Financial Institutions Can Receive Shopping Reports Via E-mail
When Judi Hess, President of Customer Perspectives, a mystery shopping provider based in Hooksett, New Hampshire, began working in the mystery shopping business 22 years ago, she spent a large amount of time explaining to financial institution executives what mystery shopping was and why it could be useful for their institutions.
Now, she says, financial institutions are familiar with mystery shopping, but oftentimes need to be educated about how to utilize the feedback that it provides to improve sales and customer service.
“Nothing is worse than having the mystery shopping executive summary stuck in a bookcase,” says Hess.
“I suggest to my clients that the more ways they use mystery shopping, the more value it has to them,” says Hess.
Hess suggests that clients apply mystery shop results in at least five key ways:
Coach on a one-to-one level
Offer positive reinforcement
Redirect training efforts
Develop a system of incentives
The company offers feedback to financial institution executives in a variety of user-friendly forms so that they can utilize the information effectively.
“One of the biggest trends in mystery shopping that has changed the industry inside out and upside down over the last couple of years is that banks can now receive mystery shopping reports electronically, usually in less than three business days,” says Hess.
The fast turnaround has dramatically affected how financial institutions use mystery shopping information to coach and recognize employees, she says.
“Banks can give positive reinforcement right away,” says Hess.
The company sends mystery shopping reports to financial institution executives via e-mail and also provides data reports online through a password-protected Web site.
The reports allow executives to view data per individual and/or branch. Mystery shopping data can also be compared month to month.
Results can be compared with competitor information gleaned from similar mystery shops, or, in the case of a follow-up study, with information gathered during the financial institution’s initial benchmark study, says Hess.
Hess recommends that financial institutions conduct a follow-up mystery shop six to nine months after their initial benchmark study. This allows them to update their training programs to address weaknesses in customer service and sales ability, she says.
After this, Hess recommends that mystery shops be conducted on a quarterly or monthly basis in order to reinforce good customer service skills.
“The savviest banks will continue to utilize mystery shops and training programs on a regular basis,” says Hess.
“Time after time we’ve seen banks wait a couple of years to conduct mystery shops and their training drops off.”