Want to fill your cart without buyer’s remorse? Mystery shopping can be a great way to make extra cash while also shopping. But what if you don’t want to leave the house?
Turns out, you can still get the mystery shopper experience without even having to walk the endless aisles at the store. It’s all done over the phone, and it’s another completely legitimate way to make money right at home.
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How Does Telephone Mystery Shopping Work?
Most of the companies who want to hire someone like you (or the mystery shopping company you’d work for) are interested in an objective valuation of their customer service department. That’s where you come in!
To be a telephone mystery shopper, you’ll need to qualify and land the gigs. But once you’re in, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in these interesting and unique mystery “shops.”
Generally speaking, you’ll sign up at a website, have a chance to take a gig, and then get the instructions on how to perform it. You may be given a toll-free number that runs through the mystery shopping company and rolls forward to the client company or you may be responsible for the long-distance call yourself. You’ll also have a goal of some sort (like getting some specific information), and maybe even a “background story” or scenario to work with.
When the call is over, you’ll file a report on the call, sharing your experience and impressions. A recording of your phone call and your report may be provided to the client. It’ll also be the basis for your getting paid, so make sure you’re following all instructions with both the call and the write-up.
Once your call is done and your report is submitted, you’ll get paid! Each company’s pay timeframe and structure are different, so be sure to look into how it works when you sign up so you know what to expect. In many cases, you won’t receive payment instantly. It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet so you know when payments should be arriving.
Great Things About Phone Mystery Shopper Work
People who do mystery shopping over the phone love it for lots of great reasons. Payment may not always be quick, but it’s usually reliable. It’s the type of gig that you can schedule around your daily needs, which makes it extremely flexible work for people with disabilities, primary caregivers (for children or elderly parents, for example), students with erratic class schedules, or those who are just extremely busy but want to make some extra cash.
And finally, one of the great things about mystery shopping over the telephone is that your background noise is considered a good thing — it makes you appear more “legitimate” and will contribute to the experience that the client is hoping to witness — how their employees handle real, every-day interactions with customers. This is something you can do with barking dogs and noisy kids in the background!
The vast majority (if not all) of the mystery telephone jobs out there will hire you even if you have no work experience at all and won’t do a background check. Their primary concern is whether or not you’ll be able to perform the task at hand, so a lot of the hurdles you’d have to jump through to get other at-home work simply don’t exist. There often are age requirements, though — typically you have to be at least 18 years old.
I also noticed that many companies are hiring from countries all over the world, and not just English-speaking ones, either! If you’re bilingual or living someplace fairly exotic, there might be a great opportunity here for you to make some money doing something relatively simple.
Where to Find Telephone Mystery Shopper Jobs
These days, there are quite a few companies that hire mystery shoppers for telephone jobs. You can start your search at any or all of these places:
- ARC Call Performance Solutions — The pay rate for each call with ARC varies, but you’ll generally make between $3 and $12 per call you do. Payments are done through direct deposit. When you’ve been with the company for a while, you may have the chance to become a call center evaluator, which provides more steady work. Another great thing about ARC is: They hire from all over the world and bilingual speakers are especially welcome!
- Confero — Confero offers both in-person and phone shops, and they update their shop list daily. You’ll be doing things like customer service inquiries and price checks over the phone.
- Multi-Value — Registering for this site is quick and easy, and you’ll be able to access both in-person and telephone shops.
- Mystery Shopper Services — They specialize in all kinds of mystery shopping opportunities, and signing up to be a shopper is relatively simple.
- Perception Strategies — This company deals solely with healthcare institutions. Your role as a caller is to ask questions and evaluate how the customer service representative responds. They don’t record your calls, but they do ask for a highly detailed report. Between the call and the report, you can expect to spend about 20 minutes on a job, and you’ll get paid somewhere in the ballpark of $15 (sometimes more, sometimes less).
- Reality Based Group — RBG offers all kinds of mystery shopping opportunities, including in-person and video shops in addition to phone shops. Once you’re admitted to the program, you’ll have your pick!
- Secret Shopper — This website is primarily a mystery shopping site, but they also offer phone shops.
- Shoppers Critique — Another company offering all kinds of mystery shopping gigs, including calls. They also promise fast payment!
- SkilCheck — To work for this company, you’ll need to be able to make calls all over the U.S. with unlimited calling; phone-related expenses aren’t reimbursed.
- Talk2Rep — While they aren’t always hiring mystery shoppers, they do hire remote workers for all kinds of work-at-home opportunities. It’s worth checking this company out to see what might come up for you!
- Yardi Matrix — This company works primarily seasonally, and they operate within the real estate rental industry. You get a base hourly rate and then are paid per call that you make, with different payments for things like busy signals and answering machines. If you get a gig with Yardi Matrix, it will last about 8 weeks.
Things to Know About Being a Mystery Shopper
Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about being a telephone mystery shopper. The two main things have to do with money.
First of all, there really isn’t enough of this particular type of work to go around to bring in substantial amounts of money. If you’re hoping to replace a full-time or even part-time income, this is one of the things you can do but it won’t be enough to become the only thing you do.
The other financial thing to know is that you’ll be hired as an independent contractor, which means that you’ll be responsible for your taxes. There won’t be any W4s for you to fill out, and you’ll need to track how much you earn and set aside the right amount to send off to Uncle Sam every quarter. Not sure how to handle your taxes for this kind of thing? The best thing you can do is talk to a tax professional, but a good Google search should get you enough information to get started.