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      September 25, 2018

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About Face vs Sentry Marketing

Best Mystery Shopping Programs

To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of About Face and Sentry Marketing.

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Who wouldn't love to get paid to shop, eat out, or go to the movies? That may sound too good to be true, but thousands of mystery shoppers across the US and Canada are doing just that: getting paid to visit restaurants, retail stores, and even theme parks in order to provide a customer's perspective on the cleanliness, service, and overall experience at the location.

How does mystery shopping work? Most "secret shoppers", as they are also known, are hired by third-party companies that specialize in helping businesses evaluate their performance. These third-party providers maintain a database of all of the current opportunities in your area, allowing you to apply for the jobs you'd like to do.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2018

Mystery Shopping Reviews

5 stars
About Face

ABOUT FACE Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, B2B, Fast Food, Gas Station/Convenience Store, Government, Grocery, Healthcare, Home/Apartment, Insurance, Lodging, Restaurant (Casual and Fine Dining), Retail, Shipping/Freight/Postal, Storage, Telephone, Transportation

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award If you're looking for an easy-to-understand, helpful introduction into all things mystery shopping, you'll love AboutFace. From the very first "Become a Mystery Shopper" page, they make it very clear what to expect, from your Independent Contractor Agreement to the steps of their assignment process.

Don't get bogged down by all the words on that page, though. Click on the links in the upper right-hand side of the page (or the three horizontal bars, if you're on a mobile device) to see why AboutFace is the name to know. For example, in the Shop with Us section, you'll find links for why you should partner with them: their A+ rating with the BBB, toll-free number for any questions you may have, and a description of other benefits are all there. Also, according to that page, AboutFace offers more than mystery shopping - you can also take advantage of opportunities in field research, focus groups, even product demonstrations.

You also want to check out the Resources tab. Whether you decide to work with AboutFace or through a different mystery shopping provider, the information AboutFace offers can help you be successful. From how to use mobile devices to choose available shopping opportunities or submit reports, to the basic steps for how to have a successful evaluation, you'll go into the working relationship knowing exactly what's expected of you. They don't want there to be any "mystery" involved when it comes to turning in your work, so they give their shoppers clear expectations from the start.

And, of course, the Shopper FAQ page is the best resource for any other questions that prospective mystery shoppers tend to have. On that page, you'll see how often and in what method to expect payment (45 days after you submit your shop and via PayPal, by the way), as well as links to AboutFace's social media accounts. We strongly recommend you give those a click even before signing up; according to the FAQ, AboutFace uses those channels to let their shoppers know in advance about any upcoming projects that might be of interest.

AboutFace has a great reputation among mystery shoppers for high-quality shops, excellent shopper support, and on-time payments. Combined with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, those marks of success mean that AboutFace should be at the top of your list when deciding which mystery shopping provider to choose as your partner.

Visit Site

2 stars
Sentry Marketing

SENTRY MARKETING Visit Site

Types:

Unknown

Created by former Ford exec Dave Agius, Sentry marketing was developed to help companies create "the best versions of themselves". Do they also help mystery shoppers have the best possible experience? We don't think so.

First, Sentry offers virtually no information to prospective shoppers prior to sign up. Do they send their secret shoppers to pizza places, amusement parks, or oil change shops? No idea. Do they pay via PayPal or check? Great question. What are their requirements for mystery shoppers? It's anyone's guess. To get any information at all, you'll have to go through multiple pages of their online registration form; they ask for your Social Security Number before you even get to see the agreement you're signing.

Second, we found multiple complaints from mystery shoppers who have worked with Sentry. Criticism typically centered around payments: the consensus was that it can often take months to get paid for completing a shop. Also, many people report that Sentry requires their mystery shoppers to receive payment through a third-party vendor that also deducts a service fee with each transaction.

Finally, while Sentry Marketing Group did have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review, and they were a member of various mystery shopping organizations (CXPA, MSPA, and IASE), they didn't appear to have any recognitions from any of those groups. Compared with other providers in our review that had awards and other accolades from both organizations and mystery shoppers themselves, Sentry doesn't seem to offer their secret shoppers the level of service that they try to help their clients achieve themselves.

The "mystery" in mystery shopping isn't supposed to refer to wondering when you're going to get paid or what types of companies you could be evaluating. Unfortunately, with Sentry that's probably what you'll get - so we strongly suggest you look at the higher-ranked secret shopping providers in our review.

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Continued from above

Sometimes, if there's a high-priority shop near you, you may even receive a direct invitation to do the assignment. Of course, in order to be eligible, you'll likely have to fill out an application to be accepted as a mystery shopper for each provider that interests you.

Payment varies by company; some mystery shops pay you for your time, while others reimburse you for making a purchase that you get to keep. In either case, you'll be expected to fill out some kind of survey or evaluation regarding your experience in order to get paid. Most mystery shopping companies make payments via PayPal, though some still use traditional paper checks for their contractors.

No matter which mystery shopping company you choose, however, you should never have to pay to be a secret shopper: though you can opt for shopper training and certification to increase your chances of being selected for certain jobs, joining a reputable company's shopper database shouldn't cost you anything.

When considering the many different companies that specialize in hiring mystery shoppers, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Some of these include:

  • Selection. How many businesses does the company work with? Do they have any businesses that you'd enjoy reviewing?
  • Transparency. Does the company offer plenty of information upfront about their process for hiring mystery shoppers? Or do you have to give them your information first?
  • Reputation. Does the mystery shopping company have a good track record for quality jobs, on-time payments, and support for their secret shoppers?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best mystery shopping providers available today. We hope this free information gets you on the road to your secret shopping experience right away!

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