Speaking of soul-sucking narratives...

Never again. I just finished my first and last shop with this particular MSC. Certain MSCs, I don't mind the long, detailed, mind-numbing reports because the healthy fee always reflects my time and energy involved. But this place, oh hell no. The shop paid $15. I spent way longer at the shop than I wanted to in the first place. Did the report, then had to "narrate" my experience at the end of the 50+ questionnaire process. Then, 3 days later editor sends it back asking me to comment on almost half of the 50 questions I had just answered, including anything that was N/A or didn't even apply in any way to the shop, or things that I had already commented on in the smaller comment boxes underneath the specified question. I spent another 1.5 hours trying to muster up sentences for that. Then only got a "7" rating because the editor had to contact me. I have never had an editor tell me I had to comment on areas where the answer was "YES" or "N/A" unless it specified for me to do so in a comment box. So 2.5 hours for $15, no thanks. I'm good. This will go on my list of 10-foot pole MSCs.

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Sorry for your pain. This would be more useful for the rest of us with the name of either the MSC or the business.
Sounds like Service Check, which wants a comment on each and every item in the narrative, including the date and time of visit.
@saacman5033 I didn't name them because this opinion is my own. Maybe others experience would be and are different. Maybe they don't care. I have learned that this forum, in general, has some very uptight members. Every thread turns into an unnecessary debate. I just can't live the last days of my life like that lol. Anyway, if you (and maybe others) think it would be helpful, the MSC is Customer Service Experts.
Thanks Val, your post is timely for me. I've never shopped for them as CSE has had almost nothing locally for me, but they just got a number of local airport jobs that I was considering. After reading your report I'm still willing to give them a chance but I'm going to be cautious and look to be appropriately paid for what sounde like a lot of work for low pay if I were to take them at base rate.
I think you might have just pulled the short straw on editors. I just recently did my first shop for that company and I know I did not write narratives for yes or n/a answers. It sailed through with a 10. It could also be a requirement of the client maybe. The shop I did has a base pay of $25 so I don't think we shopped the same clients.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
These kind of reports that make you want to pull your hair out, one strand at a time, will make me promise myself to NEVER accept that particular assignment again unless heavily bonused. smiling smiley
@SunnyDays2 wrote:

These kind of reports that make you want to pull your hair out, one strand at a time, will make me promise myself to NEVER accept that particular assignment again unless heavily bonused. smiling smiley

What about those of us that don't have hair to begin with? Lol! winking smiley

Shopping central Arizona.
If you had to write a long narrative, save it to use as a template for next time. I know you say no for any next time, but they may bonus it and the template will help you out.

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
Here's how they work.

Section 1;
5 Y/N questions.
Write the responses in the narrative for all the questions, including the timing.

Repeat 2-4 times, depending on how they break up the sections.

Once you know what they want, it's easy. Until then, it's a huge PITA.
MysVal your post reminded me of a shop I will never do again but it was not for your later revealed msc. I think there are lots like that out there with endless small narrative boxes and then a whole step by step redundant story at the end for a reimbursement of a few dollars and a fee of a few dollars more plus pictures to take clearly and load.
I honestly don't understand why so many MSCs want every item commented on from the questionnaire. If everything must be mentioned, why even have it?
@Misanthrope wrote:

I honestly don't understand why so many MSCs want every item commented on from the questionnaire. If everything must be mentioned, why even have it?

I think that the questons are a guide to what you should be writing in the narrative. That's my theory anyway.

I did 14 jobs one day for them. I got 8 back. I wrote them all in the same style. I had a couple of different editors though. Once you know what they want, they aren't that bad, really. They each took under 5 minutes to edit.
I have done one fairly detailed assignment three separate times (not for the company you mentioned). The first time, it went through without a hitch. The second time, the editor had a few questions. The third time, an editor emailed me two dozen questions, some of which were already answered in my narrative, some which were verification of yes responses in the Q&A, and others which definitely needed my clarification based on my imperfect report. If this had been my first experience with this company, I night have run screaming the next time they called me.

I learned two things from this experience. 1) Never blame the company for a rough editing job. It may be the editor's style, or their history with a fussy client that you don't know about. Or, it may be that an omission/confusion or two in the narrative caused them to question everything in your report. You might have the opposite experience next time. 2) Some MSCs intend the Q&A as a guideline for all of the information they want in your narrative, and the narrative should stand on its own. Once you know this, it's easy to write up the report to the company's liking next time.

