Seeking mystery shop experts for new company. Experience beyond scheduler only.

Does anyone know where I can find someone who was a previous employee with experience at organizing mystery shops for companies? It would be unethical to head-hunt current employees of other companies, so I'm hoping to find someone who no longer works for one, but has the insight necessary to help guide my company through the hoops of the financial and organizational details.

The goal is to reduce overhead and pay our shoppers the vast majority of the money charged to the clients, operating on as thin of margins as possible to capture as many clients possible and reward those doing the hard work to the max. I have the technical side of this figured out, just need someone experienced in positions beyond scheduler to help guide us.

Sorry if this is in the wrong category or not allowed! I'm a bit new around this forum.

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I would reach out to the owners of ServiceSense. They are pioneers in the field and turning over some operations to KSS to cut back on their roles. They may be open to some kind of consultant fee to teach you?

Edited.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2018 12:11PM by isaiah58.
@isaiah58 wrote:

I would reach out to the owners of Service Sense. They are retiring and turning over operations to KSS. They may be open to some kind of consultant fee to teach you??

Oh no. They were/are a great family run MSC. Are they actually retiring or just sub contracting the scheduling. I will have to email, Bill and Amy, the owners.
Thank you guys! I just sent them an email, hoping they are open to speaking with me, or possibly being advisors for the project.
Why would you think it's not fair to recruit from current professionals? I do, however, appreciate your acknowledgement that there IS such a thing as ethical conduct!

Unless you are actually getting the clients yourself, I think you'll find one of your biggest expenses will be commissions on the contracts your salespeople close for you.

I read in a business magazine several years ago that the person who closed the deal on McDonald's for Marketforce (yes, I can say that, as MF no longer shops McDonald's) received $200,000 commission on the $2,000,000 contract...with a residual fee each year.the contract remained in force.

That ain't chump change.
Hi All,

We wanted to set the record straight here.

We are not retiring and we are not "turning over the operations to KSS".

We have turned over a portion of our scheduling to KSS. BTW; to clear up misconceptions, KSS is a scheduling service only. They do not run operations but provide a service to MSCs.

Bill is semi-retiring but will continue to over-see several aspects of our business; for shoppers, most importantly, he will continue to see that you are paid accurately and timely. He will also be over-seeing the work that KSS does to insure that the integrity of our rotation standards are upheld as we believe that to be integral to our continued success in providing actionable results to our clients. In semi-retirement Bill's hope is that he'll be able to work 4 or 5 hours a day instead of 12-14 and not have to work on weekends.

Amy is several years younger than Bill and will continue on as always over-seeing editing and making sure the content of shopper reports has integrity and is actionable for our clients.

As ever; we are thankful to the shopper community for the efforts you make on our behalf in the service of our clients. We hope to continue our relationships with all of you that have been with us for many years well into the future.

Sincerely,

Amy & Bill
Owners - ServiceSense (Anybody notice there isn't a space there? ServiceSense (no space) is a US registered Service Mark.)

Bill Koch
Owner / Founder / Chief Cook & Bottle Washer
ServiceSense
Norwell, MA
www.servicesense.com
@ceasesmith wrote:

Why would you think it's not fair to recruit from current professionals? I do, however, appreciate your acknowledgement that there IS such a thing as ethical conduct!

Unless you are actually getting the clients yourself, I think you'll find one of your biggest expenses will be commissions on the contracts your salespeople close for you.

I read in a business magazine several years ago that the person who closed the deal on McDonald's for Marketforce (yes, I can say that, as MF no longer shops McDonald's) received $200,000 commission on the $2,000,000 contract...with a residual fee each year.the contract remained in force.

That ain't chump change.

I would imagine many have contracts, confidentiality agreements, etc. so I was hoping to avoid this type of head-hunting if possible. What we are building should be ridiculously competitive to the point of eliminating the competition (setting our sights any lower wouldn't make sense). This service will be one of several offered in a suite of modern digital marketing solutions.

