With over 86,000 bank branches in the US, according to Bank Branch Locator and over 21,000 credit union branches in the US, according to Monitor Bank Rates, the odds of finding an in-person or phone banking mystery shop are definitely in your favor.
When I relished visiting new cities, I would schedule 4 or more in person bank shops with dining shops and tourist attractions for a whole days-worth of adventure.
Generally bank shops will consist of a new customer experience, a credit or loan experience or a targeted shop by a company.
I have found MaritzCX with many in-person shops, Person to Person Quality with numerous phone shops and Informa Research Services with specific loan or finance shops (I have not conducted their credit score specific shops).
PHONE SHOPS VS. IN-PERSON SHOPS
Phone shops can be easily done from your home as long as you have a quiet environment (no background noise) and preferably unlimited long distance. Keep in mind, your accent will define where you can shop and realistically appear native to that area.
Personally I create a phone worksheet with my revealed and non-revealed data,numbers to call and my persona (the character I am for the call). Some companies record calls, so be aware of this and utilize the feature if available. Be aware many companies want to know how many rings it takes the call to be answered and recorded calls rarely document this information.
Banking phone shops are all about your voice, listening, and attitude (smile when you speak) during the call. Unlike in-person shops which are all about your appearance, personality, and how genuinely interested you are in the person talking.
For in-person bank shops prepare your wardrobe as if you were to become the persona you are representing. Being cleanly shaven, hair cut or styled properly, and wearing business casual attire is half the battle. Keep two retractable ballpoint pens and folded paper in your pocket ready to record your findings in a discrete location far away from the banking embellishment shopped.
As with all mystery shops, Do Not bring anyone with you to conduct the shop unless specifically asked to do so by the company. Please read the guidelines and know when you can leave if not waited on by the banking staff.
If you are able to do so, fill in as much of the survey as possible before the shop. This will ensure you know the answers required and in what order they happen during the visit.
Many mystery shops are the same at different branches. Utilize your Mystery Shop Master files so you do not have to rethink/rewrite the narrative with each visit.
Finally Do Not create attention to yourself during any kind of mystery shop. Expect the unexpected, and never put your life in danger for a mystery shop.
Companies are very understanding if locations are closed, employees walk-off the job or you get hung up on during your call. The guidelines will usually let you know what it acceptable and if not email the scheduler directly with any questions or abnormalities.
Finally banking shops are a great way to make extra cash when they are available because there is usually no cash required upfront to do them.
James Edward Montgomery is a professional mystery shopper and company brand ambassador. With over 30 years experience in both fields he writes from practical experience and hails from the SW Virginia area.