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The Anatomy of a Shop Rating December 26, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Written by: Kristin Garvey, Independent Account Manager at Ann Michaels & Associates

When you submit a report, the editing process begins. An Account Manager reviews your report answers against your essay and reads through your essay to catch any writing mistakes or information that contradicts the report information. After the shop is sent to the client, you are emailed a score and comments for your report. While mystery shopping companies differ in regards to the score range, we score reports from 1 to 10. 10 is the highest rating you can get. Your report doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be excellent and contain all required information. A score of 1 is the lowest score you can get. This score is generally only given when a report cannot be used for various reasons. So, how do Account Managers determine your score?

Was your report on time?

If you report was late, and you did not email your Account Manager to request an extension or reschedule, your report will be docked. Account Managers certainly understand that things happen in everyone’s life and the due time cannot always be met. However, it takes seconds to send an email letting the Account Manager know that you need more time to submit a shop. Doing so ensures that the Account Manager will not dock your score because the shop was late. If we have to email you for status, or you simply submit hours after the due time without notification, your score will be docked. Report due times are listed in several areas of shop offers, shop instructions, and report documentation.

Did you run a spell check?

If there are spelling mistakes in your essay, your score may reflect the problem. One spelling mistake isn’t a big deal; however, if your essay is littered with errors that need to be corrected, that is a problem. Even if you run a spell check, you should always read your essay out loud. You would be surprised at what you will find. Sometimes, spell check does not catch words that are real words but are not appropriate for the sentence. You can catch those types of errors by reading the essay before submitting. Also, if you use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, spelling mistakes are automatically underlined in red. Very handy!

Did you include all required aspects of your visit?

The shop guidelines, shop comments, and accepted email all explain what is required in the essay. If you do not follow the instructions, and there are missing aspects regarding your visit, more than likely, your score will be docked. For instance, for one of my clients, I actually have a bullet point type list in the accepted email and shop comments regarding all of the information that is required to be in the essay. If the shopper does not provide all aspects of the information, the rating is lowered for not providing the required information. If a large number of items are missing from the essay, more than one point may be subtracted.

Are you being specific enough?

If your report information is vague, your score will be lowered. For instance, if you write, “I asked to try on a pair of boots. The employee returned with the boot, and I tried it on. I asked questions, and the employee answered them.” That is very vague. In order for me to send specific information to the client, I would need to email the shopper to ask for more information. Since the shopper was at the store, only the shopper knows what actually happened.  The above information tells me nothing of what really happened during the visit. A better way to write the above would be, “I asked Sally if I could try on the ACME waterproof boots in black. Three minutes and two seconds later, Sally returned with the boots. I asked Sally about the material in the boots. She explained that the boots had a durable rubber sole and that the rest of the boot was made with Gore-Tex, which would keep my feet dry and comfortable.” As you can see, that information is detailed and tells the story of the interaction.

Did you explain your negative ratings?

This is a biggie. If you rate anything with “no” or a rating that is less than “excellent,” that rating is a negative rating. That means that you MUST explain what was wrong with the item in the essay. You have to justify that rating. If there was nothing wrong, even if you weren’t overly impressed, the rating should be “excellent.” If there was something wrong, rate the question according the ratings guidelines and then explain the situation in the essay. Even if your rating is only “no” and you assume that the issue is self explanatory, it’s not. You MUST explain your ratings. For instance, if you need to answer a question regarding if the employee answered a phone call with the correct greeting, and you answer no, you need to explain that rating. You could say something like, “John answered the phone by providing the store name and location and his name. However, he did not offer his assistance.” If you were not upsold an item after ordering, you would write in the essay, “After I placed my order, Sue did not offer any additional items or ask if I wanted a larger size.” If you do not explain your negative ratings, your score will be docked, and more than likely, you will be emailed for follow up.

Do your ratings match your essay information?

There are so many times when shoppers simply do not double check their ratings against their essay information. I recently edited a report where the shopper wrote extensively about all of the alternative styles that the employee recommended during the visit; however, she rated the question regarding if alternative styles were suggested with “no.” That mistake could have easily been avoided. If there are issues where your report answers or timings say one thing and your essay provides contradicting information or a different timing, your score will be docked. Your Account Manager may also ask for follow up to confirm timings or answers.  If we have to question which version of your visit is correct, that calls into question the validity of all of your observations and/or report information. We cannot take the chance of sending the client inaccurate information, so the report may be excluded.
Is your writing of good quality?

We don’t expect shoppers to write novel worthy essays. However, we do expect shoppers to write in complete sentences, using professional language with proper punctuation and capitalization.  Here is an example of poor writing: “I didn’t evan get thru the door before this lady came up to me and said hey how ya doin and asked for me order. I ask hur if I could have a sammich but she wouldn’t give me no extra stuff on it like I ask she was meen. the srvce sux at this place and I not comin back.” You may think that’s an exaggeration, but sadly, it’s not.

What it really comes down to is the less we have to touch your report, the higher your score will be. If we have to send you emails because your report was late, you did not provide specific information, your ratings did not match your essay, or there were missing explanations for negative ratings, we will have to dock your score. If we have to rewrite portions of your essay due to poor writing, your score will be lowered. However, if you provide an essay that contains acceptable writing and all required information regarding your experience, and you submit on time, you can expect to see a higher score. A higher score means more future work! Also, shoppers that score 10’s are often entered into a drawing for a gift card prize!

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