A degree of professionalism must be achieved at all times if you expect to gain respect and retain clients as a private investigator. And, although professionalism is most often about how you conduct yourself, it is also about the reports you produce for your clients. As such, it is important to pen a case report that is well-written and free of blatant errors.
It is important to look at your case reports not just as a communication tool, but as a marketing tool, as they clearly reflect you and your business. Whether you are working for private clients or for attorneys, a well-written investigative report plays an important role in your overall image, so you must be able to nail it every time. Here’s how:
Pay attention to spelling and grammar.
If you need to look up a word in order to spell it correctly, take the time to do it. Make sure all names and locations are spelled correctly. And, by all means, take advantage of the spell check and grammar check on your word processing program. (You’d be surprised at how many people fail to do so!)
If spelling and grammar aren’t your strong suit, enlist the help of a solid proofreader to look over all reports before you send them out. Or, look into attending a business writing class at your local community college. Glaringly poor spelling and grammar does nothing for your image, and it gives clients a poor perception of the services you provide, regardless of how good you are at your job.
Just the facts, please.
Providing opinions or conclusions in your case report is never a good idea. Your job as a private investigator is to present the facts; let the clients come to their own conclusions based on the facts in your report. Don’t use extraneous words in your report, either. Make it clear, concise, and to the point, and avoid using any type of jargon. If in doubt, always use action verbs to write your report, as this will ensure that it is easily readable.
Check the report before sending it.
After you have written, proofread and saved the document, it is always a good idea to give it one, last look before sending it off to the client to ensure the document is properly formatted, saved, and ready to go.