5 Mystery Shopping Companies Seeking Mystery Shoppers

   This week, we talk about 5 new mystery shopping companies. You may already be a part of most or all of them. Some of you might not know much about a particular one listed here. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on some of the facts about each mystery shopping company.

Remember, the more companies you sign up for, the more assignments you’ll be offered.

1. Data Quest LTD

Located in Canton, Massachusetts, Date Quest LTD has been in business since 1981 and is a licensed, bonded and insured private investigation agency. They provide elite information gathering, loss prevention and detection expertise to companies and attorneys.

Russ Bubas is the President of this thriving company. Russ served 4 years as a Counter-Intelligence Officer in the U.S. and Korea. Since 1981,  Russ has built this company from a small local detective agency, to a successful corporate private investigation agency. (there is also a branch in New York City). Russ Bubas has 35 years experience in the business and he is one of the leading investigative experts in the industry.

Data Quest provides critical intelligence to identify and eliminate property loss, establish policies and protect the bottom-line in businesses. They offer executive support and protection in risk assessments and threat analysis. They have had over 1,000 clients over the years and many of their clients are Fortune 500 Companies.

Interesting In-Depth Investigating: Data Quest investigators are hired into a client’s business (company) to gather undercover information, that would be unavailable by any other means.

Data Quest LTD is a Nationwide Mystery Shopping Company and is a long standing member of the MSPA.

“Data Quest: Not Just Your Average Mystery Shopping Company”

They Offer: Advanced Site Surveys, (Bar)–Integrity Audits, Cash Mishandling, Under-Ringing Sales, Voiding Recorded Sales, Unauthorized Discounts, Reissuing or “Swinging Checks and Receipts.” (Bar) Assist in Prosecution and Restitution Procedures, Successful in Criminal and Civil Proceedings, Legal Support Services to Attorneys, and Intricate Camera Systems, Intellectual Property Rights, Interview/Statement Taking for Judgement and Recovery, Loss Prevention Surveys, Polygraph Testing, Skip Trace, Surveillance/Physical Observation, Remote Video Monitoring, GPS Vehicle Tracking, Industrial Espionage Surveillance, Matrimonial Issues (Infidelity/Divorce) Interview and Interrogation, Background Reporting, Asset Tracing and Recovery, Employment Screening, Public Record Documents, Investigative Services-Cash Theft, Sexual Harassment Complaints, Missing Persons, Sensitive Issues, Attorney Services, Executive Protection, Employee Tip Line, Insurance Fraud, Background Reporting, Due Diligence and Employment Screenings,


Shops Available: Price Audits, Merchandise Audits, Discrimination Testing (employment) Competitive Shops, Corporate Investigations (to protect assets and personal property of companies) Integrity Bar Shops, Phone Shops, Competitor Shops, Automotive Shops, Amusement Parks, Entertainment, Banking, Financial, Concessions, Education Shops, Food and Beverage Shops, Hospitality Shops, Legal, Parking Valet Shops, Theaters, Warehouse and Distribution Shops,

To learn more:


2. Customer Impact

Scott Hiller is the CEO of this very successful company located in Bryan, Texas.  Scott’s background in consumer product, marketing and sales, provides a knowledgeable information base for the company. Scott created Speedmark and had this popular company for many years. Customer Impact has over 200,000 mystery shoppers.

Scott Hiller and Mike Green started a “boutique firm” to specialize in the needs of retail organizations. Mark Green, now President of Customer Impact, merged his company with Speedmark . As some shoppers know, Speedmark became part of Market Force in 2009. Later that year, Scott Hiller and Mike Green began Customer Impact. Mike is also a Charter Member and Past President of the MSPA.

Fact: Customer Impact uses the number one (#1) ranking software in the industry, to provide to our shoppers and clients, the fastest way to get the shops reported and back to the client. Customer Impact has served over 1,000,000 customers over the years.

Prior to Speedmark, Scott was a director of merchandising for a national  convenience store chain (STOP N’GO) and also was a sales manager at one time for Frito Lay.

