Ath Power Consulting is the top mystery shop provider for the financial services industry. The company is based in based in Andover Massachusetts. They were established in 1997 and specialize in helping clients build brand loyalty and customer retention. They pride themselves in their large database of reliable shoppers.
The Better Business Bureau has given Ath Power Consulting an A+ rating. New shoppers can register at http://www.athpower.com/
I registered with Ath Power Consulting about four years ago and do primarily bank shops. In that time, I have performed over 100 on-site bank shops for the company and a few bank phone-shops. Although the pay for the phone shops is low, I enjoy them as many of them are fast and easy and a pleasant experience.
Ath Power Consulting uses the SASSIE software platform, which makes reporting a breeze and I also like the fact that my JobSlingerPlus account displays the available Ath Power assignments. Another positive feature of SASSIE, is that you can take your time reporting, by periodically hitting “save”. This is important because the report is mainly a highly detailed narrative and you don’t want it to go poof!
Shoppers have two payment options. They may opt for direct deposit into their bank account via Bill.com or choose to receive a paper check. Once a shop is approved, payments are made on the last day of each month, for shops completed the previous month. The Ath Power Consulting website advises shoppers who request a paper check to allow an additional 7-10 business days for the checks to be delivered by the USPS.
Types of Assignments
Ath offers both “customer” and “non-customer” bank shops. My experience is solely based on the “customer” assignments. The reports are a combination of radio buttons and play-by-play narrative.
- Account Retention: You are instructed to enter the bank and request to close your existing account. The client wants to know how actively their representatives are working to retain customers. The report requires a highly detailed narrative describing specifically what the representative said and did to keep your business.
- Deposit and Withdrawal: From my experience, these are the easiest and most practical shops. I frequently have a need to either make a deposit or withdraw some cash. The client is interested in a portrayal of the customer experience and wants to determine if the representative used the opportunity to up-sell additional products.
- Safety Deposit Box: This is another assignment, which I consider easy and enjoyable. You simply state you are interested in a safety deposit box and report if the representative escorted you to the safety deposit box vault, showed you the different sizes of boxes and provided a detailed explanation of the entire process. Once again, the client is interested in the experience as seen through a customer’s eyes.4. Bank CDs: I find the CD shops to be the most difficult merely because the current interest rate is so low and the representatives always give me an odd look. I’m not sure what the client is attempting to measure, except perhaps extreme sales skills.
- High Yield Account: You have to have a minimum of $5,000 to open this type of account. I find this shop quite uncomfortable because the representatives can readily see I don’t $5,000 in my account.
What Shoppers Have to Say
Members of the Mystery Shop Forum unanimously hold Ath Power Consulting in high regard. A sampling of comments includes: “Ath Power is one of my favorites. Began with them in November and have done lots of bank shops. Some nice bonuses toward the end of each month, and the schedulers have been great to work with.” and “They pay like clockwork too!”
My Ath Power Consulting “Almost Disaster Shop”
I went to a downtown branch to talk to the bank representative about a safety deposit box. He explained how it all worked and took me to the safety deposit boxes. He went through the whole process and then we just sat and talked. He was pleasant and handsome, (I should add) and I enjoyed our interaction. I thanked him and left.
One week later I drove to a different branch, located 30 miles across town. When I arrived, I was advised the bank representative had not shown up yet, but was on his way. (I was required to wait and since he was on his way, I decided to stay.) When he was a block away, he called again and I heard the teller tell him “A customer is here to open a safe deposit box.”
Within minutes, he strode through the front door and I almost fell off of my chair! It was the same bank representative I had worked with, 30 miles away across town! I had to do some fast thinking. I said, “Hi. I am here to talk to you about a savings account (sounded like safety deposit box …I hope!) He never batted an eye. He apparently did not hear clearly over the phone when the teller said “safety deposit box” (thankfully) because he calmly sat me down and said, “Let’s get you started on the savings account.”
He did add, in a friendly tone of voice though, “I see you are way over here today.” I responded, “Yes, I was in the area visiting my friend in college, so…” Since the college is directly across the street, he simply nodded in understanding.
Afterwards, I felt very lucky because, despite my momentary shock, it all worked well.
I highly recommend Ath Power Consulting because the schedulers are fair and they will work with you on your schedule. And they always provide great upbeat comments and critiques! In addition, the pay is commensurate for the amount of work required and fees are always paid as agreed.