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Tips for working well with schedulers

Working with schedulers as a mystery shopper takes a professional approach and clear communication. If you learn how to make your scheduler's life easier, he or she will work hard for you in return.

What is a scheduler?
Mystery shopping companies employ people specifically to find shoppers to complete assignments. As the name suggests, schedulers are in charge of scheduling you when you are looking for a gig. They receive requests from clients and reach out to their database of secret shoppers to find someone who can complete the task. Due to the inherent power that exists in this role, being courteous and reliable with your scheduler will dramatically increase your success as a mystery shopper.

Follow through
As cited in Mystery Shopper Magazine, schedulers often deal with shoppers dropping out on assignments at the last minute. This is very hard on schedulers because they have to re-do work they've already completed. If you want to accept a mystery shopping job, make sure you can complete it before confirming with your scheduler. Note the dates, times, requirements and locations of every single shop you consider. Double-checking this information from the beginning decreases the likelihood you'll have to back out later on.

Schedulers work in a fast-paced environment and do not have time to deal with routinely unreliable shoppers. If you consistently flake on assignments, chances are you'll hear about job opportunities from your scheduler less and less frequently.

Certainly, emergencies happen and unexpected events get in the way of completing an assignment. If this is the case, notify your scheduler immediately and explain honestly why you cannot make it. They'll appreciate this. One thing to remember is that some shops allow you to complete the work within a time frame. Aim to shop on the early end of the period. That way, if something happens you can make it up later.

Put yourself in their shoes
If you haven't already, think about mystery shopping from a scheduler's perspective. Some schedulers are paid by the hour, regardless of how many shops they assign. Others are only paid per assigned shoppers.  If you back out on a shop, it could cost the scheduler. Since they typically look at either very reliable, experienced shoppers or brand new names looking to learn more about the industry, your name could be placed further down the list of people to contact when a shop comes up.

Be proactive and take a look at shopping gigs that are always available. Mystery Shopper's Manual suggested that these are likely the least desirable shops. Once in a while, take one. This will help out your scheduler and they'll remember your kindness the next time they need to fill a great shop. If you can't take one of these tricky gigs, try recommending someone who can.

Communicate often and well
Making sure your contact information is up to date with your scheduling company is essential to receiving paychecks on time, being notified when excellent shops become available and accepting general correspondence. Find out if your scheduler prefers email messages or phone calls. This can dramatically alter the way the two of you interact and how well one responds to the other.

When in doubt, be professional and helpful. In some ways, the scheduler is like a co-worker. Avoid complaining about the company or industry, as he or she was likely a mystery shopper at one point or may be on his or her way up to beginning their own mystery shopping service. When you make schedulers' lives easier, it makes your life easier.