The most time-consuming part of most mystery shops is writing the reports. Saving time on report writing (while still doing a great job, of course) means that you make more money in less time. Here are seven things you can do to write great mystery shop reports in less time.
Assemble everything you will need to do the report before you sit down at the computer. Get receipts, notes, business cards, guidelines, etc. together in one place so you do not have to keep running off to get something else you need.
Eliminate any distractions. Turn off the television, don’t answer the phone, and tell the kids not to disturb you unless there is blood.
When you are doing several reports at once, group some tasks together. For example, scan all of your receipts and save them, instead of scanning each one as you start the report. (Do not try to write multiple reports at the same time, though. That will end up being a confusing mess.)
Do a quick review of the guidelines to make sure you include everything that is required in your report. You don’t necessarily have to read every word at this time. For example, I often go through the guidelines before the shop, highlighter in hand, and highlight anything especially important or unique about that shop. Scanning those highlighted portions before doing the report reminds me of what is needed.
Go through your notes from the shop and enter your yes/no answers, timings and other quick facts on your printout of the questionnaire. Highlighting any ‘no’ answers is also a good idea, as you are usually required to comment on those. Highlighting them means you will not forget.
Do you struggle with spelling? Keep a list of the words that give you a hard time next to your computer. Some commonly-confused words will not be caught by spell check (Is it ‘lose’ or ‘loose’?) and having a quick reference means you get it right without pulling out the dictionary or doing an online search. There are also terms that the report spell check will question, even if you spelled them right. Having the correct spelling on hand makes it easy to confirm. These printable lists of commonly misspelled words and restaurant mystery shop terms can be a good start.
Save your work frequently. It is so frustrating to enter a long narrative, then accidentally move your hand across the touchpad and be taken to the next page without saving what you just wrote. I know. It has happened to me. Save your work often to avoid having to re-do big sections of your report.
And this bonus tip: Do your reports as soon as possible after the shop visit. When the details are fresh in your mind it is easier to write the report.