Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when writing your reports.
Stick to the facts. Don’t offer your opinions unless they are specifically requested. Watch out for “I” language, such as, “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe.” These are opinions.
Think of yourself as a fly on the wall. Report what you observed.
Be specific. Avoid vague words such as very, really, so, lots, a lot, kind of, sort of, about, approximately, etc.
Avoid extreme language, such as always and never, and extreme negatives such as horrible, gross, or disgusting.
Don’t be dramatic. Stick to reporting the facts and stay away from comments along the lines of, “I have never received such poor service in my life.”
Tell what you found, not what they should do about it. “There was a 12″ puddle of water in the entryway,” is better than, “The floor needed to be mopped.”
“Sandwich” negative comments with positive ones. You are required to give comments for the questions to which you answered “no.” However, try to avoid having all negative comments. They did something right, didn’t they? Mention it.
Never cut-and-paste comments from one report to another. Each experience is unique, and your report should reflect that unique experience.
Don’t make comparisons to other locations, other visits or other businesses. Comment only on the shop visit.
Make sure your comments are consistent with each other and with the answers to report questions. If you answer yes to the question, “Were all employees wearing name tags?,” but in your comments say that you don’t know the name of the employee who assisted you because he wasn’t wearing a name tag, that doesn’t match.
Anticipate questions the editor might have when reviewing your report, and deal with them. If you said the employee wasn’t wearing a name tag, then refer to her by name, tell how you got her name.
Include all relevant details. Editors have told me that they have never said to a shopper, “You give too many details.” But don’t include unnecessary details that don’t add to the report.
Don’t allow one aspect of your visit to affect the entire shop report. Shoppers sometimes latch onto one thing, and mention it repeatedly in the report. For example, if the fork you received had dried food on it, mention it in the appropriate section. But don’t keep coming back to it, such as, “The food was probably good, but I lost my appetite when I received a dirty fork,” and “Although the service was attentive, I rated it poor because they should have noticed that my fork was not clean.”
Keep your writing professional. Don’t end many (or perhaps any) sentences with exclamation points, and never use multiple exclamation points!!! Don’t use “cute” language or emoticons, such as ;o).
Proofread carefully for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Make your report the best it can be.