Written by Sue De La Bruere, Jancyn Mystery Shopping
You have accepted your mystery shopping assignments, carefully read all instructions, appeared at the right place at the right time, and taken copious notes about the encounter on your smartphone. Now you are ready to head to your computer and create the perfect report that thoroughly details your mystery shopping experience. With a few simple tips and guidelines, you can create a succinct and sensible report that is clear for your mystery shopping company and valuable to their client.
Read All Instructions Prior to the Assignment
Before starting any assignment, be sure to read all instructions carefully so that you can later input all required data into the report. Even if you have completed the same assignment previously, instructions may change from month-to-month. If any pieces of the instructions are unclear, contact your Mystery Shopping Company.
Use The Report Cues
As you write your report, pay attention to the question being asked and craft your reply specific to that question. Make sure that your response is a match to the question being asked and nothing more. If you feel that there is an important piece of information for the client (e.g., the server wore a dirty uniform, your bill was incorrect, or the bathroom had no toilet paper), scan the report for the appropriate section for this comment rather than placing it in the first available spot.
Write In The Past Tense
You are reporting on an event (your assignment) that happened in the past (earlier in the day), so make sure that the report is consistent in being written in the past tense. For instance, rather than saying “The server is talking to me about the specials and she mentions that the soups are half price” you should write “The server talked to me about the specials and she mentioned that the soups are half price.”
Spel Spell Chek Check
Be sure to spell check your work as you are entering your report. Better yet, use a browser (such as Chrome or Firefox) that has spell check built into their programming and will automatically alert you to misspelled words. Still, you should review your work to make sure that there are no wording errors. While your spellchecker may recognize “flour” as a valid word, you likely intended to write the word “floor” as you described the cleanliness of a location.
Never Write in ALL CAPS
Writing in all caps is the virtual version of yelling your comments. Writing in all caps will immediately cause your mystery shopping report to be rejected, thereby creating more work for yourself later as you rewrite the report. In fact, some mystery shopping companies with either reject such reports outright, or impose a ‘fine’ if they have to correct your all caps report.
Provide Valuable and Impartial Comments
Our clients want to know your honest opinion of their business, but these comments need to be both relevant and impartial. For instance, the client will want to know if you think that the music in the location was much too loud, but they may not find it valuable to know that you do not like their song choice. As you write your report, try to make your comments useful for the client and something that they can act upon in a productive manner.
Check For Answer Consistency
Most reports have both a Yes/No radio button as well as a section for comments. When you enter your report, be sure that the Yes/No answer matches the comment section. If you checked Yes under a question asking if the store temperature was at an acceptable level and then typed in, “It was very cold in the location and most patrons left their coats on during their entire meal”, then your answers are not a match.
Timeliness Is Critical
The final tip for writing the perfect report is to submit it on time. A stale report from a mystery shopper is less helpful to our clients and in many cases the mystery shopping company may have no choice but to reject your report. Before starting any assignment, it is important to determine when your report is due and to adhere to those guidelines.
Have questions about mystery shopping for Sue? Send them to her: firstname.lastname@example.org