Commissions to closed sales are built into our proposed business model already. We have an aggressive strategy for acquiring new customers, as this won't be the only thing we are offering at an enormous discount vs traditional competitors. Without giving too much away, I'm just trying to find someone with intimate, extensive knowledge of this field and the inner workings of the companies.

I appreciate the suggestions and feedback!
@BuckForbis wrote:

I would imagine many have contracts, confidentiality agreements, etc. so I was hoping to avoid this type of head-hunting if possible. What we are building should be ridiculously competitive to the point of eliminating the competition (setting our sights any lower wouldn't make sense). This service will be one of several offered in a suite of modern digital marketing solutions.

Commissions to closed sales are built into our proposed business model already. We have an aggressive strategy for acquiring new customers, as this won't be the only thing we are offering at an enormous discount vs traditional competitors. Without giving too much away, I'm just trying to find someone with intimate, extensive knowledge of this field and the inner workings of the companies.

I appreciate the suggestions and feedback!

Speaking as a consultant in a completely different industry, learning about cost estimations to properly budget a project won't go again any confidentiality agreements, assuming of course, the names of the clients are censored in any of that Work. On the other hand, the proposals to their clients aren't exactly bind to any confidentiality agreements either. However, asking another employee or former employee for the inside scoop on the proposal side of things will be a difficult task, unless you find someone kind enough to walk you through the ropes on it. Good luck.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
Speaking as someone who has worked on all sides of this industry, aggressive marketing through cost reduction is neither a good solution to selling more product, nor a reliable way to increase payment to shoppers. How about just offering a superior product at a fair price?

The technical aspect of the product is much easier to manage than the human resources, and I would have no interest in giving any solutions to that away without a serious return on my investment. Knowledge of the industry operations would be a majority of the value in the product.

@BuckForbis, Isn't this like telling me you have a recipe for the greatest burger in the world and then asking for my input on how to become the largest burger chain in the world?
@SteveSoCal wrote:

Speaking as someone who has worked on all sides of this industry, aggressive marketing through cost reduction is neither a good solution to selling more product, nor a reliable way to increase payment to shoppers. How about just offering a superior product at a fair price?

The technical aspect of the product is much easier to manage than the human resources, and I would have no interest in giving any solutions to that away without a serious return on my investment. Knowledge of the industry operations would be a majority of the value in the product.

@BuckForbis, Isn't this like telling me you have a recipe for the greatest burger in the world and then asking for my input on how to become the largest burger chain in the world?

Very good points, Steve. The theory is to offer a superior product at the lowest prices possible, eliminating waste in the system, and leveraging emergent technology in a fragmented industry that in most cases has seemed to lack much needed improvements.

For the burger analogy, I would put it like this: We have a robotic burger machine we have been designing that can deliver perfect, tasty burgers with less labor. Even better, this burger machine has no owners who cut themselves into the profit (waste of resources). We simply want to speak to some ingredients suppliers to get a better understanding of the cost breakdowns. We know we can produce better, cheaper, faster burgers and eliminate obvious waste in the system. We would simply like a more exact estimate/measure of just how much better we are vs traditional burger chains. It's necessary to have this sort of research before we approach investors.

If we find an expert, we would like to offer them a position in FutureBurger Inc. We certainly don't expect something for nothing.

I hope that clarifies things to your satisfaction, thank you for your feedback smiling smiley
@BuckForbis, It seems from what you are saying that you have developed software to connect shoppers directly with opportunities.

To continue the analogy; The way I read it, shoppers are the ingredients you seek for said burgers. What I can tell you is that you may be surprised at the lack of quality available in basic ingredients available. Without much of the 'processing' of those ingredients that currently goes on by said owners, the customers may be disappointed in the product you can deliver.

If said customers are the end clients (and they should be) in how you see this, you may also be grossly underestimating the neediness, unpreparedness and variety of requests you would be receiving from said customers. Some will want veggie burgers, some beef and others lamb. Some will want them faster, bigger, smaller, or whatever dimensions they specify for said burgers, and your system has to be able to able to accommodate that. Most will not really know what type of burger they actually need and require some guidance.

