Mystery Shopper Resources

Mystery Shopper Standards of Excellence

The following is a list of criteria that Service Performance Group editors will use to review the quality of your mystery shop report. Taking the time required to submit a quality report will put you squarely in position to receive additional assignments moving forward.   

Upon reviewing your assigned shop materials you must dress appropriately per the guidelines accompanying the shop materials (if they are stated).  If you are assigned a fast food shop dress is not a specific issue however you must dress in clean attire that does not ‘make a statement.’  Conversely many assignments will require ‘business casual’ attire.   It would be completely inappropriate to conduct a mystery shop of an upscale restaurant dressed in blue jeans and T-Shirt. Dress according to the guidelines provided or if none are specifically mentioned use your good judgment.

Reports Must Be Completed Based On The Following Criterion To Be Accepted

  • Is the shop ON TIME per your deadline?
  • Have you recorded the proper day, date and time of the shop AND visited the correct location?
  • Have you added insightful, objective comments where required, to include 3 - 5 sentences in each narrative section of the report?
  • Are those comments detailed and specific enough for the client management team to use to improve their operations? Not: “The restaurant had a nice atmosphere.” Rather: “There was soft lighting over our booth and light jazz music playing at an audible level. The temperature, however, was too cool and I had to keep my sweater on during our visit.” The amount of detail you include and the ways in which you describe your visit define you as a shopper. The more detail, the better. Be objective. It is okay to state your emotional reaction such as: “I was angry after waiting seven minutes and being first in line that Brian offered assistance to another customer before me.” We are not critics and should never provide remedies, i.e. “I think with better training Brian could have easily handled my request.”
  • Are your comments clearly written? Grammar, punctuation and spelling are all very important. Did you proofread and spellcheck your work? Please bear in mind that your editor will read every word you write followed by the client who will do the same. If it doesn’t make sense, your editor will have two options: have you re-do the shop or re-assign the shop in which case you cannot be paid.
  • Are the comments relevant to the section’s questions? Each section of a report will represent a department, or specific criterion. You should ONLY be commenting about actions/issues/circumstances that relate to that specific section. Example: Do not make comments about the interior of the building in the body of the section titled ‘Exterior’.
  • Common grammar errors we catch:

  •  — Fragmented sentences. “Service was good” is not a proper sentence. This is a fragmented sentence that requires the article “The” at the beginning of the sentence.

     — Incorrect use of quotation marks. The end of sentence period goes inside the quotes (i.e. Sally said, “Good Night.”)

     — Run-on sentences. Try breaking very long sentences into two.

     — New thoughts require a new paragraph. Don’t talk about ‘John’ and what he did then move into a description of the dining room without starting a new paragraph.

     — Switching between past and present tense: Generally, it’s appropriate to use the past tense throughout your report, since your visit took place in the past. Example: Don’t say “The restaurant is clean and free of debris”; rather say “The restaurant WAS clean and free…”

  • Be careful using words like “appeared” and “seemed” i.e. The table seemed clean.” Either it was or it wasn't. Conversely it would be appropriate to use these type of words regarding a person, i.e. “Steven seemed flustered after being yelled at by a customer…”
  • Have you explained any “no” or “n/a” answers? You don’t have to reiterate the question in the negative, but it does help if you give examples. For example, if you answered NO for “Did the server anticipate your needs?” you should give examples of what Angela didn’t do, e.g. “Angela failed to mention the Specials of the day.” When reviewing your comments before you submit your work ask yourself whether the report editor then our client will understand what happened during your experience.
  • Don’t state the obvious. The client KNOWS where the restaurant is located - they don’t need us to tell them. Example: don’t say “The restaurant is located on the corner of Main Street and Maple Avenue with windows facing Main Street and a brick wall fronting Maple Avenue.” The client knows this.
  • Be careful about describing people. If you refer to a person as being African American then you must refer to each other associate in your shop by their race i.e. Caucasian, Asian etc. Physical descriptions should reflect general body type’s i.e. slim, average build, or heavy set. Using words such as ‘Fat’ or ‘Skinny’ is not appropriate nor is stating “She was wearing too much make-up.”
  • Did you give specific service or delivery times?. A good example is, “Our food was served 18 minutes, 20 seconds after ordering.” NOT “Our food was served in about 18 minutes.” No guessing please because it will call into question the accuracy of your report.
  • Also, use NAMES of everyone you encounter (either on the phone or in person). Ask for their name wherever possible when you believe it will not compromise your identity. Then use the name throughout the comment sections, rather than “the server”, or “the person who answered the phone,” or “the delivery person.” Asking for names can feel awkward at times, but use your good judgment and try and get a name.
  • Finally, reverse your role. Would you be satisfied that if this mystery shop were completed by someone reporting on you, it was a factual and objective assessment? NEVER FORGET, you are reporting on a person’s livelihood.