Exit Interviews

Overview: As the name implies, exit interviews take place after the customer has left the targeted location. In general these aren’t interviews per se, but rather surveys that generally average five to seven minutes, although they can be as short as three or as long as ten. Almost all are for the targeted location in some way or another because you are provided with a “Letter of Authorization” (LOA).

Project variations: On some of these assignments, you present the Letter of Authorization to the manager before you start, while others require that you present the letter only if an inquiry is made as to why you are there.

Visit and reporting requirements: Almost all of these assignments will require either a quota or a maximum time at the location. I have seen assignments where the requirement is seven surveys or one hour, whichever comes first. I’ve also seen assignments where the requirement is 30 surveys or seven hours and, if you don’t make the survey quota, you have a back-up day when you will go to complete the assignment.

Strategies: Most important of all, be polite. You will be interacting with the public. You are the public face of the mystery shopping company, as well as the location you are shopping. If a customer says they don’t have the time or they don’t want to, thank them and move on. It’s not worth the potential damage to your reputation to force the issue.

At the same time, there are strategies to increase the odds of success. Dress professionally. Most of the instructions will say “business casual”; I kick it up a notch and go with a coat and tie. It projects a better image and I find people are more willing to take the time to talk with me. Another plus, is to wear comfortable shoes. You are going to be on your feet for an indeterminate amount of time. If your feet are comfortable, you will be comfortable.

Special Note: Pay attention to the visit requirements. Some of these assignments may have limitations that will prohibit you from mystery shopping that location for a period of time, i.e. I did exit surveys at two cell phone locations. I cannot shop those locations for six months.

What others have to say: Shoppers on www.mysteryshopforum.com have mixed, though mostly positive, views of exit interviews. Comments range from the pay scale to some companies sending clipboards and other supporting supplies, while some companies do not. The same applies to the survey forms being provided versus you having to print the forms on your home printer. In this case, “caveat emptor” is certainly in order.

Estimated pay: I’ve seen these assignments start at $20 and go up to $200. Be careful though because it can be deceiving in terms of hourly pay. Looking at hourly rates [not including drive and reporting time], that rate can drop to $7 to $20.

MSCs: Companies that currently have exit inerviews include, but are not limited to, ICCDS, Bestmark, and Measure CP.

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