This is where the analogy ends and the reality of this particular industry comes into play. If you feel like MSC owners, editors, schedulers and the like are products that can be cut out of the process to sell a cheaper product with more money to the shoppers, you don't really understand the industry or the needs of the clients. A lot goes on behind the scenes in terms of understanding the client needs, redefining them, setting actionable standards and delivering a products that is useful to the clients. They don't usually show up with an exacting list of needs and simply require a data-dump of results. Your product may be helpful or applicable to those who do, but it's not going to revolutionize the industry since the majority of the value in my experience comes from the years of hospitality and restaurant experience that many of owners bring to the table, along with the advice they offer the clients based on the results. Connecting shoppers with opportunities is only a small piece of the equation...and the industry is both fragmented and disorganized because the clients generally are.
I totally agree with Steve on this. The human factor is important for a quality product that is flexible enough to be nimble and accommodate needs. I found out in a dept meeting that the large medical center I worked for had hired (and were disappointed in the info gathered) a mystery shop company to do appt phone calls. When I heard this I was just imagining the lack of insight and possibly ambiguous questions that had to be asked. I offered my help in designing a new product being an insider and one who specialized in tailoring data reports for maximum use. Designing a great survey requires someone very familiar with the field, someone who can ask questions which help the end used figure out their goals and needs. It always surprised me when one of the doc researchers in my dept would ask me to gather data with no clear picture of what they needed in order to do their research. These requests always required a meeting to suggest, probe, refine and expand so that one report did the job.
@StevSoCal

Very well said! And spot on. There is no 'secret sauce'. It takes hard and honest work by dedicated shoppers to make it work. And it takes hard work by schedulers to find the shoppers that will deliver the goods in a timely manner satisfactory to the clients. And it takes hard work by editors to ensure that the final product going to the client has integrity and is actionable. And it takes MSCs and clients working together to figure out the best message to put in front of the Clients' line staff to help them to succeed.

Bottom line; it takes hard work. And as much as the Internet has changed the landscape it hasn't made the core work of any of the participants any easier. And no software will ever be able to do that.

Do I know you?

Bill Koch
Owner / Founder / Chief Cook & Bottle Washer
ServiceSense
Norwell, MA
www.servicesense.com
@shopscamp wrote:

Do I know you?

Yes, burger jokes aside, I have eaten more than a few burgers under your guidance...and some burritos way back when winking smiley

Glad to hear that you are taking more time for yourself and less time scheduling....but it's also not the same without you at the helm of scheduling for your company. The human interaction really is a big part of it, and we shoppers miss the big bonus for the LAX assignment.
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@shopscamp wrote:

Do I know you?

Yes, burger jokes aside, I have eaten more than a few burgers under your guidance...and some burritos way back when winking smiley

Glad to hear that you are taking more time for yourself and less time scheduling....but it's also not the same without you at the helm of scheduling for your company. The human interaction really is a big part of it, and we shoppers miss the big bonus for the LAX assignment.

hahahaha same. I maxed out the rotation and fought you for that location more than once.

Love Bill & Amy to the moon and back. smiling smiley

Oh and this:
@SteveSoCal wrote:

To continue the analogy; The way I read it, shoppers are the ingredients you seek for said burgers. What I can tell you is that you may be surprised at the lack of quality available in basic ingredients available. Without much of the 'processing' of those ingredients that currently goes on by said owners, the customers may be disappointed in the product you can deliver.

As somebody who edited and scheduled, I could not agree more. I never had to deal with the client end of it, but you have to "know" your shoppers if you want to be a quality MSC.
Whew! Excellent feedback folks! I really do appreciate it smiling smiley

I completely agree with everything you said @SteveSoCal and do not downplay the human element at all. I suppose alluding to having a better way to do things without explaining in detail maybe came off the wrong way, and I apologize if I gave the wrong impression. I wish I could elaborate more, but cannot due to obvious reasons.

