bring in many more through positive feedback. Walt Disney’s observation about the entertainment business is certainly applicable to all businesses. He said, “Do what you do so well, so that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

Also a positive stress on delivering excellent customer service reflects on the work culture and sales performance of the staff members. A friendly person who could sell would be an ideal employee, but maybe not easy to find. But timely training and feedback could do wonders in the overall approach and attitude of the staff members towards the customers. Do remember if you don’t serve your customers well, somebody else will.

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