Company Overview: Although it bills itself as the largest customer research company in the U.S., Maritz Research forgoes the latest in technology to conduct its mystery shopping endeavors. Instead, it relies more heavily on having human contact with its shopper base, probably more so than most mystery shopping companies.
Virtual Customers is the name of Maritz’s mystery shopping division, which is based in Overland Park, Kansas. Their website claims that the parent research company has been in existence for over 100 years. It also states that the mystery shopping division conducts over 260,00 evaluations per year. Most of these assignments are involved with banking, gas station, and retail.
Payment are made every two weeks via check.
Visit the website for Maritz Research at https://www.maritzmysteryshopping.com/profile/Default.aspx to sign up. The application will ask for your basic information, as well as a short narrative on why you are interested in becoming a mystery shopper. Additional steps include submitting a W-9 and ICA. An email notification will be sent out to confirm registration and approval.
Established shoppers can self-assign from the list of available jobs posted on the website. They can also sign up for regular rotations of certain assignments. However, shoppers are contacted via phone on a regular basis to be asked to fill remote assignments as well. Many assignments provide a window of several days in which to complete them, making for convenient scheduling for the shopper. This is one of the few MSCs that can be contacted via phone 7 days a week if a shopper needs assistance.
Debate ensues regularly on www.mysteryshopforum.com regarding Maritz’s lack of technology in lieu of using personal contact. Many forum members would much rather have the ease and simplicity of using electronic communication, and complain about the behind-the-times systems. Their website does not provide a way to review past assignments and payment history. Maritz has a presence on social media, but it is not active or current.
Other forum members appreciate being able to interact with a friendly person, and especially value the availability of this, considering the fast that other MSCs are uncommunicative via any resource.
Regardless of preferences in regards to the human contact vs technology practices, all established forum members agree that this company is reputable, ethical, reliable, and great to work with. There have been no legitimate postings about late or inaccurate pay or rejected reports. Many shoppers have been completing assignments for Maritz for years with no problems.
One small issue regarding this MSC concerns their secret rating system for shoppers. Although Maritz is not the only company to do this, shoppers seem to prefer that ratings are openly shared.
The only complaint lodged about reports is that the questions are not always kept up-to-date to accurately reflect assignment criteria, as well as not providing space for additional comments to submit pertinent details.
Personal Experience: I complete approximately 50 assignments yearly for Maritz, mostly banking and gas stations. I’ve never experienced any rejected reports or had to endure negative editorial feedback. Reports have been easy, with little to no narrative.
Rarely have I been able to conduct email communication with Maritz. When I have had to resort to using the phone, everyone I have interacted with has been very polite. It can be time consuming to reach someone directly that has the knowledge to answer an inquiry, but they will make every attempt to find out what I need to know.
Payments are always made in a consistent and timely manner. Bonuses are offered most usually by phone, usually for fairly nominal amounts.