Do you love shopping? How would you like to get paid for it? Then maybe this next gig is your calling. It’s called mystery shopping, and it’s where companies pay secret shoppers to test out products, services, and experiences.
But wait. What if you need to work from home because you’ve got kids, or you don’t have transportation? Well, did you know that it’s possible to be a mystery shopper with nothing more than a telephone in most cases?
If you’re comfortable talking on the phone, and this sounds like a fun opportunity, read on to find out how it works, the pros and cons, what it pays, and where to find telephone mystery shopping jobs you can do from home (while avoiding the scams).
How does telephone mystery shopping work?
Generally speaking, a telephone mystery shopper will be hired to evaluate the customer service department objectively. There will be no sales involved, but you may be required to make a high volume of calls in a short period.
Here is the procedure to get started:
- Sign up on a website (some of these are listed below), and complete its application form.
- If you qualify, you’ll be offered gigs with instructions on how to perform them. This could be attaining specific information, and you may be given a particular scenario to work with. Following these instructions well will determine your payment.
- You could be given a toll-free phone number that routes to the client company via the mystery shopping company, or you may be responsible for the cost of the calls.
- Once you’ve made the call, you will be expected to write a report rating your experience and impressions.
- Submit your report and get paid according to the particular mystery shopping company’s payment schedule and structure (find out what that is before signing up).
What does telephone mystery shopping work pay?
Because telephone mystery shoppers are vetted for their phone manner and etiquette, the pay can be quite decent compared to in-person mystery shopping. Once you’re in with a reputable company, you can expect a reliable wage doing something that’s relatively easy. Payment per completed call varies between companies, but you have the potential to earn $15-$25 per hour, sometimes more and sometimes less.
What does a telephone mystery shopper need to apply?
You will usually be expected to use your own cell phone, and you will need access to a computer and the internet to email your reports. Typically you need to be over 18 years of age, and many companies will hire you without any experience at all or background checks. If your application is accepted, you could be expected to complete a company’s training or work for a probationary period.
What are the pros of working as a telephone mystery shopper from home?
- Some companies expect you to work a minimum number of hours per week, meaning you could receive a predictable income.
- This work offers flexibility to work from home around your other commitments.
- Background noise is actually a good thing, basically because it tests how the client company’s customer service staff can handle challenges like noisy kids or barking dogs.
- Some companies are offering jobs worldwide, so it’s ideal if you want to travel or if you speak another language.
- Often, the more work you do, the more you’ll be offered.
What are the cons of working as a telephone mystery shopper from home?
- Because there isn’t always telephone mystery shopping work available, it might be a good idea not to replace other reliable jobs with it, but rather do it in addition to other work-from-home jobs.
- As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for your own taxes. You will need to learn how to track your earnings or hire an accountant to help you.
- Beware that there are scams out there (read on to find out how to avoid them).
Which legitimate companies hire telephone mystery shoppers to work from home?
Many companies hire mystery shoppers for telephone jobs, but here are five to get you started. Take time to review their websites, application processes, conditions, whether they service your area, and their payments via the links here:
The role of Perception Strategies mystery shoppers is to evaluate the patient and consumer experience in the healthcare industry.
If you’re a successful applicant with InteliChek, you will be expected to be a regular shopper and need to be available at least 15 hours per week. Most calls will be within the automotive industry, but you may also call other sectors.
ARC is looking for shoppers with ‘an excellent telephone presence, keenly developed listening skills, strong attention to detail, excellent writing skills, and objectivity.’
4. Confero Inc.
This company evaluates call centers or individual locations. Calls are recorded so that the client company can listen in at any time to hear how well their employees handle calls.
Operating since 1990, Secret Shopper has shoppers all over the globe with jobs that are based online, onsite, and on the phone.
While FlexJobs isn’t a mystery shopping company, they do post legit mystery and secret shopping jobs on their website. Just note, because FlexJobs screens every job posting for legitimacy, they do charge a small subscription fee for the service. You can read Holly’s full review of FlexJobs here.
A final word on being a telephone mystery shopper from home
Now that you know how it works, how to get started, the pros and cons, and even some companies you could work with, do you think it’s a job you would be interested in?
There is one final thing you need to be aware of before pursuing this easy and well-paid opportunity. If a mystery shopping company asks for fees of any kind from you or asks you to wire money, run! It’s not a legitimate business.
Do not provide any personal information other than what the company needs to pay you, which is usually via PayPal or direct deposit. The company will probably require you to complete a W9 tax form to report your earnings to the IRS but don’t give your details until you’re confident it’s a legitimate company.
Before registering with any telephone mystery shopping companies, head to the Federal Trade Commission’s information page on Mystery Shopper Scams. Additionally, you can look at our article on How to Recognize and Avoid Work-at-Home Scams. Best of luck!