By Amanda Morrissey, Customer Impact Editing Manager

On all of the shop guidelines for Customer Impact, we provide sample comments for that particular survey. These are provided in order to give our shoppers an idea of what the client is looking for with regard to length, detail, and formatting in each comments section. We want to be sure that the client’s expectations are as clear as possible and that there are no surprises once it comes time to submit your survey. Along with those sample comments, our guidelines including the following disclaimer: This is what your comments must look like. This does not mean that you should copy and paste the sample. Comments should be in your own words, but with the same format and level of detail as the sample.

While many may feel that “plagiarism” is a very harsh term, the definition is clear: the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. When a shopper copies and pastes the sample comments into his or her narrative, that is plagiarism – taking the sample comments we have provided and passing them off as the shopper’s own work. It is something that our editing department takes extremely seriously, and in the past several weeks, we have noticed it becoming more and more prevalent. This is a problem for several reasons.

  1. Copying the sample leads to inaccuracies in your work – the wrong employee names, timings that are incorrect, and/or information that does not apply to your visit at all. Not all shops are the same, so not all narratives can look exactly like those on the sample.
  2. Inaccuracies have to be carefully checked by the editors, which can cause a delay in the client receiving the information. If we cannot verify that the details we are providing are accurate, this could also mean that your shop is rejected and that you are not paid. This in turn creates an issue for the schedulers, who then have to find someone else to redo the shop.
  3. Our client could very easily recognize the sample comments. If they do, that could lead them to question the accuracy of all of the information in the survey. If they do not feel the information is accurate, they may choose not to use that particular shop or even not to continue to use our services.
  4. If all shoppers were copying and pasting the sample and just changing a few words here and there, the client would essentially be receiving the same survey for every shop. That is not at all helpful to them, and again, could lead the client to question the accuracy of all of the information we are providing and possibly even cancel their program with us.

When completing your next shop with us, please keep all of this in mind as you write your narratives. The sample should never be copied and pasted into your survey for any reason and is a guideline ONLY. Even if your visit somehow closely resembles the one described in the sample, the details need to be written in your own words, from your perspective. We want to be sure that we are able to pay you for your survey, and we also want to continue our good relationships with our clients so that we have shops available for you to complete. If you ever have any questions at all on how to complete your narratives, please contact us! We are here to help! Feel free to also reference our Report Writing Tips at http://www.customerimpactinfo.com/mystery-shoppers/report-writing-tips/.