• Let’s try and compare validation to caring for orchards.

On fruit trees, validation and mystery shopping. Or how to fill correctly the reports that we all know too well

How many of you have got that annoying email from somebody who asks and insists that you correct, complete and specify the information you had already filled out after a mystery shopping check? I am sure that everyone has had such a moment and has scrolled through the red-lettered boxes with some boredom.

The person who sends you these remarks and questions does not aim to belittle your work. On the contrary – her role is to guarantee the most accurate and objective data from the report so that it becomes valid. This member of the team is called a validator (or reviewer) and he or she strictly monitors and reads all of your writing in the report. Consider them your “personal editor”.

The term “validation” comes from Latin – it is derived from the word “validus” which means “healthy, strong” or, otherwise, something which has the legal power, something true. The information you share with us in your report is validated after being checked and confirmed by the validators. They scan your writing according to specific criteria for the mystery shopping check. In the cases when there is not enough detail or there are contradictions, the validator relies on the mystery shopper’s co-operation so they can find the truth together. Every successful report lies on carefully verified results. In a single campaign there are usually hundreds of questionnaires filled out and the aim that we pursue together are objective and verified results.

Let’s try and compare validation to caring for orchards. The trees are your reports and the validator is the gardener. She can assess if the tree needs water, estimates how it has been growing, and the fruit is the result of her work. When the trees were planted and watered correctly, when someone protected them against vermin, then we can expect a rich and profitable harvest that everyone can be satisfied with.

The reports work the same way – when they are filled out correctly, when you follow the validator’s instructions for spelling and punctuation, when you follow the logic of the questionnaire and when you provide all the important and necessary information, then the calculated score most closely reflects the situation described in your mystery shopping report.

If you want your garden to stand out, you can take extra care of the trees before your gardener (the validator) intervenes. Try to abide by the spelling and punctuation standards, use Cyrillic, and describe everything with lots of details, so your tree can give out lots of fruit. If the validator still finds that a little bit more effort is needed – trust them and follow their benevolent guidance. A literate report always makes a good impression, especially if the information is detailed and supported by the necessary arguments.

If while reading these lines, you can picture yourself as a validator (gardener), you can try and join the work in our garden and help us with the upcoming harvest. We value and sincerely welcome good gardeners.

Image credit: FreeImages.com/adzica