The Secret of Secret Shopping

As more and more people lose their jobs,  many will turn to the Internet for ways to make some extra money. Unfortunately Many scammers will do the same. I heard about a thing called “Secret Shopping” when I worked as a Optician, making and selling eyeglasses. My boss told me that his wife did it, And how to spot someone who was a Shopper.

If you don’t know what I am talking about,  I’ll give a brief description. There are companies that Contract with service and retail Companies to send people into their stores and evaluate the service of it’s employees.  As a shopper you are given specific instructions of what to buy, or  Sometimes Buy and Return. Then You fill out a questionnaire and if you have followed the instructions to a T they will refund your money but you get to keep the product. Sometimes you receive a small stipend in addition to the item.

There are a lot of companies out there that will hire Secret Shoppers over the internet, But there are a lot of companies that will rip you off too. If they ask for money up front, They are probably not legit. Even if they are, many companies don’t, so try them first.

I always check before I deal with anyone over the web. It has user generated content and companies have a chance to respond, so you get both sides of the story.

You can check the forums to find out who pays and who makes excuses.

But the title of this article has the word “Secret” in it, So you are probably looking for a secret aren’t you?  Well The Secret is…You don’t have to go through a Secret Shopping company to get paid. It’s called Customer service. Many companies will pay you for your feedback if you do it right. I once called Gorton’s Fish company to comment on their boxes. Big Box, Little Tiny fish sticks. They sent me a coupon for any Gortons product free.  I recently called CS for a winery to comment on how much I didn’t like their rubber corks. They sent me a check for the amount I paid for two bottles of wine. I called Taco Bell a while back and told them that their food did not look like their Menu Boards. Not only did they send me a coupon for a free meal, The next time I went in, there were two people interviewing Customers about the food.  I don’t know if it was purely because of me, I doubt it, But the bottom line is Companies WANT to hear from customers. Good or bad. Especially when the economy is stale, they want to find ways of improving their service.  Sometimes that is better than lowering prices.

So Just make a phone call, but Be polite, Being angry will get you nowhere. But let companies know how you feel about their service. Name Names only if necessary. Who knows? You may just get paid for your opinion. And leave a comment here if you do.