Protecting Your Company

How to ensure your frontline staff comply with your policies

By Mandy Admiraal | 11th October 2018

There is a myriad of reasons a banking firm may opt to hire mystery shoppers. Perhaps the owners are aiming to improve quality of service, or maybe their goal is to increase sales. They may even suspect internal dishonesty from employees and want to know how business is handled when they are not around. In all of these cases, mystery shopping can deliver the desired results. However, the most crucial motivation for acquiring the help of a team of mystery shoppers is often overlooked: protecting the company.

Customer satisfaction, sales, and trustworthy talent are undeniably paramount aspects of doing good business. However, even if a sales representative has a friendly demeanor, high sales rates, and a faithful work ethic, they could be falling short in a more technical way. Unbeknown to leadership, frontline staff could be failing to uphold corporate codes in their day-to-day work. Not only can this lead to the spread of misinformation, but it could cost the company dearly.

As a result of the banking scandals that have been uncovered in Australia, the federal government has intensified penalties for wayward institutions. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission signed off on updated practice codes and consequences earlier this year. Then in June, the Commonwealth Bank was hit with a $700 million fine for its misbehaviour, a figure which towers over the penalty delivered in a similar case in the United Kingdom ($1.58 million). Moreover, although the Commonwealth Bank’s errors are largely attributable to mistakes and misinterpretation, their fine also stretches beyond those served to deliberate banking criminals in the United States ($694 million).

It is clear to see that ignorance will not get Australian banks off the hook for code violations. Furthermore, they will likely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in the case of any transgression. Given the current climate, it’s no surprise that government officials, regulators, and consumers stand ready to hold banks accountable for professional compliance.

Some leaders may assume their staff are delivering up-to-code service the vast majority of the time. However, a mystery shopping study by the Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC) reveals just how common poorly handled frontline service interactions can be. In 2017, only 46% of study contacts offered compliant responses to CCMC’s mystery shoppers. That figure is an improvement from their 2008 trial, in which only 20% of representatives offered compliant responses to questions about direct debit cancellations, but, even at their best, CCMC’s study participants were conducting non-compliant frontline business practices over half the time.

C-Suite executives can’t be on the sales floor every day, nor can they monitor each phone call that comes through the call centre. However, it is more crucial than ever for C-Suite banking executives to understand that enforcing code compliance is part of their duty to protect their companies. Mystery shopping can offer leaders access to pertinent data regarding employee code compliance. This information enables them to safeguard their companies from code breaches and the dire consequences that can come as a result.


Mandy Admiraal

General Manager
TKW Research

Mandy is a social research, compliance and customer engagement specialist with over 15 years’ experience in customer experience research program management, as well as designing and building highly innovative, bespoke research programs for high profile clients in Australia and internationally.Mandy specialises in mystery shopping with a strong emphasis on code compliance auditing in the banking and finance sector.Mandy may be contacted by email on or by phone on 03 8789 4444.