Completing the report for your site visit is one of the most important aspects of mystery shopping. The report that you complete tells the provider as well as the company ordering the mystery shopper’s site visit about the specific details of your experience. Oftentimes, mystery shoppers question exactly how much detail to include in answering the report questions. After all, you don’t want to spend all day writing your report and include details that aren’t necessary or even wanted. Yet you also don’t want to leave out too many details and get your report rejected.
The Black And White Of It. There are a number of clear cut questions on the reports that are very easy to answer. Factual questions such as the time you entered and left the store, how long you waited in line, and the names of the store’s staff who helped you. While you may occasionally have a concern about how long you waited in line if, for instance, a salesperson started ringing your purchase up at the register and then got sidetracked with another customer. These sorts of things can and do happen to mystery shoppers all of the time. However, for the most part, these factual types of questions are straightforward and should always be answered honestly.
The Gray Areas. While many of the questions you will need to answer on your report are black and white, there are a number of questions that will be open-ended. Most of the time, but not always, these are the long narrative-style responses. An example of these types of questions may be, “Please describe how clean the bathroom was,” or “Describe in detail the interactions you had with the salesperson.” Wow! After spending thirty to forty-five minutes in the store, describing in detail your interactions with a salesperson can go on for several pages. Describing the bathroom in detail can even be daunting. Do you want to describe the exact condition of each every stall and sink, or should you summarize and say that generally the stalls were clean, but there were a few paper towels lying on the floor.
This area of your report can get tricky. The key to answering these types of questions is to pick out the key details and forgo including all of the minute details, unless they are specifically asked for. Occasionally you will have a report ask for a word for word account of your interactions with the store’s staff, or something along these lines. However, unless the report specifically asks for this incredible amount of detail, you should be OK to summarize your experience.
Don’t Hesitate To Ask. While you don’t want to be the mystery shopper who calls your scheduler every day with silly questions, if you have a true concern as to how a question should be answered, or if a strange event happened during your site visit and you don’t know how to handle reporting it, don’t hesitate to call your schedule. When in doubt, it’s always better to ask first and give your provider the report the way they want it the first time.
You can also post a question on the mystery shopping forums online to get some feedback and advice from your fellow mystery shoppers.
Answering questions on your mystery shopping reports can be tricky sometimes. Even the most experienced mystery shoppers get hung up on a question from time to time. When you run into a question that makes you pause, give the question a second read to make sure you understand it. Then don’t hesitate to ask your scheduler or other mystery shoppers for some help if you need it.