A kudos to Ardent Services

I was really bummed out last night when after inputting my entire 2 1/2 hour report the site was so slow it would not save it for me and ultimately timed out. No one answered the phone at midnight and "help" was not working.
This morning I spoke directly with the owner who was wonderful. Truthfully I did not really like the idea of inputting the entire report again and was thinking it would be my last job for this company as the job was not worth all those extra hours, but the owner was so nice and understanding I now am really impressed. She even offered to make it up to me. What wonderful support from a msc!
I am writing this to offer another positive comment on this company and it's owner!

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I use to shop with Ardent but stopped because, at the time, the report took more time to complete then the shop was worth. I don't know if they still have the same client, but I truly miss the one they had when I shopped for them.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..."
The required report does take longer than other shops of the same kind, but I find after a while it gets easier and I do love that shop so it is worth it to me to do and they pay more than other MSCs.

I have an issue with a receipt and emailed my scheduler yesterday and she responded today on a Sunday. They really are great!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2012 03:08PM by G3B.
I am glad you have had positive experiences after a website problem. I recently had quite the opposite experience. On the last shopping day of the month (a Friday), I picked up an orphan shop. It was one of those nightmare shopping experiences for the company that requires, IMHO, the most redundant and time consuming reports. I stayed up late that night to enter the report as I was heading out of town the next morning. When I tried to do a routine save right before my spell check, my entire 2.5 hour report was lost. A few other people also had issues and it was stated that the problem was definitely due to a website error. We were told they would get back to us when it was fixed. I never received any notice it was fixed. I contacted the scheduler on Monday and was told that it was too late to do anything about it. I was not compensated in any way for that shop. Those shops are getting less and less attractive to me.
I love Ardent. It's in my top three.

Beth, the wisdom of saving your work frequently and typing and saving narratives in MS Word or similar programs has been discussed and stressed for a long time and you even participated in some of that discussion. Yes, the reporting website has issues sometimes but that's a known fact.

I am sorry you ran into a problem but I don't understand the part of about you doing a routine save right before your spell check. If you did routine saves, why would you lose 2.5 hours of work? Also, the reporting site does not have a spell check function. Did you mean using a spell check function for your browser
What I don't understand is....2.5 hours to do the report???? Crikees. Even my worst, most time-consuming reports for this particular client tops out at about 40 minutes. As far as the save goes, I learned (the hard way) to save after every few question boxes.
It routinely takes me 2 hours to do the report. I do not do it in word but I did try to use the answers to questions as I went along for my narrative by scrolling up, finding the appropriate answer and copying it into the narrative at the right spot. As hard as I tried and read it over, and it sounded good to me, they still told me that my report for the first paragraph should be in order when I did that. I really have no idea how one does a report for any shopping company in word. Do you copy the blank report into a word document, fill it in and then paste it back into theirs? How does that work? Do you type fragments of answers into word and then copy and paste into the report? That sounds like it would take extra time rather than save time. I have seen many threads where people mention they do this method and recommend it but I have never read where anyone gives a detailed description of how to accomplish this and have it save time. For Ardent do you use the same descriptions over and over so you do not need to rewrite them and just paste them?
If anyone is willing to give a blow by blow of how to accomplish this I am listening and ready.
I do the Ardent reports and I do the narratives in Word and then I paste them. Much easier bec. it will catch both spelling and grammar errors. Yes I do copy and paste above also. But here is a tip that will make it faster. Do not scroll from the narrative in their website to above short question. Keep Word open on the narrative and flip back and forth from Word to their website for the short answers. Much faster, also learn the Word shortcuts if you don't already know them. A huge timesaver. Even though I think I am working as efficiently as I can, it still takes me about an 1.5 hours to do them each time. I do my narratives first and I tell the entire story there and then copy and paste as needed. Hope this helps.
Excellent msc and client, BUT...the report for that popular Mexican eatery is needslessly way too long and filled with foolish redundancies. A thorough and comprehensive shop should not require a minimum of over one hour for input. A detailed narrative would suffice here as opposed to the current overkill report.
Rather than flipping back and forth from Word to the Ardent Report, try resizing the windows and keep both of them open. If you have a wide monitor you can have both open side by side. Another choice is to have them open one above the other. It makes it easier to copy and paste without having to continually switching back and forth between Word and the report.
I never do the reports in one sitting, and like others have said, they do get easier with time. Regarding the redundancies, there are several sections for which you can directly copy and paste from the narrative, which I also always write in Word. I've never been logged out of the site (knock on wood!) but on a few occasions, I've received an error mesage when trying to save. Thankfully, each time that's happened, using the "back" button on my browser brought it back up. Hopefully the new server will help alleviate these problems, but in the event that happens again, see if that works. (Yes, I know the site says not to go back, but sometimes that is the solution. In fact, I keep my browser window open until I get the email saying the report was released.)
OMG - if it took me even an hour to write up these reports - MUCH less 2 hours or more - there is absolutely no way I would do these shops. A "free" $10 meal is not worth that much time, plus the 30 minutes in the restaurant that you're required to spend. I do love their food, but if I had to invest that much time in each report, I'd go eat there on my own dime, thank you very much.
Here is my today's thoughts after doing my Ardent shop yesterday and another food shop today:
Ardent and this other both pay total of $25-$26

Ardent I get one meal(no drinks or extra salsa) + $15 or so cash later
Other shop I get two meals (only one shopper required so a meal to take home for dinner or lunch)+$6

Ardent shop took me over an hour and a half using the "word" copy and paste method to input
Other shop took me a half hour to input.

