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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  07:44:09 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
"I always laugh about the people that claim to get all this work...and they're always on here posting! LOL!"

For me, I now have two laptops and three home computers. I can type here, do reports and search for jobs, all while waiting for a page or two to load. I keep both laptops and my main home computer on my desk.

Talking to schedulers at the certification workshops and conference, I was given ideas on how to be more productive and use my time more wisely. I enter reports while eating dinner on the house, having coffee on the house, drinks at the bar, etc,. There is always a few minutes to spare, and it makes me fit in more with the crowd as everyone seems to be doing this these days. It also makes life easier when I get home to do the reports.

I remember well having only one computer though. It was enough to try and keep up with. Now there are days the three of them do not go fast enough for me.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  07:51:11 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mindot

I always laugh about the people that claim to get all this work...and they're always on here posting! LOL!



Me too! Isn't it great when we can all laugh together and get along, instead of arguing all the time?
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Mindot
Member

NJ
USA
42 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  08:00:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sure, Kim. LOL!

Mindot
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Sara D
Valued Contributor

South Hadley, MA
USA
163 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  09:48:12 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Rachel -

Everything you said may be true, and yet I'm not sure it matters...

That is to say, it doesn't really *matter* if attending the Gold Workshop *causes* people to flake less. I, for one, think it's extremely unlikely that that's the case.

That statistic may reflect nothing more than the fact that people who take the time to get certified are more likely to actually be committed to shopping in the first place, whereas there are lots of people who sign up 'just to give it a try' who really don't know what they're getting into or who are just giving it a try on a whim.

However, if the statistic is true, than regardless of the causal elements, it's still a measure that schedulers can use.

-Sara

Sara A Davidow,
MSPA Gold Certified shopper #aziwc5
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  10:08:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ChrisT
If I was head of a MSC and had a choice between offering a job to a shopper who has had 9's or 10's the past couple of years with no certification and a new shopper who has Gold certification and no history with my company, who do you think I'd chose?
More importantly who would you choose



I see this arguement on this and other threads quite a bit. I don't disagree, I think we would all say that the experience and reputation should speak for itself however......................why does it have to be one or the other??

I think the point of quite a few gold shoppers on here, and certainly myself as I plan to get the gold cert. in June, is that you have the biggest advantage when you have BOTH.
I have only been shopping for 11 weeks. (136 shops) But have worked hard to establish a reputation as someone who never flakes (even if I realize I have made a big mistake by accepting a job that is not worth it!!!) I also get 9's and 10's on my reports. I am starting to get calls from schedulers offering me bonuses because they know I will go to the job and do it right.
I hope that the gold cert. will enhance what I am already trying to build with companies.
By the time I get it I will have 5 months of shopping and an even better reputation.
I know that is not saying much for those of you who have been doing this for years, but you have to start somewhere.
AND........I don't plan on stopping my hard work after the gold cert. I plan to continue to building my rep with companies as a dependable shopper who turns in good reports and who is also gold cert.

I think the point you were trying to make is that the gold shouldn't stand on it's own for much, or prove that a shopper won't flake in and of itself.
The point I am trying to make is that I don't think many of us expect it to, it adds to our resume so to speak, it is not the sum total.

Here's what I see the real question as:
You have two shoppers in your database. They both have simular experience and reputation with your company. They are both reliable and turn in good reports. One has gold cert. and one doesn't. Who are you going to choose for the job?

It's an "edge" not a "shoe in".

MSPA Silver Certified
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  10:11:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sara D
That statistic may reflect nothing more than the fact that people who take the time to get certified are more likely to actually be committed to shopping in the first place, whereas there are lots of people who sign up 'just to give it a try' who really don't know what they're getting into or who are just giving it a try on a whim.

However, if the statistic is true, than regardless of the causal elements, it's still a measure that schedulers can use.


Sara,

I agree with you that if it measures people who intially signed up versus certified shoppers, then yes the flake rate will be higher. Newbies have no idea what they're getting themselves into(usually).