The purpose for this thread furthers the point there is much more to this than simply building software, and to address that issue by seeking some expert advice in the field. It would be foolish to think one could simply build software and turn it loose to dominate the industry. Whether we need to partner with an existing company, or hire some experienced talent, we certainly agree with the fact we need veterans/professionals to get us where we plan on going.

So as we are still early in this process, I'm putting up the "help wanted" signs and asking passionate, experienced shoppers such as yourself for some direction, suggestions, and hopefully find some talented individuals to bring on board.
Sorry, error on my part. Did not mean to reply and not sure how to delete.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2018 11:50PM by Milagro.
@Msaddict wrote:

Have you reached out to the mspa or imsc for help with this Buck?

Not yet, but that seems like a good next step. Thank you!
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@shopscamp wrote:

Do I know you?

Yes, burger jokes aside, I have eaten more than a few burgers under your guidance...and some burritos way back when winking smiley

Glad to hear that you are taking more time for yourself and less time scheduling....but it's also not the same without you at the helm of scheduling for your company. The human interaction really is a big part of it, and we shoppers miss the big bonus for the LAX assignment.

Yes, Yes, Yes. I agree with this statement. I'm going to be doing an LAX burger shop and its not as exciting to me now that the fee has dropped to less than half. I'm really loathe to apply for assignments lately because they never pick me anymore. I used to be able to self-assign.
I love you guys - been shopping with you forever.. although haven't had many shops since moving to Oregon...
Good luck Buck! Also, good luck to Bill! It is a transition to semi retire and I hope it goes well. You and Amy are the kindest people I worked with when I was mystery shopping. I was so bummed when I moved away from Michigan and was unable to do your shops any more!
Hi Everyone! I stumbled upon this post and figured I would introduce myself to those who don't already know me. My name is Pete Sheehan, and I am the KSS scheduler who was assigned to help out with one of the accounts mentioned here.

Let me start by saying I can definitely understand the love for working with Bill and Amy, as I have thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of months working with them. I hope I can build the relationship you all have with them.

I definitely do not want the experienced shoppers to feel like I am leaving them out. As part of my plan to deliver what Bill and Amy want and need with this project, I have been looking for some new shoppers to mix in with the experienced ones, so we can broaden the shopper base and meet rotation needs.

If, for any reason, you feel I am leaving you out or overlooking you, please know this is not intentional at all, and can be fixed by contacting my email at KSSPete@kernscheduling.com. You will notice on my reply to that email that I am one of few schedulers that add my personal number to my responses. You are always welcome to call or text me, at any time, if you happen to have questions or need a last minute shop assigned after my office hours.

To those who have and continue to work with me, thank you all for what you do! I look forward to working with the rest of you as well!
I’d be happy to help! 21 years industry experience on both sides. Post your email address and I will reach out.
No, no, no. Do not post an email address to the public section of the forum. We are visited by too many trolls and scammers. Utilize the private message option.

@Since1999 wrote:

Post your email address and I will reach out.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
Pete, you are a rare treat at your firm. Your approach with evaluators, responsiveness, and willingness to actually have a conversation have been greatly appreciated.

@KSSPete wrote:

You will notice on my reply to that email that I am one of few schedulers that add my personal number to my responses. You are always welcome to call or text me, at any time, if you happen to have questions or need a last minute shop assigned after my office hours.

To those who have and continue to work with me, thank you all for what you do! I look forward to working with the rest of you as well!
@Pro Evals-Audits wrote:

Pete, you are a rare treat at your firm. Your approach with evaluators, responsiveness, and willingness to actually have a conversation have been greatly appreciated.

I don’t think that I’ve needed to speak with Pete for anything, but I have had very few issues with anyone at KSS in the last 20 years. I can get a response from anyone in hours usually. If not, Lorri responds to texts or emails even on the airplane and on vacation.

ETA Pete has added new shoppers to the rotation. He gave my college aged son a shot. (New to that MSC, but he accompanied me on my first shop at Wizards of the Coast in 1999 in his stroller, so he’s probably been on a few thousand shops, but he’s done less than 100 alone.)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2018 09:22PM by SoCalMama.
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