TalkShop

IntelliShop President elected Secretary of MSPA

Dallas, TX Ron Welty, President of IntelliShop, was elected Secretary of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association ("MSPA") at its annual conference in San Francisco; he will serve through 2009.  Ron has served on MSPA's Board of Directors since 2003.  When asked about his election, he said, "I am deeply honored that my colleagues on the Board have placed their faith in me to serve the association in this capacity, and I remain strongly committed to my passion of furthering  MSPA and the interests of our members."

IntelliShop, located in Perrysburg, Ohio, provides mystery shopping and other customer experience measurement solutions to clients in more than 25 industries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.  IntelliShop is widely recognized and respected for providing exceptional quality and service to its clients.

The MSPA is the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources. With over 150 member companies worldwide, its diverse membership includes marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Member companies work with their clients to establish mechanisms to measure and improve levels of service.

New Service For Mystery Shoppers from IntelliShop & fixmypcnow.com

IntelliShop Partners with fixmyPCnow.com to provide 24/7 tech support to shoppers

IntelliShop and fix my pc | now! jointly announced a partnership agreement today. As a partner company, fix my pc | now! will offer discounted computer and technical support to all IntelliShop clients, shoppers and employees using their existing broadband Internet connection. Support services will be made available 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world.

"Nearly all of IntelliShop's services are being delivered online. This partnership will allow our shoppers the ability to have any technical issue identified and fixed without them ever leaving their home or office", according to Ron Welty, CEO of IntelliShop. "Virtually any computer glitch that would delay or prevent our shoppers from reporting can be fixed remotely using this service. The time and money saved over traditional computer repair options is very significant and represents our commitment to our shopping community."

"This computer repair and support service is another way IntelliShop ensures timely and accurate reporting for our clients." Ron continued with, "We'll continue to search for partnerships that will benefit both our clients and shoppers in the coming months."

www.fixmypcnow.com

Mystery Shopping Providers Associations Supports FTC’s Charges Against Fraudulent Mystery Shopping S

DALLAS, TX The Mystery Shopping Providers Association, the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources, supports the Federal Trade Commission’s recent action against Mystery Shop Link and the Tangent Group.

Mystery Shop Link is not and has never been affiliated with the MSPA, and the MSPA does not support the company’s practices.

The FTC filed deceptive practices and contempt charges against Mystery Shop Link on March 22, which promised consumers hundreds of dollars in income for conducting mystery shopping exercises. According to the FTC, consumers were charged a $99.95 fee for training and to obtain mystery shopping job opportunities. In reality, those who paid the fee had no advantage over others interested in the same opportunities who accessed the information for free, according to the FTC.

The MSPA has cooperated with the FTC in its investigation of Mystery Shop Link and encourages the FTC to continue investigating all mystery shopping-related scams.

The MSPA believes mystery shoppers should not have to pay to find mystery shopping work. The association’s 200 member companies around the globe are required to follow a strict code of ethics that prohibits them from charging mystery shoppers a fee or misleading applicants on actual mystery shopping job opportunities.

The MSPA has taken steps to warn consumers about this and other mystery shopping scams.

“The MSPA is committed to maintaining the integrity of the mystery shopping industry and will continue to denounce the practices of fraudulent and deceptive companies that use mystery shopping as a cover to take advantage of people,” said John Swinburn, Executive Director, MSPA. “The MSPA is also taking action to combat other mystery shopping scams, particularly scams involving an unsolicited cashier’s check.”

Mystery shopping is a growing field servicing nearly every consumer industry, including restaurants, retail stores, hotels and resorts, travel and tourism, banks and financial service providers, convenience stores, grocery stores and other consumer locations. Legitimate mystery shopping is the practice of using educated, experienced shoppers to anonymously evaluate the customer experience. Businesses use the information to monitor and improve the customer service it provides.

For more information about the MSPA and its stance on mystery shopping scams, visit http://www.mysteryshop.org/news/searchresults_pr.php. More information about the FTC’s charges can be found at http://ftc.gov/opa/2007/03/mysteryshop.htm.

About the MSPA

With more than 200 member companies worldwide, the MSPA (www.mysteryshop.org) has a diverse membership, including marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Its goals are to establish professional standards and ethics for the industry, educate providers, clients and shoppers to improve quality of service, improve the image of the industry and promote the membership to other industry associations and prospect clients.

IntelliShop joins ICSA

Perrysburg, OH IntelliShop announced today that it has joined the International Customer Service Association (ICSA, www.icsa.com).  Ron Welty, CEO of IntelliShop, said in an announcement, "IntelliShop has been an intensively customer-focused company since our founding in 1999, and our team members are always looking for creative and better ways to deliver a great experience to our own clients.  We believe our membership in ICSA will not only help us to continue our mission of providing our clients the best experience possible, but will also help us when consulting with our clients to develop measurement programs that help to make their customers' experiences memorable."

IntelliShop Owner comments on Shopping Scams

From The Wall Street Journal

Small Talk

Kelly Spors answers questions from readers about entrepreneurship

Q: How can I find legitimate mystery-shopping jobs without fear of being scammed?

A: It's wise to be leery. As mystery shopping becomes an increasingly popular way to earn extra income, online scams and questionable practices have emerged, targeting consumers hungry for such work.

Mystery shoppers are hired by independent "mystery-shop" firms to do undercover evaluations of customer-service-oriented businesses such as stores, restaurants and banks, and sometimes to evaluate Web sites and telephone-customer service. The firms that hire mystery shoppers keep databases of shoppers available nationwide, and when an assignment arises they contact interested shoppers in that region. The enlisted mystery shoppers survey the businesses and fill out detailed questionnaires about everything from the cleanliness of the floor to the helpfulness of the store clerk. Most assignments pay $10 to $30, though some pay more.

Unfortunately, it's gotten harder to scout out legitimate jobs amid the numerous shady practices. Several Web sites and spam emails, for instance, claim to put your name in databases used by mystery-shop firms for a one-time fee, usually ranging between $20 and $100.

In truth, you needn't pay a dime to sign up with mystery-shop firms and it's generally not the lucrative career these services suggest, says Ron Welty, chief executive of IntelliShop, a Perrysburg, Ohio, firm that hires people to mystery shop for 115 clients across the U.S. and Canada. "I've yet to get any kinds of lists from those kinds of companies," Mr. Welty adds.
Some mystery shoppers can earn $25,000 a year or more, though such shoppers usually sign up with several firms and do dozens of assignments a week. "It becomes a matter of submitting good-quality work and being very reliable," Mr. Welty says. Most mystery shoppers make less than a few hundred dollars a week.

Thankfully, there's an easy place to get on legitimate mystery-shopping firms' lists. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association carefully vets its 200 or so member mystery-shop firms. Members cannot charge any fees and must be in business at least two years to join. To find member firms and potential assignments in your area, go to www.mysteryshop.org/shoppers1 and click on "Search For Assignments Here."