We are pleased to present this interview with Shelly Martin, a scheduler for Kern Scheduling Services. Shelly is the 2014 winner of the Scheduler of the Year Contest presented by Mystery Shop Forum. She received quite a bit of praise from shoppers during the contest. If you’d like to learn more about Shelly, be sure to browse the nominations at Mystery Shop Forum. To learn more about the company she works for, read our review of Kern.
MSM: Tell us a little bit about your personal life and what you did before working with KSS International.
Shelly: I am a pastor’s wife of 21 years. I am a mother of four children ranging from 11 – 18 years old. All of my children are very active in sports, so we spend many hours at football, basketball, tennis, softball and baseball games. Before I worked at KSS, I was a Tupperware manager for seven years.
MSM: How in the world did you end up becoming a mystery shopping scheduler and how long have you been doing it?
Shelly: I have been mystery shopping for over eighteen years. When my children were very young and I was conducting Tupperware parties every night, I realized I needed to be home, more often, in the evenings. I began looking for opportunities to stay at home yet continue to work. I saw an ad on the Internet stating KSS International was looking for independent contractors to be schedulers. I applied and was interviewed and hired over the phone. January 2015 will begin my 8th year with KSS. I am no longer an independent contractor. I am an employee of KSS International.
MSM: What are your secrets to getting all of the shops assigned each month?
Shelly: In this business, most of what I do depends on other people (shoppers). It takes much determination to finish all projects, 100%, every month, but we at KSS believe that is what is best for our clients so that is what we do. I begin by going to our faithful shoppers in our database. Then I post the shops out to other shoppers and place them on the job boards. I call past shoppers, who have completed a shop at the location in question. If I don ‘t get any takers, I recruit new shoppers. I may even need to cold call for really hard locations that nobody responds to. The bottom line is, whatever it takes to get the shop filled—that is what I will do. Not finishing a project on time, 100% of the time, is not in my vocabulary.
MSM: As a scheduler, what are the top three things that make you want to bang your head against the wall?
1. It drives me crazy when people do not do what they say they are going to do. If
you agree to a shop, do it. If something arises that prevents you from doing it,
reschedule, don’t’ cancel. If you aren’t absolutely certain you can complete a
shop, please, don’t sign up for it.
2. I must have heard this a zillion times. “I never received a confirmation email.”
Ugh, this is so frustrating. If you apply for a shop, check your shop log to see if
you received it. Sometimes emails get lost in cyberspace, so don’t rely, solely,
on getting a confirmation email.
3. When I have flakes or cancellations, during the last week of the month or
shopping period. It is so frustrating getting all shops scheduled, prior to your
deadline, then having to scramble, calling on a shop, due to a shopper flaking
or canceling at the last minute. If you must cancel, contact your scheduler,
immediately, and do not wait until the end of the day or even worse, days later.
MSM: What advice would you like to give new shoppers?
Shelly: It is very important to read all shopping materials, prior to conducting the shop and to follow instructions. Always keep in close communication with your scheduler. If something happens, where you are not able to conduct your shop at the correct time or day, always contact your scheduler right away. If you are not able to enter your report within the deadline, contact your scheduler. Never use profanity or yell at your scheduler in an email. This will not get you very far in getting future shops. If you have a shop that is rejected for any reason, please, don’t yell at the scheduler. They do not edit the shops and they are just as disappointed as you are, when a shop is rejected.
MSM: What are the positive aspects of being a scheduler that outweigh the frustration and stress inherent to the job?
Shelly: Every day I get to work with great shoppers. I get to speak with new people every day and give them the opportunity to not only help themselves by making money, but also to help me finish a project. I see it as a win-win situation.