BestMark Mystery Shopping, Inc. celebrates Women’s History Month with a look back at how women have shaped BestMark into one of the largest customer experience measurement and mystery shopping companies in the world over the last 26 years. Today, BestMark’s Fortune 500 clients represent some of the most innovative and successful customer-focused organizations in the world.
BestMark was founded in 1986 by Ann Jennings, a graduate of Marquette University. Armed with a market research and journalism background as well as hardcore operational expertise born of many years of working in her family’s restaurant business, Ann conceived of the notion of building on the traditional “spotting / integrity” shopping that had been performed for years in the restaurant business by gathering actual demographic and preference information and utilizing these specific “profiled mystery shoppers” to provide a glimpse at the level of customer service delivered relative to the expectations and perceptions of those in the companies’ real target markets. The actual mystery shops which were designed to measure compliance to specific training standards as well as recount the mystery shopper’s perception of the experience in great detail, increasingly became a critical market research tool that allowed concepts and brands to see themselves through their customers’ eyes.
At its inception in 1986, BestMark built a mystery shopping force of approximately 1000 shoppers, almost all of whom were women. Mystery shopping at that time provided a unique and legitimate working opportunity, particularly for women who had chosen to remain in the home rather than pursue full time employment in the work force. Mystery shopping allowed these women to use their skills of perception and intuition as well as their communication skills, both verbal and in the written form, to provide invaluable feedback to the companies who had contracted for their factual summaries of their real customer experiences. Early in BestMark’s history, Emily Ryerse and LaVonna Aulwes joined the team and together these three women piloted the growth of BestMark into one of the largest and most respected mystery shopping companies in the world.
In 2013, BestMark’s field force includes tens of thousands of women across the United States and Canada. These women represent the gamut from stay-at-home moms to recent college graduates to highly seasoned professionals, all of whom provide critical feedback regarding the actual customer experience for BestMark clients including automotive dealerships, retail leaders, restaurants, casinos, hotels, banks and even well known amusement parks. BestMark’s shoppers perform in excess of 40,000 shops and merchandising audits every month in over 20,000 cities. BestMark is always seeking to expand its female shopping force with bright, conscientious and observant participants. We at BestMark are proud of our history of hard work as well as our commitment to providing legitimate opportunities for women over the last quarter of a century. We are honored to celebrate Women’s History Month with you.
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