In surveys and other opinion research, you are asked for your opinions; however, as mystery shoppers we are asked for facts. Although some questions on a mystery shop report may ask for your opinion, such as, “Would you recommend this business to a friend?” most ask for the answers to objective questions: Were you greeted within 30 seconds? Did the server suggest a specific appetizer? Did the salesperson tell you about the extended warranty?
When writing comments on your reports, keep them objective. Here are some examples . . .
Saying that someone was “rude” you are giving your opinion. If you describe her actions your comments will be better and more useful to the client. What did she do to make you think she was rude? Did she ignore you? Say something that was inappropriate? Describe her actions objectively. If you can, quote exactly what she said to you.
My shorthand for this is: Describe behavior, not feelings. Writing that someone was friendly, rude, unenthusiastic, polite, etc. does not tell the client anything about what happened. Describing what they said and did, in an objective way,tells exactly what happened.
Do not make judgements. Writing, “I could not believe there were only two employees in the entire store,” is not an objective statement. You might say instead, “There were two employees on the floor assisting customers.” Details such as how many customers were in the store, or how long it took to check out, will make it clear that they were understaffed without you saying it.
Watch for sentences that start with, “I think . . .” or similar phrases. You are not being asked for your opinion, so do not give it.
Do not speculate. Sometimes we want to make excuses for an employee’s poor performance, or speculate on the reasons why something happened. If you do not know it to be a fact, do not include it in your report.
Stick to the facts, and you will improve the quality of your mystery shopping reports.