Mystery Shoppers are called “Professional Evaluators” by Customer Impact.

Company Motto” Make an IMPACT…not just an impression.”

Company Mantra: “The only thing better than great customer service, is consistent customer service.

Interesting Study: Studies Suggest that over 95% of customers base where they shop, not only on products offered and pricing but “how well they are treated by employees.” Getting the customer in can be “easy” but getting them to come back can be a real issue.

That customer who has an unhappy experience in your business, can tell 10 people about the negative experience, and those 10 people can pass the experience around through friends and social media..

Guest Never Coming Back: In more studies, 95 % of guests never communicate a negative experience to employees, they just “never come back” instead.

Shoppers Favorite Scheduler: Barbry Booth has consistently made it as mystery shoppers favorite scheduler in the eyes of our shoppers. She is the Senior Scheduler for Customer Impact.

Customer Impact: “We help businesses provide the best customer service possible.” Every Customer. Every Time.”

Shops: Steak House, Famous Bakery Division, Famous Boot-wear Store, Reveal and Rewards Shops, Covert Shops, Video Shops, Competitor Shops, Franchise Compliance Shops, Quick Service Restaurants, Fast Casual Restaurants, Full Service Restaurants, Fine Dining Shops, Lounge/Bar Shops, Clothing Shops, Jewelry Shops, Electronics Shops, Music Shops, Airline Shops, Auto Dealership Shops, Rent To Own Shops, Beauty Shops, Cash Handling, Pricing Audits, Product Display Audits, Hotels, Resorts, Spas, Product Roll-Outs, Grocery Shops, C-Store Shops, Banks, Savings and Loan Shops, Credit Unions, Investment Company Shops, Bank Phone Shops, Popular Café Dining, Specialty Housewares Shop, High End Steak House Shops, Sit Down Casual Dining Shops, Hawaiian Fusion Dining, Sub Sandwich Shops, Drug Store Shops, Popular Margarita Dining Shops, High End Blinds/Window Coverings Shops, Famous Italian Restaurant Shops, Egg Breakfast Chain Shops and Colorado Resorts.



3. Customer Impact

What Makes a Good Mystery Shopper?

By Shay Mayes, Customer Impact Scheduler

People often ask us what makes a good mystery shopper. There are a lot of qualities that a good mystery shopper generally has.

  1. They appreciate good service and understand what that is, when they receive it.
  2. They want to help improve the service levels at the places they like to frequent. Mystery shoppers take pleasure in knowing that their comments and suggestions are read and acted upon by the businesses they shop. They take personal satisfaction in watching service improve and in knowing that they played a part in that.
  3. Good mystery shoppers are objective. They approach each new assignment as if it were the first time they had ever heard of the store they were assigned to shop, and they provide unbiased information in their surveys and allow the clients to draw their own conclusions.
  4. Reliability is key! Good shoppers only accept assignments which they know they will be able complete on time and correctly. If they find they cannot complete a shop as assigned, they communicate with their schedulers right away.
  5. They understand the importance of following directions. They read and follow each client’s evaluation criteria exactly as it is spelled out.
  6. They are observant and attentive, able to pay attention to what is going on around them and remember details that are observed.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a good mystery shopper? What other qualities do you think can be included on this list? There is no “one-size-fits-all” mystery shopper description!

To learn more:


4. Customer Perspectives

Customer Perspectives has been in business for 33 years. They are located in Hookset, New Hampshire. Judi Hess is the Founder and President of this great company. They began in 1983. Customer Perspectives has been recognized as one of the first Mystery Shopping Companies in the Industry. Judi has been past President and Director of the MSPA for many years. She is also a member of the MSPA Global Board and a member of the New England Financial Marketing Associates (NEFMA)

Customer Perspectives-Fact: Consumers are spending again but businesses are slacking off in the customer service areas. Best Advice: Find out what your customers want, find out what it is, provide it, by going above and beyond.

