Overview: Why would a bank want a phone shop? Often, customers who are searching for a new bank, because they have either moved to the area, or are looking for a bank with lower fees, will use the phone to help narrow down the number of banks they will ultimately visit. These shops generally cover the customer service aspect of the bank’s personnel and how they interact over the phone.
Project variations: Variations can range from basic “fact gathering” to more complex scenarios where you mention specific items during the conversation with the customer service person to see if they were paying attention and picked up on the clue[s] to attempt to cross-sell you on additional items that you hinted at, but did not specifically mention.
Visit and reporting requirements: Some of these shops may require in-person visits following the call. Check with the scheduler and, if that’s the case, be prepared with aliases. Generally when I do these types of shops, I’ll know if I’m also going to be following up with in-person visits and, if that’s the case, I’ll have two aliases for each shop, one for the phone call and one for the visit.
Strategies: On the phone call, I avoid the commitment to come in for a visit by saying something along the lines of, “I believe in establishing a long-term relationship with my bank. Right now I’m calling to get the basics. Once I’ve narrowed down my choices, I’ll come for a visit.”
If there’s an in-person visit, I avoid the need to show ID by simply saying that I’ve been the victim of identity theft [Target this past Christmas comes to mind, or an attack on your state’s revenue department website], and I’ll only give my SSN when I’m ready to commit to an account, right now I’m still gathering information because I want this relationship to be for the long term. I don’t want to find out in a month that Bank X had a better set of accounts for my needs.
Special note: For the phone calls, vary the scenario with each call.
What others have to say: I wasn’t able to find a lot of discussion about bank phone shops at www.mysteryshopforum.com.
Estimated pay: These tend to be among the higher paying of the telephone shops, some paying $10-15 per call.
MSCs: Stacey’s Strategic Solutions, Customer Service Profiles, among others.
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