Selected Press Release
Title Mystery Shopper Certification Dates 2004
Date Published 03/01/2004
Author John Swinburn
Publication MSPA Web-Site

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) recently passed the 12,000 mark of certified mystery shoppers. Several MSPA Gold Certification Workshops have already been held in 2004 and more have been scheduled through mid-year; approximately 24 of the workshops will be held during 2004. To attend the Gold Certification Workshop, registrants must first obtain their Silver Certification through a web-based educational program and pass an exam.

Getting paid to shop may sound like a lark, but to hundreds of thousands of mystery shoppers across the U.S. and Canada, shopping is serious business. They recognize that the information they provide to businesses helps those businesses improve customer service and quality in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It also helps them to motivate and reward employees. Plus, these professional shoppers are able to supplement family incomes with enjoyable part-time work or, in some cases, make shopping a full-time job.

The more than 150 member companies of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) recognize that mystery shoppers are professionals, therefore education and certification standards are necessary to maintain the highest levels of performance.

In November, 2002, MSPA introduced a new Shopper Certification program. The first phase is an online educational program. Upon completion, the shopper receives Silver Certification, which is recognized as a hallmark of professionalism by the member companies of the MSPA. To date, more than 11,000 shoppers have achieved Silver Certification status.

Shoppers can further advance their professional standing through workshops MSPA will present in cities throughout the United States and Canada. According to Mike Green, MSPA President, “Attending a Gold Certification Workshop enables shoppers to enhance their skills and sharpen their professional edge. MSPA members recognize that a shopper who is committed to developing his or her abilities will provide the outstanding service our clients expect.” To date, over 900 shoppers have achieved Gold Certification status.

The Gold Certification Workshops are presented by Cathy Stucker, author of “The Mystery Shopper’s Manual.” The workshop includes participation in exercises designed to help shoppers practice their observation and reporting skills. In addition, participants have the opportunity to network with other shoppers and representatives from mystery shopping companies. Following attendance at the workshops, participants must complete and pass an online examination before being awarded Gold Certification.

Upcoming Seminar Dates & Locations:

7/9/04 Orlando, FL (Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort)

7/24/04 Nashville, TN (location to be determined)

7/31/04 Baltimore, MD (location to be determined)

Enrollment is limited and shoppers are required to complete the online Silver Certification prior to enrollment. For more information, go to


The MSPA is the only trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources. With over 150 member companies worldwide, our diverse membership includes marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Our member companies work with their clients to establish mechanisms to measure and improve levels of service.

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