Entrepreneurial spirit led 22-year-old Sean M. Young to found mystery shopping company, A Higher Vision, in the fall of 1992. Hearing of Alberta, Canada’s strong economy, Sean chose Calgary as the headquarters of his fledgling company. Beginning with one desk in the corner of his apartment, he overcame youth and inexperience to turn A Higher Vision into a successful mystery shopping company.
Starting out with only five employees, mystery shopping and shopper training were still in their infancy. All shopping data was faxed or mailed in by shoppers and was manually tabulated. As is often the case with manual processes, there was a greater risk for human error which could significantly reduce the accuracy and reliability of data. Sean saw the need for a process that was not only more reliable but faster, and his infusion of technology and automation re-invented the mystery shopping industry. Today his innovation is widely accepted as the industry standard.
In 1996 in conjunction with the newly developed technology, Sean Young re-branded his company as ECom Communications, moved into a professional business center in Calgary and launched the world’s first completely automated global research information system (A.G.R.I.S). Vital performance data could now be sent to clients at virtually any location within hours or even minutes.
Further strides were made in late 1996 when ECom Communications launched the Secret ShopNet™ website to accept mystery shopper applications. This new website made the process of recruiting reliable mystery shoppers much faster and also allowed ECom to quickly locate mystery shoppers who would be the right fit for specific shopping experiences.
Recognizing the importance of shared information and feedback, Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), the industry’s professional organization, was founded by ECom along with several other mystery shopping companies in 1998. Later this year, ECom and Secret ShopNet founder Sean Young, who was not yet 30 years old, won the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Young Entrepreneur Award.
In 2000, ECom made a move that would define them and became Service Intelligence. Now nationally recognized as the leading authority and trendsetter in customer service research and training solutions, they opened an office in Atlanta three years later. This new location provided closer access to the United States mystery shopper market.
Service Intelligence continues to be at the forefront of research in finding new methods to increase efficiency and reliability of data gathering and analysis. With this mindset, we introduced Customer Experience Management System (CEMS) in 2004 and it quickly became the industry’s top reporting platform. As a leader in technological advances, Service Intelligence has been pleased to offer innovative services and products to our clients, which provide unbiased, accurate knowledge of our client’s customers as well as their competitors.