How do you remember each MSC's narrative preferences?

I just got a nice note from an editor at one of the companies I enjoy working with once or twice a month, asking me to please remember to use the employees' names in the narrative instead of referring to them as "the server." Fair enough--this particular company makes that preference clear in their training materials, which I read a year ago when I started shopping for them.

Of course, it's the direct opposite of several other companies that I work with more often. Things like this are not generally in the guidelines for individual shops, so how do I make sure I don't forget again? Do you have a system? A spreadsheet, or a place where you keep notes? Do you review the training materials before you do each shop? What works for those of you who don't have perfect photographic memories?

Some things can be determined by looking at the wording used on the form ("team member" vs. "associate," for example). But other things, like whether to refer to your co-diner as your "companion" or your "guest," arenot. When I worked with fewer companies I was able to rely on my brain to remember, but that's obviously not quite enough anymore.

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

--W. H. Auden

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One company doesn't want the name or even the gender of the employee in the narrative. I keep this unusual requirement stored with the password for this MSC's site. Whenever I go to login I'm reminded of this.
If the shop is on the SASSIE system I generally glance over the previous critiques and this is a reminder that the associate is an Associate or they want only one space after ending punctuation, etc. Otherwise there are usually clues in the guidelines or on the form itself or I just remember or I just make the same mistake again.
Honestly, sometimes I just remember, other times I do not. When I don't the editor gets some job security. Kudos to the companies who provide either a sample report or some brief narrative directions within the report.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I just had the same thing happen to me. I hit the submit button and went CRAP this is the company that likes the actual names... At that point I just hope for the kindness of the editor who will have to fix it and like you think... how can I avoid this next time. So if anyone has any brilliant ideas about this I am interested. Also like LisaSTL said, Kudos to the companies that have a sample report convenient for us.
Figuring out different companies reporting styles has been one of my biggest struggles with Mystery Shopping.
I found a great work around for remembering narrative requirements. I don't do shops that require them.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
A small note at the top of the form with a company's idiosyncrasies would sure go a long way. I will do my best, but I don't want to spend the time to study for each ten or fifteen dollar shop.

Another thing that is helpful is when MSC's use the style in a question that they want us to use in the answer. If you want me to write 'server' don't ask about the 'waitstaff' in the question, use 'server.'
Depending on the MSC and how much work I perform for them, I can typically remember this. If it's a one and done with the MSC or I just barely work for the MSC, I take time for a more thorough read of the guidelines, rather than a skim.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
If the reports require chronological narratives, I save copies of each one. I refer to them, as my templates, before writing a new narrative. I also save narratives from reports that require comprehensive comments. I refer to them plus they are very handy if my reports are ever questioned.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
If it is a company that I rarely work for I just glance at the guidelines. Otherwise I can usually remember and I do save master copies of companies guidelines in a progressively messier folder. When I mess up I hope it is an understanding editor who just dings me a point.
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