Real Talk

Shop Reports – From Inception to Client Review

When an assignment email is sent to a shopper, they simply accept or decline the offer. If they accept the job, one mouse click opens the report and when it’s complete, all it takes is one more simple click on the Submit link and the task is complete.

Many shoppers are curious about how these reports are generated. It’s a process that involves extensive interaction between the client and Reality Based Group, along with the input and assistance of many RBG employees and contractors.

In the Beginning

Like most business dealings, these begin with a client who needs help from a source outside their company. They meet with an RBG representative and learn what options are available. RBG presents alternatives and recommends different options based on their years of experience and collective expertise. When a contract is signed, the process begins.

First Steps

In order for a client to have enough data for review and analysis and properly coach their employees, they need a large number of shops. After this list is compiled and submitted to RBG, along with the details of what the client needs to learn from RBG’s mystery shopping services, this data is used to build a company profile in the RBG database. Executive and administrative teams work together to develop questions and related narratives that will give the client the most complete picture of what is happening at their business locations, along with detailed reporting features they can use immediately and in the future to track progress for each location.

Once this process is complete – and it can take a while depending on the report length and amount of fine tuning needed – the report is sent to a scheduler.

Scheduler Responsibilities

While the title of Scheduler seems simple, the job is quite involved. Upon receipt of a batch of new client reports, the scheduler first discerns all the different locations that need to be shopped. They then match the locations based on dates. Clients are usually quite specific on what days of the week and the preferred times that shoppers perform their evaluations as they know the most challenging days and time frames, the periods that will give them the most valuable feedback.

Once these steps are completed, it’s time for the Scheduler to find shoppers for each location. This can be especially demanding in rural areas with minimal numbers of local shoppers. Phone shops are much easier for schedulers to assign because they can typically be performed from any location.

The Shopper’s Job

Once the assignment is completed, the shopper completes the report online and submits it for review, acceptance and payment. RBG employees quickly review each report for general compliance and return the non-compliant ones to shoppers for corrections. Once that step is completed, the report is sent to one of many RBG editors for final review before it’s forwarded to the client.

The Editor’s Job

Most RBG editors have assigned accounts they alone are responsible for, along with others they work on as a team with fellow editors. The editorial work flow varies by account and fluctuates by time of month or season.

Editors correct spelling, grammar and incomplete/illogical sentences and remove subjective comments as well as verify shop addresses and compliance with receipt and picture/image requirements. They also make sure report instructions are followed, such as required comments on “No” answers and word counts in narratives. Editors are additionally responsible for sending reports back to shoppers for corrections, missing report information and clarifications.

Once the report is finalized, the editor scores it on a scale of 1 to 10 based on accuracy, clarity and writing quality and submits it to the client. A copy of the evaluation comments and grade is sent to each shopper. Just like shoppers, editors are evaluated based on how well they catch mistakes and the final quality of the reports they edit.

The Final Frontier: Client Review

Once the client receives the finalized report, they use the information to assess problem areas as well as successful ones. They use this data to coach employees in addition to making operational changes to improve their operations and increase profits. They then order a new round of shops, often altering key areas of focus to hone in on specific areas of concern. Alternatively, many standing clients stick with the same report formats for months at a time if they are continually satisfied with the information gathered.

The overall process involves many people as well as collaboration between client and RBG resulting in reports the client can use to drive necessary change. Everyone involved plays an important role to improve customer service.

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