Fact: Two-thirds (2/3) of customers stopped doing business with a company because of one poor experience.

Five Ways to Maximize Your Mystery Shopping Results:

  1. Share your mystery shopping results within the departments.
  2. Share those results with the person shopped, give that employee positive feedback while giving constructive help.
  3. Compare the Mystery Shopping Results to prior periods. How and why has it improved?
  4. Plan Training and Coaching Strategies to address weaknesses identified during
  5. Measure Customer Experience continuously, as time and budget allows.

“Send Them to Your Competitors?”

Retail Clerks are sending and recommending that the customer take their business to the competitor. A customer looking for a certain type of pants, for example, has the employee sending that customer to another store in the mall.

Motto: “See your Business from the Customer’s Perspective.”

Shops: Phone Shops, Call Center Evaluations, Training Needs Assessments, Manager Assessments, Competitor Shops, Jewelry Shops, Hotel Chains, Tuxedo Shops, Salon Equipment Shops, Popular Cell Phone Carrier, Popular Hardware Shops, Big Brand Tire Shops, Famous Moving Company, Women’s Famous Fashion Shops, Famous Bridal Shops, Dental Care Shops, Lighting Shops, Shopping Center, Famous Gas Station Shops, Furniture Shops, Mexican Restaurant Chain, Dry Cleaner Shops, Wholesale Warehouse Shops, Famous Designer Purse Maker Shops, Bowling Shops and Famous Gadgets and Toys Shops, Retail, Healthcare, Banking, Financial Services, Famous Beach Atmosphere Restaurant, Car Towing Company, Swedish Furniture Shops, and Bar/ Integrity Shops.

To learn more:

4. Coyle Hospitality Group

Coyle Hospitality Group began in 1996. Jim Coyle is the President of this thriving company. Coyle Hospitality is primarily for the Global Hospitality Industry, such as Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, Cruises and Venues worldwide, as well as Timeshares, Quality Benchmarking, Brand Compliance, Market Research Programs and Fine Dining.

Jim Coyle has held positions in Finance, Food Service and Hotel Operations. He developed Q-ore, the first fully customizable, online mystery shopping company data base platform, designed for the unique demands of the Hospitality Industry. He has both FOH and BOH (Front/Back of the House) experience, including Grand Openings of World Famous Resorts and Hotels. He graduated Cornell University in 1987 and presently serves over 400 clients within this busy company. There are 18,000 evaluators called “professional evaluators” (mystery shoppers) within Coyle. There have been 65,000 evaluations since 1996, serving markets around the world.

Coyle Hospitality has shops in: Barcelona, Beijing, Cape Town, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Munich, Mumbai, Paris, Prague, Rome, Singapore, Toronto and Vancouver. Coyle has shops in the top U.S cites such as New York and Chicago. Coyle also has a home base in New York City.

When you think of the most opulent, famous and exclusive hotels in the world, Coyle Hospitality is likely the Mystery Shopping Company involved in mystery shopping (evaluating) these resorts and hotels. Coyle has over 300 clients (companies) that they work with every day.

World Coverage: Coyle has world coverage in: North America, Latin America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East-Africa.

Nevada and Coyle: Elite Investigations in Nevada has paired with Coyle Hospitality, to partner together and have done so for many years, Coyle has depended on Elite Investigations to work together in unison, with Nevada’s special legal requirements for mystery shoppers.

Coyle Buzz: “In any given week, at least one evaluator (mystery shopper) is on a world famous cruise.”

Motto: “We listen. We Collaborate.”

Shops: Primarily Upscale, High End Hotels, Resorts, Hotel Fitness Centers and a few Higher End B & B’s. Also: Banking, Wealth Management, Auto Shops, Casinos/Hotels, Non-Gaming Casinos, Vegas Strip Hotels (on and off strip) New Home shops, Cruise Customer-Surveys. Mexican Restaurants, Cruise Lines/Cruise Ships Shops, Exclusive Resorts, Spas, Club Cruises, Famous Travel Channel, Famous Food Channel and many unique resorts all over the world.