However, then extrapolating on your statement, if it were true, then the statistic the MSPA uses would be unfair to experienced shoppers. Also then it would be unfair for schedulers to base their scheduling decision on that statistic for shoppers who have years of experience but yet are not certified.

Maybe we should start a new topic: Flakiness statistics of mystery shoppers Anybody with a Masters in Statistics willing to help out

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  10:15:13 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
You have two shoppers in your database. They both have simular experience and reputation with your company. They are both reliable and turn in good reports. One has gold cert. and one doesn't. Who are you going to choose for the job?


The one who lives closest to the location and fits the demographic profile.
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  10:20:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I haven't been on too many shops where the demographic profile is a big deal.
But I know there are some. (Salons/spa's maybe, but hey more and more guys are frequenting those places!)
Maybe some business type hotels.

Most shops I think are pretty wide open.

Do schedulers really care how close a person is to a shop if they are, as they are 99% of the time unwilling to pay for travel expenses?

Edited:
Well, two minutes after I posted this, I got an email from a company for a job in a men's clothing/suit store!! So, in this case, ya, they had better choose the guy over me whether I am gold cert. or not!!

MSPA Silver Certified
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Quinn
Star Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
50247 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:15:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
"You have two shoppers in your database. They both have simular experience and reputation with your company. They are both reliable and turn in good reports. One has gold cert. and one doesn't. Who are you going to choose for the job?"

The one who applies first.
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:26:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If this is true, than you are saying that companies give absolutely NO regard toward certification status whatsoever.

I have a hard time believing this as almost every single application I fill out asks me if I am certified and for my cert. #.

Also, I am sure some companies have a first come first serve policy for jobs that are applied to at approxmiately the same time, but what about who the jobs are first offered to. You can't apply for a job that you have never been offered.

MSPA Silver Certified
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Quinn
Star Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
50247 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:31:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Yea, you fill out your certification status when you first apply for a company.

This hypothetical was based on two established shoppers with a track record with a company, one of which who was gold. If I was the scheduler, my reply to the original question is still, whichever one applies first.
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:47:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My point was if the certification status plays no part whatsoever in the decision making process, why do they ask for it?

If you were the scheduler or running the company, I doubt you would even include the question about certification on the application because to you it carries absolutely no weight whatsoever.
(Which is fine, that is you opinion)

But 99% of these companies DO ask, obviously it carries some weight at some point for them.
I am concerned with the opinions of the companies and schedulers as they are the ones who have the power to give me jobs.

I don't even care about my own opinion as I cannot give myself jobs, except with a couple of self scheduling sites! The opinions of the schedulers is what matters if I want more jobs/better paying jobs.

I am new to this, so I don't pretend to know how a schedulers mind works. I just know what I see. It doesn't make sense to me that they all ask for certification numbers and I get frequent emails saying they got my information from MSPA, or they are sending this job offer to MSPA certified shoppers, or looking for MSPA certified shoppers in my area, if they consider the certification to be worthless.

And again I say...............you can't be first to apply for a job you were never offered.

MSPA Silver Certified
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Quinn
Star Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
50247 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:52:09 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
You completely missed the point. You asked a hypothetical question and you got my answer. If you had asked it about two new people applying for a job with a company, one of whom was certified, you may have gotten a different answer. However, your question was about two established shoppers with a company, one of whom had some gold certificate.

If you want to know what a schedulers take is on this, you might consider contacting one you know and asking.
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NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  11:54:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
It doesn't make sense to me that they all ask for certification numbers and I get frequent emails saying they got my information from MSPA, or they are sending this job offer to MSPA certified shoppers, or looking for MSPA certified shoppers in my area, if they consider the certification to be worthless.


They ask for it, because they are members of the organization that is marketing it; so in attempting to support the efforts of their organization, they have the question on their application.

And the emails that are sent from MSPA to certified shoppers is because the group maintains a database...helps widen their reach for job prospects. These companies need access to huge numbers of shoppers just to maintain service to their clients.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  12:08:14 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Kris, you have done a great job trying to explain your feelings on this and shown incredible patience while being put on the hot plate by a small group of shoppers, for expressing your opinion.

