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5 Surprising Things You’ll Learn From a Mystery Phone Shop

5 Surprising Things You'll Learn From a Mystery Phone Shop

Most community banks don’t know

We’ve been conducting Telephone Mystery Shops for over 20 years. Of course, over the years our techniques and technology have evolved with the times, allowing us to provide community banks with a valuable service that helps to improve their bottom line. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen a change for the worse in the shopped results at most community banks. When we began mystery shopping all those years ago, a community bank would typically score in the “C” range and consistently outperform their large regional and national competitors. In the last few years we’ve seen those scores change dramatically, taking a nose dive. Shockingly, over 90% of community banks now score in the “D” to “F” range and less than 50% of them are outperforming their larger bank competitors.
Here are five things we’ve found most surprising through these shops…

1. 65% of your employees are misquoting rates

With all of the regulatory headaches in the banking world today, the last thing you need is your employees quoting deposit rates in a way that fails the basic compliance standards of stating the APY.

2. There is a lack of product knowledge

On a typical shop of 10 or more branches employees will quote varying rates on the same products as well as give multiple descriptions of a single product. It’s also fairly common to have a few employees who are unable to quote a basic CD rate or answer a simple product question. Sometimes employees seem to have an “it’s not my job” or “I’m just a teller” mentality. While it’s ok (in certain cases) not to know something but it’s not ok to guess and give bad information. Our favorite quote heard much too often… “I think” and then information or misinformation is given. Seriously?

3. 30% of your employees are driving away business

This is a problem that is happening more and more these days. When reviewing the phone shop recordings, it’s clear that some employees are distracted and bothered by an incoming phone call. These employees seem to believe that if they encourage a customer to come into the branch it will do nothing more than create extra work. All of the advertising dollars and efforts made to drive calls into your branch are stopped in their tracks by one disengaged employee that has the attitude he will get paid the same salary whether the customer comes in or not, so why do the extra work. On a positive note… at least this employee won’t create a Well Fargo situation at your bank!

4. Your bank doesn’t offer great service

Almost every community banker we’ve encountered over the past few decades has claimed that their bank offers great customer service. However, once we shop a bank, over 90% of those bankers who brag about their service will quickly admit they have some work to do. Most bankers are nice on the phone… even those at the big banks. But great service is more than a smile and a friendly hello. Most employees never ask, if a person calling about a checking account, is a customer of their bank and over 75% don’t bother to ask for a name… a golden rule of basic phone etiquette. Even fewer offer the right product to the right customer at the right time… Customer service 101.

5. Some employees are pitching product (think Wells Fargo)

It only takes one employee pitching, one wrong product to one wrong customer, to open the floodgates of complaints, compliance issues, and a walk down the road to Wells Fargo land. While you’ll notice in a typical shop that most of your employees are order-takers and going through the motions, you’re likely to find a few employees that start pitching products without any clue as to what the customer needs. This is very easy to correct, but if ignored in this regulatory environment, you will get burned.

Not knowing is not the answer

Not knowing and not seeing doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Unfortunately, many community banks are making the mistake of ignoring one of the easiest and cheapest ways of monitoring their customer service and compliance standards. A simple monthly phone shop will set the right tone for your employees, enhance the customer service experience, provide tangible feedback, and impact your net income. The main competitive advantage that a community bank has in its arsenal is remarkable customer service. Don’t go into the new year without knowing where your bank stands.

SCMG, Inc.
9 Laurelwood Dr
Covington, LA, 70435
(800) 560-1127

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