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      July 18, 2018

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Best Mark 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 Best Mark 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.

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Best Reviews

2018

Mystery Shopping Reviews

4 stars
Best Mark

BEST MARK Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Gas Station/C-Store, Grocery, Health Care, Insurance, Lodging (hotel, motel, inns, etc.), Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General, Restaurant F&B (Casual & Fine Dining)

With more than 10,000 mystery shopping opportunities per month, it's no surprise that BestMark is a popular choice among secret shoppers. This provider has over 500,000 contractors working as mystery shoppers, doing observations and evaluations at hotels, restaurants, and many other locations.

We love how much information BestMark provides prior to signing up for a mystery shopping account. There are clear descriptions of the qualifications you need in order to apply (be aware that this is one of the few companies that require mystery shoppers to be at least 19, not 18). You can even click on the link for your particular state to see if they typically have shops near your location.

Where you'll find the bulk of the information you're looking for is on the BestMark FAQ, using the link on the right side of the mystery shopper main page. There you'll find a very detailed list of the kinds of specifics you'll need to include as you evaluate restaurants, hotels, gas stations and more. Pay close attention: one of the most common complaints about BestMark - and many other mystery shopping providers - is that they expect perfection in the evaluations submitted by their secret shoppers. The FAQ also spells out the compensation process at BestMark, one of the few companies in our review that does not use PayPal or another electronic form of payment delivery but rather uses traditional paper checks that are sent 3-4 weeks after a shop is complete.

For that reason, we were surprised to see that BestMark allows shoppers to join their team either by entering an email address or by connecting using Facebook. Whichever route you choose, be aware that you'll have to verify your information (e.g. clicking on a verification link sent to your email), so you won't be able to enter fake details just to get a look at their application process or shopper portal.

Another aspect that makes BestMark more appealing to mystery shoppers is that they also offer the opportunity to work as an Exit Interviewer. If the "cloak and dagger" of being a hidden evaluator doesn't appeal to you, you may prefer this style of evaluation: gathering information from customers as they leave a store rather than sneakily observing what goes on inside.

So, what do experienced mystery shoppers have to say about working as a contractor for BestMark? Overall, comments are positive and include praise such as "fast pay", "clear requirements", and "great way to get oil changes and tire rotations for free". Many contractors said that yes, car dealerships are one of the most frequent types of shops available. On the downside, we saw several people with the same comment that there weren't always many jobs to choose from in one's local area, making it more likely that they had to travel farther than their preferred location if they wanted to do any mystery shops.

Generally speaking, BestMark offers a good amount of information prior to the signup process and has a strong reputation in the mystery shopping industry for paying quickly and being very clear with their shop requirements. If you choose to sign up as a mystery shopper with BestMark, with luck you'll be able to find many of their 10,000+ assignments in your local area!

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.

Visit Site

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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