Boulder, Colorado-based Market Force Information has acquired Winnipeg-based Tell Us About Us (TUAU), Canada’s largest customer intelligence solution provider. This is Market Force’s fourth acquisition since 2005. Market Force claims to be the largest mystery shopping company in the world and one of the largest price audit and analytics firms in North America. TUAU is also a leading customer intelligence company that provides a range of customer feedback solutions. Both companies provide services to many national and international brands.
The TUAU acquisition will enable Market Force to expand its services, including web and interactive voice response survey capabilities, employee satisfaction surveys, social media monitoring, 800-call center live support, as well as broader Canadian mystery shopping services.
“This is a milestone acquisition for us,” said Karl Maier, Market Force’s CEO. “We’ve grown our Customer Feedback portfolio over the past several years and, with TUAU, we’ll have greater capabilities spanning even more markets and geographies. What’s more, TUAU’s 800-call center services and social media monitoring and outreach naturally complement our current solutions and will give our clients even more resources for their customer intelligence. We’ll now have a new Center of Excellence headed by [Tell Us About Us CEO Tyler Gompf] and his talented team.”
What does this mean for shoppers? I am not of the opinion that the ongoing consolidation of the mystery shopping industry is necessarily a good thing. However, it is not likely to change soon. Like many other industries, mystery shopping appears to be headed down a path where there will be a few mega-companies handling large corporate accounts and a number of smaller boutique companies dealing with everyone else. Fewer companies can mean less competition; however, that has not led to fees going up (as you might expect) but has created downward pressure on fees (both those paid by clients and what we shoppers receive). The good news is that there are many of the smaller boutique companies that provide premium service for premium fees and pay their shoppers well.
How can we make the current environment work for us? Have relationships with mystery shopping companies large and small in order to have access to the greatest number and variety of mystery shopper jobs. Choose the assignments that are best for you and work for the companies that value you and treat you well, whether they are large or small.