Mystery shopper app praised by UAE consumers

DUBAI // A new smartphone app allows consumers to become mystery shoppers for a day – and get paid in the process.

&MaxW=460&imageVersion=default&AR-140629943ShopperInput works by putting up requests from retailers or other businesses for a customer to visit a shop or premises, then report back on their experience. In return they receive a fee.

“In many cases retail staff have not been properly trained in customer service, sales or how to deal with irritable customers and, unfortunately, they just get thrown in,” said Robert Keay, chief executive at Dubai-based Ethos Integrated Solutions, a customer-service consultancy that developed the app.

“You tend to find that many also hover around customers or follow them around a shop.”

Shops, banks and restaurants list “jobs” giving details about what they would like mystery shoppers to look at – how to rate the helpfulness of staff, pricing of goods, etc.

So far 50 jobs have been listed.

“If you’re in Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi for example, shopping, and you’ve downloaded the app, one of the stores may want a mystery shopper,” said Mr Keay.

“If that is the case you’ll get a push notification. You may have to answer five to 10 questions and also be asked to take a photo of product displays, for example.

“Once the mystery shopper has completed his or her task they upload the information and they will get paid inside an hour through PayPal.”

Payment varies from up to Dh50 for retailers, Dh150 for banks and the price of a meal and a further Dh100 for restaurants.

“We think this is a very attractive system because people would like to get paid some extra money, and shops are getting the real-time feedback of customers to improve their service,” said Mr Keay.

“An added dimension is that mystery shoppers themselves will be rated and given priority for future assignments.”

The app is flexible enough to allow for call centres to be checked using a voice-recording function.

Eventually the service, available in English and Arabic, will be rolled out to the rest of the Arabian Gulf region.

Local consumers gave the concept a positive response.

“I’ll definitely be downloading it,” said Hashem Mubarak, from Egypt. “If you’re already out and can do some mystery shopping for a bit of extra money, then why not?

“I think everyone benefits because if your feedback results in better service, then that is a good thing.”

Currently about 12,000 mystery shoppers have signed up for the scheme.

ShopperInput is available from Apple’s App store and Google Play.

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