I don't really see what good it is doing if shoppers are not allowed to offer their opinions without being attacked by non certified shoppers.

This thread is about it being worth it, not about your overall feelings regarding the MSPA.

You stated, "By the time I get it I will have 5 months of shopping and an even better reputation.
I know that is not saying much for those of you who have been doing this for years, but you have to start somewhere."

You have a much better edge than alot of shoppers who have been doing this for 10 or even 15 years.

Why? Because you have a great attitude and are willing to learn what you are not sure of, instead of assuming.

Schedulers have answered this question before, the answer was they would choose the Gold shopper if both shoppers had the same bios otherwise.

Good luck with your shopping!


PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  12:39:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Is there still talk about a Platinum certification once everyone is Gold, and there is no more competition out there?
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  12:44:30 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't think you need to worry about that Miss Kim. Kim says she doesn't want anyone to be Gold.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  12:46:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
So Natalie,

Your take on this is that the hundreds of MSC out there that ask for cetification numbers are all crooked??
Maybe I took that wrong, I'm truly sorry if I did, but that's what it sounds like you are saying.............they don't care about your certification, just want to make sure you paid your dues to this organization.
I personally would have a hard time working for all these companies if I believed that they were in the side business of scamming shoppers.
And for what?? They would have to have a motivation bigger than the fact that they are members of this organization.
How big of a take could these hundreds of companies be getting on that $99 fee?? My guess is that the $99 fee barely covers the hotel conference room and other expenses to put on these conferences. Ok, maybe they make some money off some of the bigger conferences, or off the silver.
I just don't see what the advantage is to these companies to consistantly "plug" MSPA just because they are members. And what is the advantage of a MSC to be a member of MSPA anyway?? My understanding was to give the shopper the added assurance that they are a reputable company to work with and to network for a database of shoppers, like you said in your post. Which, if that is the case, just makes the argument for certification. If this is a tool to network for shoppers than I want to be in that network!

Quinn,
I didn't miss the point, I was discussing two established shoppers, just that #1 the companies know whether or not those shoppers are certified from when they originally applied no matter how long ago that was. and #2 they obviously care or they wouldn't ask in the first place.


On a side note:
Maybe there is something I don't see here because I am new. How long ago did companies begin asking on ap's if a shopper is certified or not?? Did this just begin? So do companies have no idea on shoppers that have been with them for 2,3,4,5 years if they are certified, only know whether their new shoppers are certified?
In this case I know most or all companies have a place to keep your profile updated with them and frequently have notes on the home page encouraging all shoppers to keep their information up to date. Maybe they expect that a shopper who has been with them for 4 or 5 years who just became certified would go in and update that fact.

How do you know if they are or are not keeping information on all shoppers certification status no matter how long they have been with a company?

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that as a long established shopper you are not getting jobs from schedulers and companies that you have an established rapport/reputation with, and that they are not happy to give you those jobs and happy to work with you...........But could there be times when you don't know it, but are in direct competition with a gold cert.-another long established shopper for a really good job? The company knows (from when you originally applied) that they are cert. and you are not........is there a chance that you might get overlooked for that job in favor of the gold shopper (whom they also have a long term good relationship with)??

Is there a chance that you might not get that email inviting you to apply for a job if they already have a database of gold shoppers that they are perfectly happy working with?

P.S. Realtors pay a HUGE fee every year to stay a member of their organization. It is not a one time fee, but every year and after the first time their is little or no educational value attached. It is just a symbol to be shown next to their name to suggest trustworthiness and some degree of knowledge (not much knowledge as there are some dopey realtors out there!)

MSPA Silver Certified
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  1:01:51 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
"Is there a chance that you might not get that email inviting you to apply for a job if they already have a database of gold shoppers that they are perfectly happy working with?"

I can tell you there are a few non certified shoppers in certain states that need to be very glad they do not live near me.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2007 :  1:02:54 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PamInCa

I don't think you need to worry about that Miss Kim. Kim says she doesn't want anyone to be Gold.


That's not it! I just don't need anymore competition now that everyone here is gold!
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