GfK Mystery Shopping Partners with Butler New Media

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2006 

For more information contact:


Francine Vassallo                Deanna Decker/
Padilla Speer Beardsley


Liz Nolley
GfK Custom Research, NA


— Provides First and Largest Assessment of Shopping Experience for People with Disabilities —

NEW YORK – September 19, 2006 – GfK Mystery Shopping and Butler New Media today announced a joint venture that will provide GfK clients access to Butler’s ABILITY Mystery Shopping Panel.  The effort combines the expertise of GfK Mystery Shopping with Butler’s knowledge of the disabled community to create America’s first national panel for individuals with disabilities.

Utilizing Butler’s ABILITY panelists, GfK Mystery Shopping sends a variety of disabled “undercover shoppers” into stores nationwide to assess customer service and sales personnel performance.  Participant information on service animal usage, disability type as well as various demographic data such as age, race, sex and marital status is available.  Store evaluations are based on salesmanship, service, and presentation towards these individuals.

By offering access to the ABILITY Mystery Shopping Panel, the new GfK service provides companies the opportunity to determine how their employees communicate with shoppers with disabilities when these individuals are sent to specific store locations posing as customers.

“The combination of the unique ABILITY panel along with our wide-ranging expertise in the mystery shopping and retail space will provide corporations with an inside look at the specific needs of Americans with disabilities,” says Don Simons, Managing Director, GfK Mystery Shopping. “With an estimated $220 billion in collective spending power, this community represents a critical segment for corporate America. Companies that consistently and thoughtfully deliver a customer experience that is mindful of the needs of all consumers will have a decided competitive advantage.”

“Although most businesses try to treat individuals with disabilities with respect and dignity, many, unfortunately, get it wrong,” adds Cornelius Butler, co-founder of Butler New Media LLC and a recognized leader in the community.  “Our partnership with GfK Mystery Shopping will provide companies with the invaluable insight needed to not only improve customer service, but also help them target a new, loyal and dedicated customer base. Addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities should no longer be viewed as an obligation but a smart business decision as this group represents more than 50 million Americans. This collaboration also creates opportunities for individuals with disabilities nationwide to be part of the movement to improve customer service overall.”

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More information can be found on the official website located at or

About Butler New Media
Butler New Media is a full service disability consulting firm with locations in both Conyers and Bainbridge, Georgia U.S.A.  The firm specializes in helping corporations and government agencies communicate with the disability community. Butler New Media has grown to include local, national, and international clients. Some of these clients include: Microsoft, Humana, U.S. Department of Labor, The Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.  Additional information about the company and the ABILITY Panels is located online at:

About GfK Mystery Shopping
A division of GfK Custom Research, North America, GfK Mystery Shopping offers more than 15 years of North American mystery shopping experience and specializes in helping clients increase revenues, grow brand equity, build positive customer experiences and drive operational improvement.

About GfK Custom Research, North America
Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research, North America is part of the GfK Group.  With home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, the GfK Group is among the top-five market research organizations in the world.  Its activities cover five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare.   In addition to 13 subsidiaries in Germany, the GfK Group has more than 130 subsidiaries and affiliates in over 70 countries.