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      July 20, 2018

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Second To None 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 Second To None and Sentry Marketing.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Mystery Shopping, please Click Here

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

3 stars
Second To None

SECOND TO NONE Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, Business-to-Business, Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Government, Grocery, Health Care, Home/Apartment, Insurance, Lodging (hotel, motel, inns, etc.), Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General, Shipping/Freight/Postal, Telephone, Tourism

Based out of Ann Arbor, MI, Second To None has been in business since 1989 and has worked with leading brands in the US and Canada to improve their customer experience.

On Second To None's main mystery shopper page, you'll find a general overview of what makes a successful mystery shopper and the benefits of doing this type of work. We found most of the information to be too generic to be useful; most people interested in mystery shopping already know that it allows them to earn extra income according to their own schedule, and that they're expected to have excellent skills with respect to observation, writing, and speaking. We would have liked to see more specifics about Second To None's approach to secret shopping: do they use an app for job notifications and evaluations? What does the shopper portal look like? How often do they pay their contractors? None of these questions are answered on the shoppers' info page.

While you can enter fake details to create an account if you'd like to see what the signup process includes, along with the independent contractor agreement, you are required to click on a link that is sent in a verification email. So, at the very least, you'll want to provide an accurate email address to see what STN has to offer. Fortunately, in creating that "placeholder' account, you will not have to include a Social Security Number.

We would have loved to rank Second To None higher, because we found many positive comments from current and previous mystery shoppers. But, in comparison with other secret shopping providers, this company has much less information to help a prospective contractor make the decision. We'd easily move them up in the rankings if their site included more in-depth details, such as a video showing the shopper dashboard or an FAQ page explaining their payment schedule/process, any use of mobile devices for their shops, or even access to a live list of shops in a person's 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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