Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tips For Writing The Perfect Mystery Shopping Application Essay

For many mystery shopping companies, an essay is required as a component of the application process. This is to ensure that you will be able to communicate to them and the client an accurate description of happens during the course of a mystery shopping assignment. While not every assignment requires a long-winded essay as part of the report process, many of the more high-dollar ones will have this as a requirement. Most often, the mystery shopping company will ask you to write an essay about a recent shopping experience.  Here are some tips on writing a winning essay as part of your application process:

Where to Write

Write your essay in a Word program, then copy and paste to the site. This way, you can spell check your essay and really take your time in creating a great piece. Some of the mystery shopping company sites will time-out of the application process after 15 or 30 minutes and if you do not complete your full essay in that period of time, your work may be lost.

Start At the Beginning

When writing your essay, start at the beginning of your visit and proceed from there in a chronological fashion. Do not start in the middle of your visit, then revert to when you first entered the store, then jump to the check-out section.

Details…And Then More Details

The more detail you can provide in your report, the better. When describing a bathroom, for instance, refrain from saying “It was filthy”. Instead, state “The floor had trash on it near the garbage can. The mirror had visible handprints. The vanity area had spilled soap. The back of stall number three had graffiti “.  When describing a sales employee interaction with you, include both verbal and non-verbal descriptions. As an example, rather than saying “Karen was helpful” you should state, “Karen assisted me within 30 seconds of my arriving in the shoe department. She smiled and made eye contact with me, as she walked towards me. She warmly said, ‘What can I help you find today?’ When I replied I wanted shoes for a wedding, she asked clarifying questions regarding the heel size and color. As I spoke, she leaned in and listened intently.”

Descriptors of Staff

Some companies allow their shoppers to describe staff members in terms of race and some frown on that. To be on the safe side, keep this out of your application essay. Instead, include these key pieces when describing staff members:

·       Sex

·       Age Range

·       Height

·       Hair Color

·       Hair Length

·       Distinguishing Characteristics (e.g., glasses, piercings, tattoos)

Timing Is Everything

Nearly all mystery shopping assignments have some sort of timing component, so include this in your essay. Instead of saying “I entered the store on Monday morning” state “I entered the store at 10:15 AM on Monday July 9, 2012.” You should also specifically mention how long it took to be helped by an employee, how long you had to wait in line and how quickly your payment was processed.

Keep It Impartial

In general, mystery shopping clients want reports that are objective and free from your personal opinion. This will mean that a description of French fries as “Way over done” is not preferred, but instead writing “They were a very deep and dark golden color, with some fries a medium brown” is better.

More Than Spell Check

Is spell check important when reviewing your essay? Absolutely! But you also must go beyond spell check and also review your essay at least twice. Just because spell check understands that “read hare” is spelled correctly, only you know that this should read “red hair”.


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