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OK, for those of you who read my recent review about Retail Eyes - Mystery Shopping, this review is going to be very similar except with different aspects as I believe this company to be slightly better!
Again I'll start by telling you what exactly Mystery Shopping entails:
What is Mystery Shopping?
Being a mystery shopper is all about being paid to eat out/shop/purchase items/evaluate a service very discreetly without the selected company realising what you are doing. For example, you could be paid to go to a shop and evaluate the service you receive and the cleanliness of the store and maybe even purchase something. Then after the visit you have to fill in a questionnaire all about your experience and submit it to the shopper company (in this case retail maxim).
How do I register?
Registration is dealt with via the internet. You have to log onto the internet and fill out a section with all of your details. Like retail eyes, you then have to wait to see if you have been accepted only with this company it takes a lot longer. Retail Maxim require you to complete what is known as a "Dummy Shop" in other words, you will not be paid for it as it just to evaluate your skills and acertain whether or not you would be suitable.
This does not require a purchase. You are still required to fill in a questionnaire and submit it onto the website. All of the details on how to do this are given to you at registration when you receive description of the dummy shop. Don't worry it's not as bad as it seems! In my dummy shop I was asked to pick any high street shop and enter it as a normal customer (never give away the fact you are a mystery shopper) and enquire about a summer jacket. Like I said, no purchase is necessary it just to see how observative you are.
How am I paid?
There are two ways to get paid. The easiest way is to provide your bank details (although I know not many people will feel comfortable doing this) I have used this way and never had a problem. I believe with Retail Maxim it is the 25th of each month and the money you have earnt as well as all of your reimbursements are paid into your bank account. The second option is to provide your address details and they will send you out a cheque. Another good side to this website is that they email you on every pay day with a wage slip for your records so it seems more professional than other websites.
What is the pay like?
Purely because they require you to do a dummy shop and because it takes longer to be accepted with them they pay slightly higher than the other companies like retail eyes who dont need as much information from you. The pay is between £6-£10 and on average is normally around the £7 mark.
How often will I get assignments?
As with all the other companies its upto you when and where you accept assignments, however there can be times when there is no work available in your area. You don't have to search for assignments with Retail Maxim either as they send you a text everytime they have something suitable for you in the area which saves on disappointment if you don't meet the criteria as they dont text you unless you do! You are given a phone number to ring and a ref number to quote which means that if you have any questions regarding the assignments you can ask there and then rather than waiting for days on end for an email reply. This I find to be a big plus point.
The website is very easy to use and has all of the information you will need. With each assignment you are given a job number and a shopper number so you only ever need to go onto the website to register and then after each assignment to submit your questionnaire. Other than that just sit back and wait for them to text you.
What equipment will I need?
You need to have easy access to the internet as reports have to be submitted 24 hours after an assignment, no longer! A printer to print out the paperwork for any assignments you do. A scanner so that you can scan over a copy of the receipt with your finalised questionnaire ( it is essential to keep your receipts as proof that you have been and done the assignment and so they know how much to pay you.) Although sometimes they do not require a receipt from you. I keep all of mine just incase.
The details they need from you are your basics such as name, address, phone number (incase they query one of your assignments etc) they also require you to fill in a small survey about your interests so that they can match assignments that would be suitable for you which is quite nice of them. Also the website is very secure and all of your details are kept confidential. When you are finally accepted they also require you to either post them or email them a photo of yourself for their records.
There is no official training although with this company you do have to complete the Dummy Shop which I suppose in itself is a form of training or practice. There are lots of hints and tips on the websites which explain all about mystery shopping which I found to be quite helpful.
Like I have already mentioned, work is not always available depending on your area. Also you have to have the money available to you to carry out an assignment and then they reimburse you for it later on. This I find can be a downfall sometimes as you can only accept assignments you have the money to complete.
Retail Maxim DO pay you for your expenses so with every assignment you complete they will pay you for your petrol and any other expenses such as parking tickets etc. Again a huge thumbs up for me because it makes doing the assignments all the more worth while !!
What am I required to purchase ?
With each assignment you are given a maximum spend allowance if you go above this they will not pay you for the extra for example if they say max spend = £10 and you spend £12.50 they will only reimburse you for the £10. They also tell you what they require you to purchase so it's not that difficult its basically all set out for you! You just have to be good at following instructions. If they do require you to purchase something you do get to keep it !! Yey !! Freebies !! hehe
Would I recommend this company?
If you enjoy eating out, drinking out, shopping etc and are very good at noting your surroundings then yes I would definitley recommend this company as its fun and a good way to earn a little extra money. I do not recommend it to anyone who is looking to use this as a main source of income due to the unpredictable amount of work available.
Customer Service ?
As I have mentioned above with each assignment you are text about, you are required to ring up if you would like to hear more about it. The fact that there is a person on the other end rather than just an email address I found to be quite comforting expecially during my first assignments as I was getting used to it all as I could ask questions and they would be answered straight away putting me at ease.
Although it does take longer to sign up to I would recommend this site above others due to the higher payment the fact that you are paid for expenses and the assignments seem to be a little more fun and varied too :)