Many people all over the world are making money as a mystery shopper. Thanks to the Internet, details on how to become a mystery shopper are widely available, taking the “mystery” out of the process.

Mystery shoppers provide a great service to retailers and service businesses. By walking into a business as an unknown – the basic, average, every day customer – mystery shoppers relate their experiences to corporate headquarters. Why would a big corporation rely on people they don’t know? Because their opinion counts! Mystery shoppers can get a more accurate look at the day to day operations of a business than a CEO can on a yearly visit. It’s a known fact that employees put their best foot forward when their boss is in the building. Mystery shoppers are an effective way for corporate offices to learn about the service, employee attitudes, and cleanliness of a business. If a customer walks into a fast food restaurant and is “greeted” by an indifferent employee and the place is a mess, that customer will likely tell other people. Word of mouth from one unsatisfied customer can kill business. That’s why mystery shoppers are so important.

There are many mystery shopper programs that enlist the help of average people every day. Some are scams and others are for real. How do you separate the two? Follow that old basic rule of thumb: If they ask you to pay to work for them, it’s a scam.

A legitimate company will not expect you to pay them in order to work for them. You wouldn’t expect to pay a doctor’s office to let you be a receptionist or a convenience store for the opportunity to be a cashier. Mystery shopping is a job, so there is no difference.

There is a mystery shopping certification available. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America offers such certification. With two certifications to choose from, potential shoppers may test online for certification that proves they have the basic skills needed to be a mystery shopper. A more expensive plan also covers some training for mystery shoppers. It is important to note that certification is not required to be a mystery shopper.

So, if you are looking for a way to make money part time, consider a career as a mystery shopper. Assignments might have you sampling yogurt, going to a movie, or eating out at a restaurant you might not normally go to!

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