For someone just getting started with mystery shopping, the idea of getting paid without ever leaving the house sounds appealing. There's no out of pocket expense, no wasted fuel, and you are doing the work from the comfort of your own home.
Deciding whether this is right for you depends on a few things. First of all, most telephone mystery shops pay less than other types of work. This makes sense as you spend less time on the work and your overhead is lower. I've recently completed $8 shops making inquiries into independent living facilities as well as $3 shops calling an auto dealership and trying to get the best price on a vehicle. Second, the call is most likely recorded, which has its pros and cons. I like being able to listen to the call afterwards because I can make sure my report is accurate. It also lets me be more engaging during the call since I'm not going down a form jotting notes for the report. Of course, since the call is recorded there is no room for mistakes. Finally, you have to be confident. You are role playing and your facts have to be straight. A phone conversation normally includes a lot of information discussed over a short period of time. I find it easier to stick to "real life" as much as I possibly can. My grandfather always plays a major role in my calls to retirement centers.
I am not a fan of most telephone shops. I find it much easier to role play in person. I can physically handle whatever product I am supposed to be inquiring about, and I can read the facial expressions of the employee and better redirect if I sense the shop is straying from the assigned scenario. When you're on the phone all you have to read is the person's tone, which is hard to do sometimes. For example, I completed a recorded call to an auto dealer near New York City yesterday. The salesperson spoke fast, was direct, and there wasn't any small talk. I think the generalization about the faster pace of life in NYC rang true with this call. Had I been calling someone in small town Mississippi, they might ask about the weather or try to get to know me first. I really didn't like doing the call to the auto dealership. But on the other hand, the call to the retirement center was much easier. It was a longer, more personal call, and the report was short.
If you're interested in telephone mystery shops, two companies that you might check include A Closer Look at Shopper's Critique.