Tips for Writing Comments and Narratives in Mystery Shopping Reports

Feb 20, 2015 by Confero Inc.

You have finished your mystery shop, have your notes and are ready to write your report. How much detail should you include? Was that an important detail or not?

Here are some tips to help you when you fill out your next report.

Be consistent when spelling names of staff that were present for the shop.

Pay attention to character minimumsand maximums. Clients vary in their requirements. Many clients do not need a play by play account of the visit but would like a nice overall summary of what occurred. Do not add characters such as.............. to a report to help complete a character maximum. Your report will be returned to you to complete correctly.

Client names and product names must be spelled correctly and capitalized correctly. For example, Coca-Cola, not coke, Coke or coca cola.

Please do not write in ALL-CAPS or all lower-case. Sentence case, using upper and lower case letters, gives your report a professional appearance.


Provide comments that add information or explain yes/no answers.

Comments such as these do not add important details and do not need to be included in your report:

  • I walked into the store and sat down.
  • There were tables in the dining area.
  • I looked at the menu and ordered

Comments such as these do add value

  • I will highly recommend to others
  • I appreciated that the Cashier was cleaning tables, he made a point to ask me if I was enjoying my sandwich. 

Use complete sentences rather than phrases. Some questions have explanations required. For example, if the questions asks, “Were all tables clean?” Yes or No and your answer is No, there may be a requirement of “please explain your No answer. This gives an opportunity to explain why the tableswere not clean.

  • Helpful answer: “The tables had crumbs and crumpled napkins left on them and needed to be wiped clean."
  • Not helpful answer: "Tables were not clean”

Please do not copy and paste from one summary to the next, or from one report to the next. Clients pay for unique reports. Copying and pasting comments gives the appearance that the shopper did not devote full attention to the visit. Typically, if a shopper does more than one report in day, the shops are conducted in a small geographic area. Clients typically have district managers who manage see the reports for a geographic area. When they see reports that are exactly alike, it gives the impression that the shopper did not conduct the shop properly, even if it’s just a cut and paste. Don’t risk it! Your report will not be accepted if you copy and paste as each shop is expected to be unique.

Please use spell check before submitting your report! Please review your report to check for spelling and grammar errors, as spell check does not always catch mistakes. Here are a few funny examples:

  • The food was delicious and the waiter was supper
  • The cashiers were moving at a good paste.

Submit on-time! The reports are timely and due to the client within 24 hours after shop completion. 

Tagged: mystery shopping, reports, narratives, comments,

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