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Service Evaluation Concepts

Company Overview: This is a company that delivers information about the point of sale transaction to companies in a variety of ways. Mystery shopping, intercepts and audits are some of those ways. Based in Woodbury, New York, Service Evaluation Concepts, (SEC) has more than 25 years in business and also offers real-time feedback options.

Types of Assignments: They serve a wide variety of industries but focus on healthcare, insurance and grocery stores in the United States. The job board displays shops by state or by distance in this country. It also lists about 20 countries around the world from which to search for jobs. This MSPA charter member pays by either direct deposit or check. The latter option has a $3 fee. Their payment schedule is unclear.

How to Apply: New shoppers may apply to become a Brand Agent here. After registering you become a Research Participant. From there you can become a Brand Agent after passing a general test ensuring “a complete understanding of SEC policies and procedures and market research methodologies.”

Brand Agents have access to the website and further testing. The next level is a Certified Brand Agent who is “tested and certified to ensure they have a complete understanding of a specific client engagement.”

There is more. Completing assignments satisfactorily increases your Brand Agent (BA) rating. “The higher your BA Rating, the more opportunities you will receive. Your rating will lead to special consideration for the most desirable assignments. All Research Participants with high BA ratings will also be able to self-assign and get more opportunities than those with low ratings.” Lastly, the website is designed to work with Internet Explorer.

What others have to say: There is significant discussion about SEC going back some years on the forum. Shopper reports are mixed and sometimes confusing in content. For example, many praise quick payment by this company. Some report payment like clockwork on the 20th of the month following the shop by direct deposit. However, others state longer payment times and even problems getting payment. Another shopper suggests differing payment schedules for different clients.

Many shoppers cite good to fair pay for the reports, while others cite poor pay for the effort. On specific shopper cites high pay for healthcare shops while also citing low pay for some retail shops. Purchase and return shops with a high dollar outlay were reported by numerous shoppers.

The website itself is called confusing and non-intuitive. I found it different as well. The site runs slow for me as it is designed for IE when I generally use Firefox. It has unique terms. For example, the term Brand Agent is used to describe a mystery shopper. The Cyber Briefcase section is another section that is not intuitively named but seems to contain shop documents. Comments regarding responsiveness of this company are mixed as well. Some report quick action to resolve issues. Others report difficulties getting responses to inquiries.

Overall, there more favorable comments from long-time forum members than unfavorable comments. The BBB rates it A+ without accreditation.

Personally, I signed up with SEC seven years ago and became a Brand Agent immediately. In that time, I have gotten about 10 emails listing healthcare jobs in my area. Checking the job board has resulted in very few hits. Thus, I have yet to apply for a shop from this company.

In conclusion, this is an MSP with a long history of operations. Its overall business may be moving into “Big Data” but it maintains a mystery shopping that is run a little differently. Shoppers are given enhanced skills and training that elevates them above the ordinary into Brand Agents and Certified Brand Agents. What that means is shoppers have to pass some tests to get shops. Furthermore, it gives its better shoppers more and better shops. For me, there is sufficient positive feedback to continue looking for shops from this company.

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