Bank Mystery Shopping

Bank mystery shopping is a research tool best used to monitor sales and service behaviors of customer facing employees. Bank mystery shopping is one of many customer experience research tools. Customer experience research is like a tool belt containing a variety of tools, each with a different purpose. One tool, a survey of customers, is best used to determine customers’ feeling and attitudes. Bank mystery shopping, on the other hand, is best used to observe and evaluate employee behaviors and, very importantly, link those behaviors to broader bank-wide customer experience objectives.

Identifying which sales and service behaviors drive purchase intent.

Each of Kinēsis’ bank mystery shopping clients is unique, with unique needs and unique corporate objectives. Kinēsis works with each client to identify their customer experience objectives; how they want the customer to think feel and - most importantly – act, as a result of the customer experience.


Bank Channel Experience Shopping

Kinēsis’ bank mystery shopping programs are employed by banks to fulfill a variety of research purposes. Some of these research purposes include:


In Branch Bank Mystery Shops The role of the branch has been evolving for decades. We believe the branch is currently still the cornerstone of establishing the customer relationship. Mystery shopping branch personnel is an excellent tool to measure and motivate the sales and service behaviors you expect.


Contact Center Bank Mystery Shops Unlike call monitoring, mystery shopping of contact centers gives managers a unique opportunity to evaluate the customer experience using predetermined scenarios.


Competitor Bank Mystery Shops Competitive mystery shopping can achieve two results. First, benchmark sales and service behaviors relative to the competition. Second, identify best practices in terms of driving purchase intent or loyalty.


Internal Service Mystery Shops Shops Internal bank mystery shopping evaluates service provided within the organization. These shops identify bottlenecks within the internal service delivery.


Life Cycle Mystery Shops LifeCycle shops look at the customer experience in a more holistic way. In these shops, shoppers open an account, conduct a number of different transactions and inquiries over an extended period of time.


Bank Web Site Mystery Shops Online webpage gives clients insight into navigation, ease of use, and the overall online experience.


Mobile Bank Mystery Shops Like online shops, mystery shopping of mobile channels evaluates navigation, ease of use, and the overall mobile experience.




Other Bank Mystery Shopping Programs


Bank Investment Sales Practices (IDIP) Mystery Shops In the sale of bank-marketed investment products, banks are obligated to minimize any confusion between non-deposit products and deposit products through required disclosures. Mystery shopping is an excellent to tool to test non-deposit sales practices.


Bank Fair Lending Mystery Shops Our fair lending mystery shopping program is designed to test for disparate treatment or overt discrimination and other prohibited lending activities.


Bank Truth in Savings Mystery Shops Kinēsis’ truth in savings mystery shop program evaluates the presence, timing and accuracy of annual percentage yield (APY) quotes.


Bank Truth in Lending Mystery Shops Our truth in lending mystery shop program evaluates the presence, timing and accuracy of oral and written annual percentage rate (APR) quotes.



Bank-Customer Interface

At the center of the customer experience is the bank-customer interface. The customer side of this interface can be measured with a variety of research tools, including: surveys, social media monitoring, and customer comment tools. The bank side of the bank-customer interface is best measured by mystery shopping. Bank mystery shopping focuses on the employee/ behavioral side of the bank-customer interface, measuring employee behaviors, and, if well designed, determines the importance of each employee behavior in terms of driving the customer experience objectives of the bank.



Two Benefits of Bank Mystery Shopping:


Measurement & Motivation

Beyond simply measuring sales and customer service behaviors, bank mystery shopping provides an additional benefit for financial institutions – motivation. Just the act of measuring compliance to behavioral expectations increases the frequency of expected behaviors.

Best-in-class bank mystery shopping measures and motivates the behaviors which matter most. Those which drive the bank’s overall customer experience objectives, aligning behaviors to the overall customer experience objectives.



For more information on design research based on your objectives, see the following blog post:

Keys to Customer Experience Research Success – Start with the Objectives


What, How & Why

Kinēsis employs a highly consultative process to design bank mystery shop programs. They are designed to measure and motivate employee behaviors which advance the bank’s overall branding and customer experience objectives.

Market research study design should always anticipate the analysis. We call study design elements that anticipate the analysis “call to action” elements. Three call to action elements are built into Kinēsis’ bank mystery shopping study design. They are the “what”, “how” and “why” of the customer experience. Together, they align employee behaviors to the desired brand and customer experience objectives.

Mystery Shopping Best Practice Questionnaire Design: What.

Objective Behaviors:

The foundation of a best-in-class bank mystery shopping program is observations of behaviors - behaviors which are objective, observable and empirical. Best-in-class programs focus on observing specific sales and service behaviors expected from customer-facing staff to both measure and motivate these behaviors.


Mystery Shopping Best Practice Questionnaire Design: How.

Subjective Impressions:

While empirical observations of objective behaviors are the foundation of best-in-class bank mystery shopping, observations of these behaviors are only an important first step. Customer experience managers need to prioritize the importance of these behaviors in terms of their ability help the bank achieve its customer experience objectives, otherwise there is no way of knowing if these behaviors are aligned with broader bank goals. This provides a means of prioritizing investments in motivating these behaviors, and gives clear direction as to their relative importance.

Kinēsis uses three types of subjective impressions of the customer experience to provide a basis to determine the relative importance of each behavior measures. They are brand personality adjectives, agreement to statements designed to capture how the client wants their customers to describe the brand, and ratings of the customer experience objective.

Brand Personality Adjectives

Ask yourself, what 5 or 6 adjectives would you use to describe your desired brand personality? Or, when customers interact with your institution, how would you want them to describe your brand? The answer to these questions will form a construct from which to measure the customer experience against your desired brand personality.

Brand Statements

Similarly, ask yourself what 5 or 6 statements would you want customers to use to describe your brand?

For example, statements such as:

  • We are a local bank committed to the community.
  • We are like a trusted friend.
  • We are interested in customers not just the bottom line.

Measuring agreement with these statements based on the shopper’s experience provides yet another benchmark to compare the customer experience to broader brand objectives.

Customer Experience Objective

Finally, and most importantly, Kinēsis works with clients to help them define their overall customer experience objective. How does each client want their customers to think, feel or act as a result of an interaction with its employees?

For example, in new account interactions, assume the bank’s customer experience objective could be increased purchase intent, or for more transactional interactions, it could be increased loyalty or intention to continue or expand the banking relationship.

Kinēsis employs a scientifically designed rating scale to capture how the customer experience influenced how the shopper felt about the bank as a result of the experience. This provides a basis from which to determine not only the effect of the overall customer experience in terms of driving this overall customer experience objective, but by correlating each behavior observed in the bank mystery shopping program to this rating scale we provide clients with a means of identifying which behaviors have the highest potential for return on investment in terms of driving the overall customer experience objective. For example, if the customer experience objective is to foster increased intent to open an account, then Kinēsis’ approach to study design will identify those behaviors which will provide the greatest return on investment in terms of driving the intention to open an account.


Mystery Shopping Best Practice Questionnaire Design: Why.

Subjective Comments:

The third call to action element is subjective comments. These comments are designed to capture unaided top-of-mind explanations from the shopper regarding why they felt the way they did about the experience. This is captured with an open-ended question. Beyond a simple narrative of the experience, these questions are designed to capture raw unstructured data from the shopper about why they felt the way they did about the experience.

Kinēsis uses content analysis of these open-end responses to turn these raw top-of-mind observations into meaningful observations that identify the specific elements of the customer experience which drive clients’ customer experience objectives.



No Surprises: Best Practices in Mystery Shop Program Launch from Kinesis CEM, LLC



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