Do you struggle with describing employees in your mystery shopping reports? How tall was that guy anyway? Is that medium-length hair? Can I say the cashier had a mole on her chin?
Let’s take a look at some quick tips to make describing employees easier.
First of all, read the guidelines carefully. They will likely tell you what kind of information should be included. For example, if the guidelines say you are to describe employees’ gender, age, height, hair color and style, and any distinguishing characteristics, include each of those in that order.
In the above case, your description might be:
Male, 30s, 5’10”, dark brown crew cut, full beard.
Female, early 20s, 5’3″, shoulder-length blond hair, snake tattoo on wrist.
Make your descriptions objective. Do not include judgments, such as, “Wearing a blouse in a loud print,” “untidy beard,”or “heavy make-up.”
Distinguishing characteristics could include things such as beards, eyeglasses, tattoos and piercings. In some cases, it may be appropriate to note jewelry or clothing.
Do not include anything in your description that could be offensive or hurtful. Terms such as fat, dumpy, skinny, etc. should be avoided, along with physical impairments, such as a limp, speech impediment, mole, scar, etc.
Never describe a female employee by saying she was, “pregnant”or “looked pregnant.” She may not be.
Do not include “foreign” or “foreign accent” in a description. You may mention a foreign accent in the service section of the report, if the language barrier was a problem. For example, “John asked several questions, but it was difficult for us to understand each other due to language differences.”
When describing employees, keep in mind that reports are often read by the manager of the location you shopped, and may be shared with the employees, too. Imagine reading a description of yourself as the, “fat, foreign woman with a limp.” Now imagine all of your co-workers reading that description, too. Your descriptions should be accurate, but kind and inoffensive.
I’ve been mystery shopping for a couple of years now, and I can’t believe I’m just now discovering this blog. This entry in particular caught my attention as it’s something I wrestle with. One company I shop for specifically prohibits mention of an employee’s race or age. Another, though, asks not only for the race and age, but also for a description of the employee’s build. It’s multiple choice: “heavy”, “average”, or “slight”.
I guess it all depends on a company’s culture, but I have a hard time identifying an employee as “heavy”.
Cathy Stucker says
Well, I’m glad you found the blog now and I hope you will come back often.
Employee descriptions are often tricky. I do not know why some clients still want things like race and build. It seems to set up the possibility of some uncomfortable situations if the employees see the reports, but perhaps in those companies the employees do not see the actual reports.