The Positive and Negative of Cruise Ships: Food and Beverage had both positive and negative feedback on most Cruise Ships. The Food, Facilities and Atmosphere had more influence on negative responses than did Boarding, Departure and Entertainment.

(Cruise) Lacking: Recognition and Value, along with Customer Satisfaction and Anticipating Customer Needs, were lacking across the industry.

To learn more:


5. Customer 1st.

Customer 1st is a division of BES (Business Evaluation Services), along with Customer 1st, BMA Mystery Shopping and Mystery Shopper Services. These companies are all part of Business Evaluation Services. (BES). BES began under the direction of Charles Stiles, Founder and Owner of Business Evaluation Services (BES) along with Customer 1st. Charles is a long time member of the MSPA. BES began in 1996 in Bakersfield, California as a full service market, guest satisfaction and compliance audit company. BES grew out of the need for service evaluations so business owners can find out how things really operate when they are not around.

With over 20 years experience and BES serves nationally, serving all points in the U.S. Canada, and Puerto Rico. They have over 400,000 mystery shoppers, collectively. Charles is also host of the Food Network show “Mystery Diners” which developed and first aired in 2011. He has over 30 schedulers that are employed and they also edit/schedule the reports. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the MSPA. He lobbies to keep the status of independent contractor for the mystery shoppers.

Highlights:  Internal Audits, Team Action Modules, Digital Comment Cards, Guest Satisfaction Surveys, Qualitative Research, Ethnographic Research,

Shops: Retail, Banking, Hotels, Parking Facilities, Pricing Audits, Merchandise Audits, Bar/Integrity Shops, Casinos, Electronics Store Shops, Flooring Retail Shops, Furnishing Retail Shops, Theme Parks, Health Clubs, Web-Based Shops, Specialty Retail Shops, Auto (Sales/Service/Parts), Wireless Services Shops, Market Audits, Competitive Analysis, Video Shops,

Highlights from his companies:

Do you have any advice for a struggling business?

By Charles Stiles- Founder of (BES).

CS: It starts with upper management, proper leadership, creating accountability for your expectations, developing a service culture with nonnegotiable standards and some kind of measure to audit that, to make sure your staff is clearly following what you have set as a mandate for your service. That’s where the biggest disconnect is — when there are no policies put into place or no one is enforcing those policies. Owners will tend to overlook that and focus too much on the inside of their business and lose sight of the business as a whole. The key to success is to have the owner really work on the business, and put the key leadership on someone who can be trusted to pay attention to whether people are doing their jobs. Most successful companies grow because there are good people in place. This frees owners to focus on building the business instead of being in the day-to-day grind where it’s difficult to pay attention to what’s happening around you.

Becoming an Independent Evaluator

Independent Contractors range in age, gender, ethnic and economic backgrounds. The key to being a successful IC and receiving continuous assignments is:

  • Only accepting evaluations you are comfortable performing
  • Never requesting and accepting evaluations you are not 100% confident that you can complete on time
  • You should generally enjoy interacting with people
  • Checking the evaluation board regularly for available evaluations
  • Be setup with PayPal
  • Always keep your profile up-to-date
  • Stay in communication with our company/team
  • You should be able to remember small details and have excellent observation skills
  • Have good written and verbal communication skills
  • Have a computer and the ability to check email often
  • Have reliable internet access and transportation
  • Have access to a scanner or digital camera

To learn more:

In closing, the world is your “mystery shopping oyster” You can pick and choose companies. If a company is not paying well, you can be a “one-hit-wonder” with them and choose to not work with them again, if they are not up to your standards. You carry the weight here. The best advice, is to give each company a chance, see how good/fair they are about bonus-shops. Some shoppers care about the bonus, some care about the amount of paperwork and some care about how fair the schedulers/company are to them. You always get to pick and choose. Just remember that.

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