Which MSC would you recommend to a business that wanted to shop?

If you had a friend who owned or managed and business and wanted to start mystery shopping what company would you recommend they use? (This is purely hypothetical -- I'm not asking for a friend, as they say.)

For a bank I'd definitely suggest Sales Quality Group because of their shopper training and very in-depth constructive feedback on reports. They seem to believe in really servicing the client with helpful feedback instead of just filling a shop quota by any means necessary.

Let's keep this a positive thread even though I'm sure we can all think of companies we wouldn't recommend based on what we've seen from the shopper side. smiling smiley

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I think it would depend on the business. But I think your Sales Quality Group recommendation is spot on.

If it was a really good friend, and the business was small and local (say, within 2 or 3 states, with fewer than 60 locations), I think I'd be mighty tempted to start my own MSC!!!!
Yes, it's always clear which surveys have been designed by people with mystery shopping experience and which ones haven't been. There's a great regional MSC here in New England called QACI whose owner has both managed restaurants/bars and done many a mystery shop himself and his guidelines are really helpful -- they've made me a better mystery shopper for other companies too.
Bank jobs I recommend Informa, with restaurants I have many MSC's I'd recommend, top two has to be, Mercantile and Customer Impact. , although I have a couple small boutique MSC's who shall remain nameless.
The three I have mentioned are to be found on any search.

Live consciously....
I would recommend DJC. They are small but the nicest group of MSC folks I know. Jeff and Brandon are my favorites. I'd love to see them get more clients. I also might recommend Reality Based. They are super and I really like the scheduler Nikki.
@roflwofl,,,wanted to keep DJC a secret, yes the nicest company and schedulers, having only two clients, they should grow, but pay is too low...still can't say no....smiling smiley

Live consciously....
I have done referrals for one company, but it was a unique situation and a niche company. In general, how are referrals done and what kind of pay is usual (if any)?
Banking and financial services (large banks): Informa, hands down
Parking: Servimer
New homes, apartments and senior living: Clear Evaluations
Automobile sales: Person-to-Person
Small/community banks and credit unions: Person-to-Person
Hotels: BB Solutions

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
And if you want to do pro bono work in mystery shopping, Franchise Compliance, The Freeman Group, and Instant-Replays are for you.
I'll call it as I see it... It'd be someone like me. I have numerous private clients, and when that the business grows beyond the scope of my activity, I know the owners of plenty of MSC's that can take it from there.

Simply put, my friend would be a private client, and if their business took off, I'd consult with the folks I know in the business and find 'em the best possible fit, something like suggesting an assortment of 3-5 or so and letting them be picky choosey.
Everyone has their favorites. I like Market Viewpoint for banks (smaller ones). Ath Power says that they dominate mystery shopping for the financial community, and I really enjoy doing shops for ath.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance when, while wearing my video shop rig and shirt, I walked into a national fast food chain location— and the COO, VP-Marketing, CFO, and a handful of other bigwigs were there, observing the workings.

I immediately jumped on this opportunity- made a sales pitch to the little cluster of executives, demo’d my video rig... gave them everything I had.

I got a handful of business cards from all of them in return. This chain has 1400 locations in the US.

And - then, I blew it.

I started doubting myself. Overthinking it.

Gave the contact information to the owner of a MSC that I knew very well. She took it (in exchange for a 15% commission for me) all the way to almost signing a contract with the chain, and then the deal fell apart.

That was three years ago, and they’ve been purchased by another mega-chain. None of the executives are there anymore, their emails bounce back (I tried recently...)

I’m still kicking myself. That would have been a million dollar account; those guys HATED traveling around for their quarterly drop-in observations and video shops would’ve solved their problem. They were literally entranced, seeing how a video shopper could get every detail that they were needing - while they were at corporate HW, not 500 miles away.

Don’t EVER doubt yourself if you’re in this situation. I should have taken the reins at that point, started small with a regional series of video shops, and then gradually expanded.

Did I mention that I’m still kicking myself?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2019 02:26PM by ColoKate63.
The QACI were so nice to work with. I was bummed when I moved out of the area where they shop.
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