Ardent I can do several a month and depend on that.
Other shop I need to wait until they send me one which is unpredictable.

Food at both are very good.
Hmmm....I am thinking a free meal for another day already prepared and cooked and an extra hour of my time might be better than the $9 difference.

But I am addicted to Burritos and Ardent....like them both. ??? dilemma

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2012 08:31AM by sandyf.
I don't see a dilemma unless your resources (including time and energy) force you to do one type of shop but not both.

If I considered only the time and effort I spend on each of Ardent's main client's reports vs. the amount of food or profit I make, then I would probably stop doing those shops. However, I love how Ardent treats its shoppers. I love Deanna, my scheduler, and I love how gentle the editors are. Trish, who is in charge of the editors, rocks.
I totally agree with BusyBee. Ardent is by far the nicest MSC around and their attitudes and the great food make up for the extra time spent on the long and redundant reports. I have never received such constructive corrections from any other MSC. I also love both Deanna and Trish. Both fantastic to work with. Now if all other MSCs would use them as role models, I would be a happy shopper. :>winking smiley

Curious Sandf which MSC does the other shop you are referring to?
Yes, Sandy needs to remove the client's name, but only because we respect Jacob's forum rules.

I checked with Tracey (Ardent's owner) and Deanna (scheduler) and they both said shoppers were free to publicize that Ardent shopped Client. =)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2012 01:35PM by BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz.
And that's exactly why I said it, BusyBee. I did not reference the ICA requirements of most companies.
G3B Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I totally agree with BusyBee. Ardent is by far the
> nicest MSC around and their attitudes and the
> great food make up for the extra time spent on the
> long and redundant reports. I have never received
> such constructive corrections from any other MSC.
> I also love both Deanna and Trish. Both fantastic
> to work with. Now if all other MSCs would use them
> as role models, I would be a happy shopper. :>winking smiley
>
> Curious Sandf which MSC does the other shop you
> are referring to?


Gee, I read all this wonderful stuff about Ardent Services and went to sign up, but they're only in US. sad smiley And they are nice enough to put that on the home page. smiling smiley
Client will open restaurants in Europe (probably France) and Japan in the foreseeable future.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2012 01:34PM by BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz.
Chiplote stock analysts are not giving it a favorable forecast due to competition from Taco Bell ( hard to believe). So any expansion plans overseas may go into committe for now...
Client already has restaurants in England and France. I suspect they will open more restaurants in France and start something in Japan.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2012 01:34PM by BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz.
In reference to my dilemma in my earlier post...and i did take out the name of the restaurant which is widely publicized by others in this thread in case anyone else is in the dark...but my dilemma is exactly what the other posters mentioned. Ardent is so nice...I have spoken to both Trish and Deanna and they are so wonderful that I feel I would be letting them down if I quit. I do like the food a lot and the people a lot but hate that the report takes so long to do. The day I do a report I always promise myself I will not do another as it is not worth the time but when the next month rolls around I feel guilty quitting because I like them so much. And to you other shoppers waiting to be hired by them, my area is not overly stocked with people as I see local shops without shoppers waiting to be done around here. There are many shoppers here where I live but also a multitude of locations to cover, so if I left I do not think I would create an opening that is not already there.
For those of you in Louisiana, Ardent is opening up in Metarie soon. That will be their first store in the entire state other than the one on a college campus. They are still expanding and opening new stores. I read in the financial news that the reporter ate at Taco Bell after writing his story and does not think Ardent has anything to worry about. Perspnally I think the price point for a "fast food meal" is a bit pricey so those out of work will not be eating there until the unemployment rate comes down for them.
I am getting ready to embark upon my first but am a little worried I am underestimating how much work the report will be. I tend to write up my shop narratives right away when I sit down to report. If I write up my 2-3 paragraph narrative, the trainer encouraged copy/paste into the forms (and acknowledged redundacy). I guess after the HOURS on a Coyle dining report, this didn't appear to be as daunting but perhaps in the field/home after a shop it is much longer?
I got an email invite from Ardent, but I will pass. I already shop too many FD and hotel shops that I do not need to do long report for meals. If they invited me six years ago, when I first applied, I would have jumped on it. Right now, I'm too busy.

Not my circus - Not my monkeys @(*.*)@

~Polish Proverb~
Two points.

First, I can agree with the positive comments about Ardent employees. They are responsive, helpful, accommodating and understanding. They are everything a MSP should be. The long reports are the only negative.

Second, Lazarus Form Recovery, an add-on for Firefox is something I came across. It promises to recover otherwise lost data from a form. I haven't had to use it, but it is waiting in my browser for that eventuality.

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
Ardent does have an extremly long and difficult report. Their client brags about being "tattoo and piercing frindly" and does not want yoou to refer to crew members by age, race etc. They do not wear name tags.I did a shop for them , the three girls at the counter, two could have been twins and might have been, the third, a triplet, except her skin tone was just a little darker. I mentioned such and you would think I called her the "N word."
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