Do mystery shopping companies expect that your reports will be a certain length? Do they want you to include every detail, or just the most important things? How much to they want you to write anyway?
There is always an expected length for comments and narratives, but the expectations vary by mystery shopping company and client. Many report forms will give a minimum or maximum number of characters, or will suggest a minimum number of sentences for each section of the report.
Some clients want reports that are short and to-the-point. They will limit how many words or characters you may include. How much you can tighten your writing will depend on the expectations of the mystery shopping company and their client. It may be acceptable to use contractions. Some companies may allow you to remove articles (e.g., ‘the’), but most will not as that results in sentence fragments.
If you are close to the limit, remove any unnecessary words (something you should always do anyway). These may include words that do not add clarity or understanding such as very, really, so, too and others. And look for shorter words that convey your meaning. Sometimes eliminating just a few characters will make the difference between too long and just right.
Many clients want to know exactly what happened on the shop, with lots of details. Those reports will require at least a minimum number of sentences, words or characters so that shoppers do not skimp on the details. That doesn’t mean, though, that they want you to fill the report with useless fluff. Include details that expand on the answers you gave to the report questions. Give specifics instead of generalities.
The guidelines for many assignments will include sample comments so you can get a feel for the length and level of detail the client wants to see. Unless I know that the client wants brief comments, the guideline I follow is to give more detail, not less. The editor won’t know what happened if I do not put it in the report.