Mystery shoppers often focus largely on the site visit of an assignment, putting all of their energy and efforts into what happens on-site. Yet the mystery shopping provider and the retailer who ordered the site visit in the first place only see one thing – your report. Your report conveys all of the information you gathered on your site visit to the provider and retailer. If there is a problem with your report, you can expect anything from delays in payment to the reduction or even elimination of payment. So it’s worth your time and effort to focus on improving your reporting skills.
What Does That Say? You can’t answer the question if you don’t know what it’s asking. One or two small wording changes can change the entire meaning of the question. For instance, “Did the salesperson greet you upon entering the store?” and “Did the salesperson greet you within two minutes of entering the store?” These questions are very similar, but you can easily see that the retailer requires an immediate greeting on the first question versus allowing a short period of time to pass before greeting you on the second question. This is simply due to a difference in customer service styles of the two retailers in question.
This slight difference in the wording of the question may not seem like much of a difference for a mystery shopper, but to the retailer, it tells them if the salesperson is performing their job duties according to company policy. So pay attention to exactly how the question is worded and make sure you answer the question that was asked.
There’s No “Me” In Mystery Shopping. As a mystery shopping, you are reporting to the provider and retailer on your experiences in the store. While shopping can be a very personal experience where you have obvious opinions on cleanliness, the quality of service, and so on, the retailer is more concerned with the factual events that you encountered during your site visit. The very large majority of questions you will be asked on the report pertain to factual events. Typically, the last few questions on the report pertain to opinions, such as rating the quality of service, and a free-writing section for anything else you think may be important to the report that has not already been stated. Be sure to keep your opinion out of your responses unless they are asked for to avoid delays in your payment.
Be Shur To Proofred Ur Werk. As expert as you may be at mystery shopping and even at writing, everyone has an occasional or momentary mental lapse, where you may momentarily forget how to spell a common word. Or you may be typing so fast that you hit the wrong key. Often you will misspell a word that is actually another word. For instance, you may have meant to type “tip” but you actually typed “rip”, or “hit” for “hat”. There are literally thousands of words such as these that are commonly misspelled. When you run your report through spell-check, these words won’t be flagged as misspelled because they are actual words. The only way to catch these typos is to actually read through your work for misspellings and words that have been unintentionally left out.
Even small errors in your report can cause the scheduler to go back and forth with you to clear up questions and discrepancies. When you spend just a little bit of extra time ensuring you have written the best report you can, you will save yourself time and money down the line.