About Us

History

EVALUATION SYSTEMS FOR PERSONNEL INC (ESP) was one of the first mystery shopping companies to establish a base in the United States.  Since 1985 ESP has conducted over 6.5 million shops throughout the USA, and in almost every conceivable type of business, including but certainly not limited to: airports concessions, banks, restaurants, hotels, auto dealerships, retailers, leasing offices, valet services, hardware stores, cruise lines, storage facilities, airlines, travel agencies, hospitals, and supermarkets.

ESP’s founder, Dr. Gerry Blumenthal, an industrial psychologist and mechanical engineer has had over 40 years of local and international experience. His team of over 600,000 highly qualified shoppers is spread across the nation and other countries. These shoppers and ESP’s reporting methodology have been helping businesses improve their image, customer service and most important of all – their bottom line.

The Link Between Customer Service and Profitability

In 1983 we were commissioned by a large group to investigate the effect of customer service on company profits. Our findings showed conclusively that companies who valued good customer service were more profitable. We knew instinctively, at that time, that technology and deregulation were having a negative effect on customer service and were damaging company images and leading to fiscal problems. Yet, when these companies were polled they had absolutely no idea that their below-average customer service was the root cause of their problems. Whenever we asked ailing companies why they didn't know it, their answer was always - 'Because we had no way of measuring it'.

We knew then that if we could provide a service, which measured customer service, we would be doing companies a tremendous service. Thus the concept of Mystery Shopping was born - in the name of Evaluation Systems for Personnel (ESP).

The resultant 'snapshots' from the mystery shopping pinpointed immediately, weaknesses and omissions in the behavior of company employees. Armed with this information we were able to introduce corrective measures, such as training, long before they could cause any harm."  

As ESP gained more and more data it became apparent that even more losses were being incurred because of poor salesmanship. As a result sales skills became an integral part of our mystery shopping evaluations. This, in turn led to the development of techniques to improve employee promotional activities.

After analyzing over millions of mystery shops we feel that we can state with confidence that there is a definite link between customer service and profitability, a fact recognized by many major banks, airports, restaurant chains, auto dealerships, self-storage stores, retail stores, major airports, hospitals and hotel chains – they are now using our Mystery Shopping services to improve their customer service. Customer service has always been and will continue to be the lifeblood of any business, and because it revolves around accurate feedback, mystery shopping should be a part of any company’s goals.

New Factors emerging - Sales Skills

In recent years the ‘playing field’ has changed dramatically. Increasing competition, deregulations and decreasing margins have changed the way in which companies think. New factors influencing profits have now entered the equation:

Although most of the executives we’ve interviewed have agreed that sales skills are important to most organizations, we have not seen any real evidence that this factor had been addressed in any tangible way. Since 2005, however SALES SKILLS has emerged as an absolute prerequisite for those companies who want to survive and beat out the competition.

Our Belief

The sales process is traditionally classified into four major modes –

  • THE GREETING

  • THE QUALIFICATION

  • THE PRESENTATION

  • THE CLOSE

  • THE FAREWELL

In the past managers have tended to use the VERTICAL PYRAMID approach   – concentrating almost exclusively on the CLOSE – an approach that does not generally endear the customers to the salesmen. In recent years, a more holistic approach with greater emphasis on creating a good first impression has been found to be far more effective and productive.

Our questionnaires now place a great deal of store in the greeting and the qualification phases – creating an INVERTED PYRAMID approach. 

A warm friendly GREETING will set the tone for the entire sales process and a thorough unobtrusive QUALIFICATION will lead to several things:

(a) It will establish the precise needs of the customer (allowing the salesperson to make a quality presentation, based upon these precise needs) and

(b) It will help develop a rapport with the customers. This does not diminish the importance of the CLOSE, but with this approach the need to close is greatly reduced. After all, the main reason customers do not make a decision is the fact that they do not have sufficient information.

Because we believe that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance, our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.

Our Mystery Shoppers

We rely on our mystery shoppers to provide us with accurate, informative and timely reports. After all, just one incorrect statement or score from one of our shoppers would greatly diminish the value of our reporting or the reputation of an employee. For this reason we utilize stringent procedures in the selection process of shoppers. We only accept applicants who have at least one or both of the following criteria:

  • University education.

  • Business experience.

Once we have selected an applicant we put them through a battery of tests to determine the following:

  • Cognitive ability.

  • Reliability.

If chosen (via ESP’s challenge) they are subjected to intensive training. Furthermore, we continually monitor their performances and because our group of managers and editors set an enormously high standard we are always assured of top-notch mystery shoppers.

In short, we only accept winners.

What we can do for you

No situation is too complicated for us. Our highly qualified and trained staff uses the latest technology to produce reliable results. Contact us. Let us show you why we continue to be the most aggressive and effective mystery shopping company anywhere in the USA.

EVALUATION SYSTEMS FOR PERSONNEL

Pursuing Excellence in Customer Service and Sales Enhancement Since 1985

6420 Richmond Avenue, Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77057 • Toll Free (800) 256-7953 • Local (713) 528-3730 • espshop@espshop.com

Copyright © 2010, ESPSHOP.

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We have had the privilege of working with some of America’s largest and most successful companies. Many of our current clients have used our services for over 20 years – sure proof of our phenomenal and cost-effective services. Just ask Warren Buffet.

We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry.