Monday, June 17

Customer Impact - A Mystery Shopping Company that Gets It

I have been shopping with Customer Impact (http://www.customerimpactinfo.com/) for several years.  In 2007 Marketforce purchased a company called Speedmark, but they were mostly interested in the national chains.  Three principals from Speedmark broke off to form Customer Impact.  They took the regional chains with them, which happened to be concentrated in the fine dining sector.

The company uses the Sassie software platform, which is one of the most widely used mystery shopping reporting systems.  Payments are made via Paypal near the end of the month following completion of the shop.  From what I can tell, shops are offered throughout most of the United States.

The company provides a fee with all its shops.  These days, many restaurant shops are offered as reimbursement-only, but you can always count on a fee in addition to your reimbursement with this company.  It's a gentle nudge that reminds you how valuable your report is to the client.

Narrative is required with the reports, but it's nothing out of the ordinary.  The editors are thorough but fair.  They expect a solid report, but won't berate you if they have to contact you about something you forgot to include in the written report.

I wanted to point out something that happened to me recently.  I completed the first shop at a restaurant for a small chain they just added.  The chain's other locations offer full service dining during the lunch hour, but the location I visited provided counter service.  Having never dined at the restaurant, I had no idea until I got there.  I proceeded with the shop anyway and submitted my report as best I could considering it was drafted for a full service experience.  A staff member from Customer Impact contacted me, apologizing as they were just as surprised as I had been.  He asked if I could help with some additional information so that they could revise the report to be more relevant to the venue.  I was not required to re-enter my report.  Instead, the contact phoned me and asked me about the restaurant and my experience.  When my shop was evaluated, I received a 10/10 AND a $5 bonus (on top of the $12 fee) for the additional time I provided to clarify things.

Customer Impact treats its shoppers right while providing solid work for its clients.  As more and more companies provide a watered-down "commodity" product, it's refreshing to see there are others who treat their shoppers and clients like partners.  Strong partnerships always yield better results.

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