We are all here on earth to help others....What on earth the others are here for I don't know.

--W. H. Auden
The thing is, also, life would have been much better had they stated their requirements from the beginning. I had never worked with them before so in using my history of my other MSCs I would not assume that I have to comment on areas I never had to before.

For instance, another MSC that almost made it on my 10-ft pole list for the same reason kept rating my reports 7 and 8 because they had to replace too many "he/her(s)" with the representative's name. This MSC NEVER wants you to use He or She but always their name. I do not naturally write like that and they never said so. I responded to the editor that it would be helpful if I knew that ahead of time. So now, its in the guidelines and all is right with the world again. Another MSC wants you write in 3rd person and never reveal my name or gender. Took me a while to learn how to do that consistently but now Im a pro at it. So, my point is, yes I understand that there are guidelines, but its helpful to know that from the start and the pay should reflect that as well.

Thanks everyone. Your thoughts are responses were very helpful!!
I feel your pain @MysVal. I did a job that was a phone call. The report was 59 questions. About half of them were to rate something from 1-10 or answer simple questions. The other half was the killer. For every rated question, they wanted details and examples to explain the rating. When I first looked at the report I thought maybe one or two sentences for each question, which is reasonable. Once I started working on it and saw all the little extra directions about specific details and examples, I almost cried. This job pays $7. I have three more assigned for next month and I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
This is actually one of my favorites companies to work for. I was a little nervous doing the first assignment for them as I heard that the narratives can be lengthy, well to my surprise all the reports I have done for them I gotten a "10" shop grade. Meanwhile, over at Reality Check I can't seem to get a grade above "8" for a 5-minute fast food shop.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/10/2015 11:32AM by tavisb.
FYI, the company I did the aforementioned $7 phone call job for was not the same MSC as MysVal's.
@Flash wrote:

Sounds like Service Check, which wants a comment on each and every item in the narrative, including the date and time of visit.

I just did my first shop for Service Check and I didn't find the report bad at all. They had the normal quick questions like date/time/employee descriptions. I had to answer questions by checking off several boxes, and then put in a narrative of my visit. I went down the list of questions I had check marked, and briefly commented on most of them, so my narrative was about 4 short paragraphs plus a few random sentences thrown in. I didn't notice that commenting on date or time as a requirement for the narrative, so I didn't rehash those or other things I had already mentioned (like employee names and physical descriptions). I got a compliment and a "10" on the shop. I thought it was worth the $27 in pay/reimbursement.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2015 02:15AM by rainy.
I think it depends a lot on the editor you get and it isn't always on the same kind of shop. But I get the 'comment on each and every item' often enough I would rather take an extra few minutes and comment on 'each and every' rather than have the thing returned because I failed to comment on some 'yes' answer or other.
@MysVal wrote:

Never again. I just finished my first and last shop with this particular MSC. Certain MSCs, I don't mind the long, detailed, mind-numbing reports because the healthy fee always reflects my time and energy involved. But this place, oh hell no. The shop paid $15. I spent way longer at the shop than I wanted to in the first place. Did the report, then had to "narrate" my experience at the end of the 50+ questionnaire process. Then, 3 days later editor sends it back asking me to comment on almost half of the 50 questions I had just answered, including anything that was N/A or didn't even apply in any way to the shop, or things that I had already commented on in the smaller comment boxes underneath the specified question. I spent another 1.5 hours trying to muster up sentences for that. Then only got a "7" rating because the editor had to contact me. I have never had an editor tell me I had to comment on areas where the answer was "YES" or "N/A" unless it specified for me to do so in a comment box. So 2.5 hours for $15, no thanks. I'm good. This will go on my list of 10-foot pole MSCs.



Things like that are one of the main reasons why I give certain companies a break. IMO one of the most annoying people in the MS business can be a new editor that is trying to prove themselves on my report. I'm not saying that this is the case with you but sometimes that's what it seems like is happening to me and I just take a break if it happens twice.

****************


Motivation increases when we assume large responsibilities with a short deadline.
@Flash wrote:

I think it depends a lot on the editor you get and it isn't always on the same kind of shop. But I get the 'comment on each and every item' often enough I would rather take an extra few minutes and comment on 'each and every' rather than have the thing returned because I failed to comment on some 'yes' answer or other.


