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A mystery shopping provider association is trade association meant for improving customer service quality using undercover resources. They are associations with various members which include market research agencies, private investigation companies, merchandisers, and other training companies that provide these services. Emergence of these bodies is recognition of the fact that anonymous shopping for quality improvement is no longer a hobby but a serious profession that adds value to the community like any other regular job.
While members of the mystery shopping provider association are usually companies looking to hire, these bodies are also involved in the supply side i.e. providing certified shoppers for those who need them. These run various kinds of programs, certifications, and courses which help train people and get them up to date on what is required in these kinds of assignments. This, in turn, helps companies select the right kind of people in real time without having to interview hundreds. It is, however, important to remember that having a certification or having completed a course is in no way a guarantee of getting a job. All other things being equal, the program knowledge or certifications will be a sure advantage. These certifications also make you an automatic member of the community which means getting invites and newsletters keeping you abreast of developments in the field.
Associations like mystery shopping provider association are also a great place to find jobs. They provide very comprehensive job listing service which you can subscribe to in order to receive job alerts. You can search as per location and other criteria. They also contain information on the job providers. To avoid getting tricked or scammed, it is best to ensure that the company you join is a member of these associations. There are a large number of frauds happening in the name of this profession. The easiest way to spot them is through finding out whether they include an application or registration fee, howsoever small it may be.
Some time back, people involved in this profession were not really taken very seriously. With the establishment of association, the external perceptions have become very different. It however remains a part time job for most as individual assignments do not pay very much. There are of course interesting perks but those are not as many as they are made out to be. Staying in hotels or eating fancy dinners is some of the more interesting options but most companies do not really give you the product to take home. There is usually a small reimbursement amount to cover a small purchase if required to complete the form. In fact, many new shoppers actually lose money since they do not factor in transportation costs. Remember to accept assignments close to where you work or stay.
A mystery shopping provider association is a great initiative that not only boosts the image of this growing industry it also serves to provide a bridge between the employers, job seekers and all facilitators. It makes sure that people on either side are not cheated job seekers by fraudulent claims and employers by under qualified or casual job hunters. In popularizing the programs and certifications, they have taken professionalism in the industry to new levels. Most important the association strives to improve the quality of the tool per se. There are regular conferences and events where thought leaders share experiences and techniques. With chapters in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and South America, it is truly making this industry global.
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