It is often difficult to truly understand the customer experience (CX) at a bank or credit union.
With so many different touchpoints and contacts, management teams often find it challenging to spotlight issues with a process, representative breaking protocol, or places in the customer journey that are sub-standard.
Surveys can provide some insight into these areas, such as how was the customer service with a branch teller, loan officer, or call center representative.
However, they fall short on detail. Surveys are intended to be quick, broad, and measure. Mystery shopping offers a lot more detail on the customer experience at a bank.
What are the Benefits of Mystery Shopping for a Bank?
1. Understand real customer experiences.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of a mystery shopping program is the ability to gather feedback directly from your bank customers.
If the customer scenario is to visit the branch lobby as they usually would and place a deposit, as part of the mystery shop they can collect and log feedback on:
- Knowledge of the teller
- Wait time
- Cleanliness of the lobby area
- Speed of the transaction
- Friendliness of the teller
Similarly, if the scenario is to call a loan officer and ask specific questions about a mortgage, the customer can score the loan officer on items such as:
- The ability to answer questions
- Whether or not they discussed all mortgage options or fees
- Followed-up after the call
Perhaps no methodology gives a bank a better idea of real-life customer experiences than mystery shopping.
2. Improve training with staff through objective data.
If you are on the management team, it can be challenging to tell your representatives or front-line staff to make changes to their approach or to do something different.
The conversation can often be similar to:
Manager: “I overheard you mention the incorrect rates for a mortgage to a customer this morning”.
Mortgage Rep: “Hmm, I don’t think so. I mentioned the new rate that was changed this past Monday.”
But what if you had actual objective data from the customer which outlined the rate the rep provided him?
This type of feedback and data can be an excellent resource to help train your bank staff and make corrections. It is complicated to argue with real data logged by customers who visit the bank and interact with your team.
3. Address touchpoints that are not meeting expectations.
A bank mystery shopping company will likely put together a comprehensive report for your management team to review. This report is a goldmine of information to help your bank understand what it is doing well, and poorly.
Themes will develop in specific areas of the customer experience (CX), which customers repeatedly reference as a pain point or point of dissatisfaction. The areas can be outlined clearly in the report, and the bank mystery shopping company will recommend action items to correct these problems.
Vice-versa, the report will also tell you the areas where your staff performs exceptionally well.
4. Benchmark, track, and improve.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of a mystery shopping program at a bank is the ability to benchmark and track over time. Our bank mystery shopping company never recommends a single wave of secret shopping.
It is essential to collect a baseline of results as a first step. This baseline will identify the status-quo and improvement areas for each department, branch, and staff member who interacts with customers.
After the initial wave, training takes place, and corrections are made to help staff better improve the customer experience.
Then a follow-up wave is conducted to see how the dial has moved. These scores and ratings are often built into human resource staff evaluations and performance reviews.
Mystery shopping is an excellent source to gather credible and objective data on performance.
How Does the Mystery Shopping Process Work at a Bank?
The process for our bank mystery shopping firm follows a systematic process.
Although there are varying degrees of how to approach mystery shopping at a bank (qualitative, quantitative, with customers, using research analysts, in-person, phone, online chat, etc.), for this article we will discuss a long-term quantitative program which utilizes real bank customers like the pool of mystery shoppers.
Here are the steps involved:
- Proposal: Drive Research outlines a detailed approach, timeline, and associated fees for the project.
- Kickoff: Your team and our team meet to confirm the objectives, approach, and the next steps.
- Workplan: Drive Research develops dates and responsibilities for the project to keep everyone on task.
- Recruitment plan: A screener is created to recruit customers to participate in the program.
- Scenario Design: Drive Research outlines the different touchpoints/departments to be analyzed.
- Evaluation Design: Our team creates an evaluation form for customers to fill-out post-experience.
- Recruit: Drive Research actively recruits and schedules participants for the mystery shopping program.
- Portal: The bank is provided a live online portal to view feedback up-to-the-second of submission.
- Reporting: Drive Research sets a time period for the bank to receive reports (weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Debrief: Drive Research reviews the report, recommendations, and action items from the analysis.
What is Included in a Mystery Shopping Report for a Bank?
A mystery shopping report includes:
- Background and methodology (explaining the process)
- Executive summary of key themes to answer objectives
- Scorecards which break the feedback down by branch location, department, and even staff members
- Consultative recommendations and action items for the next steps
The market research report also includes an appendix of all of the relevant detail, including case-by-case feedback form the mystery shoppers.
Drive Research is a bank mystery shopping company located in New York that completes projects across the U.S. Our team works hand-in-hand with your bank to develop the right custom solution and mystery shopping program to fit your needs.
Have a question? Need a banking mystery shopping proposal? Contact us.