stilllearning

Primo Solutions: Interview with the President and CEO

Company Overview: Primo Solutions, LLC is a privately owned, full service Mystery Shopping, Training and Consulting company based in Phoenix, AZ. It was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Phoeniz, AZ. The company specializes in the senior housing industry and offers services throughout the United States and Canada.

Primo Solutions has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

New shoppers can apply at http://www.primosolutionsllc.com/. (The new “shopper URL” will be available in the next few days. Until then, use “Shopper Contact” to express interest in becoming a shopper and you will be notified as soon as the link is ready for use.)

The company will be using the Prophet software platform.

MSM talks with Michael Miller, President and CEO:

MSM: You have chosen to live such an amazing life, being a highly decorated combat veteran, a successful motivational speaker and corporate trainer and a prolific author. Since we really don’t know where to start, we will let you. Please tell us about your background and what, if anything, contributed to your enthusiasm for life, your passion to help others and your drive to be the best you can be—100% of the time?

Michael Miller: It’s kind of crazy how I went from being a combat veteran to owning a very successful mystery shopping and training company.  I spent 12 years in the U.S. Army and was medically retired as a Captain after blowing out my knees.  After leaving the Army, I worked as a consultant for Accenture for about a year.  After Accenture, I worked at the Pentagon for the Army Chief Information Officer as a Senior Systems Analyst.

While visiting family in Phoenix, AZ in 2003, I met the lady who is now my wife.  I moved to AZ in 2004 and ended up working for a research company that provided mystery shopping to the senior living industry.  Having been raised by my grandparents most of my life, I fell in love with the industry and have specialized in the industry ever since.

As far as my passion and what drives me to be the best person I can be, that is a much longer story.  However, here is the abbreviated version.  After high school, I joined the military.  I loved the Army because it provided structure and for the first time in my life, I felt like I really belonged. I was part of something bigger than myself.  I was married at 19 and had my first child at the age of 20 and my second child at 23.  I was very much driven by a desire to be successful.  To advance through the ranks as quickly as possible, I volunteered for all the hard assignments and sacrificed an enormous amount of time away from my family.  Then in 1999, I had a string of events that turned my world upside down.  In 1999, I was divorced. In 2000, due to multiple knee injuries, I made the difficult choice to leave the military.  In 2001, my kids were involved in a car accident in which my seven year old daughter lost her life.

Losing a child is the most devastating thing that can happen to a person.  I went through two really dark years where I searched for comfort in drugs and alcohol.  It was at the end of that two-year period that I met my wife, and started turning my life around.  I realized that life is a gift, and we need to live each day as if it may be our last.  My daughter was such a special person that touched the lives of so many people, and I wanted to continue her legacy and live a life that would have made her proud.  So, my legacy has been to continue my daughter’s legacy, and that has been the driving force behind my enthusiasm for life, my passion to help others, and continue to strive every day to be the best person I can be.

MSM: In 2007, you and your wife, Elisa (Lisa) Miller, established Primo Solutions, LLC, a mystery shopping company, which specialized in senior housing mystery shops. What previous experience did either of you have with mystery shopping and what influenced you to select this particular specialty?

Michael Miller: After moving to Phoenix in 2004, my first job was with a mystery shopping company.  Until then, I did not even know what mystery shopping was, and I thought the senior living industry was another term for nursing homes.  As the COO of this company, I quickly learned that mystery shopping was one of the most cost effective tools to help an organization become more successful.  I have always had a special place in my heart for seniors, so I was blessed to work in an industry that allowed me to consult with the people who worked with seniors every day.

MSM: Please describe the process of taking a brand-new mystery shopping company from ground zero to the success it grew to be.

Michael Miller: Starting a company is not easy, and takes hard work.  However, anything worth having does not come easy. If you interview the leaders of any successful organization, they will probably all agree that the key to success is in the relationships you build. I was blessed to have developed close relationships with our clients.  We accomplished this by providing best-in-class customer service and an excellent product.  Over the years, these relationships have continuously provided a huge source of referrals.  So, I attribute our success to the two R’s – relationships and referrals.

MSM: In 2008, just one year after starting your own business, you became an author, publishing Maci’s Place in 2008, followed by three more books. What led to this change of direction so soon after opening a new company?

Michael Miller: Another key to our success, which I failed to mention in the previous question, is hiring the right team members.  I learned in the military as a young leader that your team can make you or break you.  We hired a first class team that was equally passionate about our vision.  They were enabled to make decisions, and welcomed the responsibility of leading the mystery shopping operations.  As a result, it freed me up to do what I love the most – writing, speaking, and training.  So, I would not say it was a change of direction, as it had always been part of our plan.

MSM: In October 2014, you announced that Bild & Company had acquired Primo Solutions. What is the relationship between the two companies today?

Michael Miller: This was a very difficult decision for us.  We had worked for over 8 years to grow Primo Solutions, and we were very successful as a small business.  Our intent when starting Primo Solutions was to impact and make a difference in as many lives as possible.  As cliché as that may sound, that is the truth.  We thought that by combining forces with another well-known company in the industry, we could accomplish the goal of making a larger impact on the industry.  After several months, we realized this was not the best decision.  So we filed a lawsuit to regain ownership of Primo Solutions.  In July 2015, we regained ownership of Primo Solutions.  Due to the nature of the settlement, I am not at liberty to speak to the current relationship between the two companies.

MSM: Judging by the number of laudatory posts on the Mystery Shop Forum, shoppers are unanimous in their positive opinions of Primo Solutions. A sample post reads: “(They are) great to work for, fair pay for the project and they pay quickly. One of the good experiences in the mystery shopping world.” What do you actively do to make this happen?

Michael Miller: We have conducted our own research and found that the most important key to keeping shoppers happy and loyal is paying them on time.  Although most companies pay their shoppers on a monthly basis, Primo Solutions pays their shoppers on a weekly basis.  If there are complaints, we handle them immediately.  As the CEO of the company, I have taken calls from shoppers who requested to speak to me.  Most shoppers were surprised that a CEO would call them. We do what we can to keep our clients and contractors happy because in the end, that results in a key factor to success.

MSM: “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.” What impact has this quote had on your personal and professional life?

Michael Miller: This quote has had a huge impact on my life.  I use it in almost all of my speeches and trainings.  People like to buy from people they know and trust.  So, regardless of how great your product and service is, people want to know you genuinely care for them before they think about what you are selling.  After all, how difficult of a task is it?

MSM: What’s next on the horizon for Primo Solutions?

Michael Miller: Since regaining ownership of Primo Solutions, our focus is to grow the company.  We have learned some valuable lessons over the past nine months.  Our goal is to now implement those lessons into our daily operations and become even better than we were.  We will stand true to our core values.  Regardless of what our competitors are doing, we will continue to always do the right thing.  There are companies out there that will choose a Mystery Shopping Provider (MSP) based on price alone, and could care less about the values that MSP represents.  Those rare the kind of companies we choose not to work with.  We will grow Primo Solutions with clients who maintain strong values and appreciate companies like Primo Solutions who live their values on a daily basis.

MSM: Michael, thank you for such a refreshingly candid and heartwarming interview. We are totally confident Primo Solutions will reemerge stronger and bigger than ever!