Secret Shoppers: Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction

Secret shoppers improve service and compliance ratings.

It’s a problem as old as business itself — how can management ensure front line employees regularly deliver quality service? 

Of course, many banking organisations and beyond rely on customer surveys to gauge the performance of their in-store and call centre employees. These surveys prove useful when considering a few metrics,but they’re limited in scope.

For instance, customer surveys can measure service speed, note complaints, and reveal whether you require new services to meet customer needs — all of which straightforwardly contribute to a clearer picture of what your on-the-ground service experience is like for your customers.

However,genuine service and professional performance amount to more than mere customer satisfaction.

Customer surveys — especially in banking — often fall drastically short in measuring the service quality of code violations. The truth is, customers are typically unaware of upper-level banking policies. The average customer can’t report or take offence at code violations because they’re not well-versed in official guidelines.

Therefore, those poorly advised may never know service representatives have given them the wrong instructions. They simply don’t have enough technical knowledge to evaluate whether they have received top-notch service from their banks.

And that’s one reason why Australia’s banking scandals persisted for as long as they did.

In a 2017 study published by the Banking Code Compliance Monitoring Committee (CCMC), secret shoppers were hired to uncover whether branch representatives were enacting code requirements appropriately.

The study revealed banks gave policy-breaking responses to queries about debt cancellation 54% of the time.

Although non-compliance was rampant, customers didn’t realise it — CCMC only received six code breach allegations regarding debt cancellation, and even this number was considered abnormally high.

Some of those reports weren’t even filed by consumers, but by the financial advisors in whom they’d confided and who’d launched complaints on their behalf.

Consumer lack of knowledge means you can’t rely on customer surveys to hold your staff accountable for code violations. Banks must exercise due diligence to ensure frontline staff execute services in compliance with established codes.

Mystery shopping offers executives a unique data-driven option for getting this widespread problem under control.

Secret shoppers are equipped with clear-cut instructions and trained to evaluate staff responses based on straightforward formulas. Acceptable questions and answers can be tailored to target any area of concern. Once the numbers are in, problem areas become apparent, and action plans put into place.

When it comes to quality assurance, code compliance is a must. Mystery shopping not only measures customer satisfaction but also ensures consumers receive the technically sound services they deserve.