I've been mystery shopping for about 3 weeks now and I'm hoping to make a go at it full time. One thing I know I'll need to get better on if I'm going to do that is the amount of time it takes me to fill out my reports. So I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on how to speed this up.
One thing I'm thinking might help would be if I had a good speech to text program I could use when filling them out. I speak a lot faster than I type, (which isn't too bad, but talking is just a lot faster), and I'm guessing I'm not the only one in here for which that's true so I'm curious if any of you use this kind of program and can recommend a good one.
Of course, any other ideas to speed this up would also be appreciated. Thanks for any suggestions any of you have.
You'd still have to edit it to high hell. I use a dictation program for some work stuff, and some pretty odd things have slipped right by it.
"Organize" became "orgasm."
"Fixed" became "Fifth."
I do not have a lisp, I swear.
I'd suggest typing in Word, and then copying and pasting each section back into the report form where they belong. Have a cheat sheet for recurring projects. Cleanliness? Bathroom? Friendliness? Products Offered? Timeliness? Overall Impressions? Those are your marks, what they're looking for. Hit all your marks first and then go back and add in anything else that was noteworthy. I find this the easiest method to bang out reports quickly.
Plan the work. Work the plan.
I use Internet Explorer and make sure it is set to remember what I fill into forms. This way, for the reports that are mostly filling in forms, I can click the field and it will bring up all my previous responses. This helps because I am boring and always order the same thing and it almost always costs the same price.
Of course for anything with narrative, you need to type in each time. I do one shop regularly that takes a lot of narrative. I always pull up my copy of a previous report in Word and edit it, rather than start from scratch. You need to make sure you change it up a bit, but it makes it easier, and your format will stay consistent.
On some shops when you have to scan a lot of material in (one bank in particular comes to mind), I will multi-task and work on the report as I wait for the scanner to do it's thing, or edit the scans for one report while I scan in a batch for the other. This may seem obvious to the experienced shopper, but it took me a couple of months to get comfortable doing this. As a newbie, you might get too confused trying to do more than one thing at a time and make mistakes, so don't rush yourself.
Once you are more confident, give yourself a goal for completing a report. I think to myself, "If I finish this report in ## minutes, I will be earning $$ per hour." That kind of attitude helps me crank out more in less time. I think back to Napoleon Dynamite at the chicken farm: "That's like a dollar an hour!" I definitely don't want to be there!
I would steer clear of copy/pasting a previous report and editing it. Some of the MSCs now have programs in place that run your reports for any form of plagiarism of previous reports, and any previously-submitted receipts. It would probably take more time to edit enough wording, than it would to type a fresh report.
I do agree with her suggestion of pulling up a previous report (that got high scoring) and looking it over for a few moments before writing your new one, to familiarize yourself with what you did to receive high scoring.
Plan the work. Work the plan.
> I would steer clear of copy/pasting a previous
> report and editing it. Some of the MSCs now have
> programs in place that run your reports for any
> form of plagiarism of previous reports, and any
> previously-submitted receipts. It would probably
> take more time to edit enough wording, than it
> would to type a fresh report.
Right, I wouldn't suggest that on most narratives, but on that particular assignment, the format is important to the client as well as the content. It is also a pretty regular assignment for me, so most times I encounter the same employees, so I already have physical descriptions, etc. I'm not particularly fast at typing, so editing can be just as fast for me.
Although I personally prefer to type, I do own Dragon Naturally Speaking for my girlfriend and her daughter. This product is made by Nuance and I've added a link to their site for you. The software used to come with a headset containing a built-in microphone, although I'm not sure if that's still the case. I don't know if it allows you to type narratives directly into your report while you are online but you can compose the report on say MS Word, and then paste it into the MSC's web site. It also allows you to proofread your reports by listening to rather than reading them. The software learns the way you speak so it can adjust for your particular speech patterns and/or accent.
I don't know if this is what you're looking for but I hope that it helps you.