The only thing worse than a requirement that you enter a minimum number of characters in your report comments is a limit on the number of characters you may enter. You have just written a great report with lots of juicy comments, and when you hit “submit”: GRRRRRR! The dreaded “You have exceeded the limit of 250 characters.” Why don’t they want to know everything you found?
The short answer is that the client does not want to read long reports. Report forms are designed to client specifications, and if the client does not want to read a lot of comments, the mystery shopping company will limit how much you can enter.
It may seem ridiculous to us, but what the client wants the client gets. And they know better than we what information they want and need to run their businesses.
So what can you do when you have more comments than will fit? First of all, condense your comments as much as possible. Take out any unnecessary words and make your writing tight. A good place to start is with words such as very, really, so and others that add nothing to your report.
Never use a big word when substituting a diminutive one would suffice. That is a somewhat facetious way of saying that you should use short words instead of long ones.
Combine comments when possible. “Monica greeted me and smiled, but did not make eye contact.”
You may be able to use abbreviations or eliminate articles (e.g., a, the), but check the guidelines. They may want everything written out in full sentences.
If there is something that simply does not fit, but you believe they should know, send an email to your scheduler. Explain that the comments would not fit on the report form, but you believe they and the client might want to know what happened.
And it would be nice if the mystery shopping companies all warned us about the character limit before we wrote all those comments!