I have had an experience in which I got a 7 because I didn't go into enough detail about the manager that wasn't at the restaurant. I don't mind being reprimanded for something that I have done wrong but if I say that I did not have an opportunity to observe a manager what more can I say?

****************


Motivation increases when we assume large responsibilities with a short deadline.
Customer Service Experts is my best company to work for. I get 10's on most of my assignments with all companies because I base all of my reports on my editor experience with them. Just answer every question in your narrative. Once you get used to this it is easy. I never have to take hours to do any report. This sounds like an airport shop.
@shopper8 wrote:

Customer Service Experts is my best company to work for. I get 10's on most of my assignments with all companies because I base all of my reports on my editor experience with them. Just answer every question in your narrative. Once you get used to this it is easy. I never have to take hours to do any report. This sounds like an airport shop.

Good for you! That's how shopping should be done, as each style of reporting will vary from MSC to MSC and from client to client. You learn a little about specific MSC's, clients and even individual PM's, schedulers and editors.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
Wow! This thread really hits home today! I just had a report returned to me from a company that I have done about 15 reports for in the past with no issue. It was an excellent visit and I gave a glowing report. She did not like how I described the meals and gave me an 'example' to use. I never described the type dishes the meal was served on. Is this common? I can certainly add it in the future but have never had an editor instruct me include this. I am really trying to take her comments and requests as good feedback to use for the future but part of me is really frustrated! But, I will take this as a lesson and do better next time..

Example give to me: The calamari were served on a large white plate. The portion was generous and they were hot. The calamari was lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. They were crisp outside and tender inside. They were accompanied by a small bowl of marinara sauce for dipping. They were delicious.
@kacolarusso wrote:

Wow! This thread really hits home today! I just had a report returned to me from a company that I have done about 15 reports for in the past with no issue. It was an excellent visit and I gave a glowing report. She did not like how I described the meals and gave me an 'example' to use. I never described the type dishes the meal was served on. Is this common? I can certainly add it in the future but have never had an editor instruct me include this. I am really trying to take her comments and requests as good feedback to use for the future but part of me is really frustrated! But, I will take this as a lesson and do better next time..

Example give to me: The calamari were served on a large white plate. The portion was generous and they were hot. The calamari was lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. They were crisp outside and tender inside. They were accompanied by a small bowl of marinara sauce for dipping. They were delicious.

I hate example narratives that include subjectivity, yet they encourage shoppers to report as objectively as possible. Could it be the detail that lacked? I learned that some MSC's liked when we detailed ingredients by ingredients. For that, I bulked ingredients together and analyzed that way, but avoided words like delicious and any mention of "generous portions," unless we have a guideline on how much we should be receiving.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
I find it is not unusual to find questions of 'how did it taste?' or 'how was it served?' or 'how was it plated?' Often they are wondering if it was 'appetizing', so a couple of places around here get fairly low on 'appetizing' because all condiments and sides are piled up on the plate and as a diner I have to sort the side bowls and portion condiment cups out to the table so that I can get to the food on the plate. (Just where have those bowl bottoms been before they were set atop my food?) 'Plated' frequently has tired looking garnishes you suspect were recycled, may have drips and slops on the plates, overflows on the bowls of sides that drip onto the hot food, etc.

I do 'generous portion' and 'skimpy portion' when the amount presented appears to be substantially more or less than advertised. I don't carry a scale, but I can tell you pretty fast whether that 'half pound' of chicken tenders is 'generous', 'skimpy' or would indeed weigh out to darn close to a half pound.
Thanks for the comments/suggestions! I really want to do a good job at this so any suggestions are definitely appreciated! Thinking back on it, I think what really bothered me is that my report was a little late because I was having problems with their website. I had even posted a question here on the forum asking if anyone else was having issues. I let the editor know this and she asked me WHERE I posted it. I sent her the link: [www.mysteryshopforum.com]. It made me feel like she did not 'trust' me or something. I think the end result is I just need to get thicker skin and learn from all the feedback!
I have shopped many restaurants. The example they sent you is perfect. About the plates. There are some restaurants that serve their salad on a cold plate, they want that information.
Example: My Caesar salad was served on a cold plate, the salad was crisp and fresh. The dressing was tasty and just the right amount. My French fries were plentiful but soft and cold. The steak was tender, cooked to medium rare as I requested, served on a hot plate.
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