A small change in bank representatives’ behavior can yield big improvements in the impression they leave.

Tellers routinely greet their customers by name as they enter the branch, yet many banks fail to train their platform representatives to use this simple technique during the first visit to help establish rapport and make a potential client feel important.

In thousands of mystery shops conducted by Person to Person Quality, evaluators whose names were used during their initial visit to the branch consistently rated their likelihood to recommend the bank to a friend or family member higher than evaluators whose names were never used.

In our review of 3,947 mystery shops conducted at five community banks based in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Person to Person Quality considered two questions: “Were you addressed by name at any point during your interaction?” and “How likely would you be to recommend this bank, based on your interaction?” The average of recommendation ratings for evaluators who answered “Yes” to the first question was 4.58, compared with 3.51 for evaluators whose names were not used during the interaction.

Training staff to make this simple change takes some time, but with consistent practice and monitoring, the banks that made increasing name use a priority were able to improve their average ratings. For two banks (Bank A’s blue line and Bank C’s red line on the chart below) whose staff had not been trained to use the customer’s name, the improvements took about a year. Those banks had both the lowest recommendation ratings and the least frequent use of the customer’s name. Within a year of running the mystery shopping program, performance and ratings improved. Similarly, Bank E, which emphasized name use from the onset of its program, was able to achieve almost perfect performance for this behavior.

Using customer names

A well designed mystery shopping program monitors both the client’s own practices and industry-standard “best practices.” With 10 years of experience and thousands of completed evaluations, Person to Person Quality can offer fresh insights on customer service performance based on a trove of data about what works. Using the customer’s name often occurs simultaneously with other behaviors customers appreciate. The result can be a more satisfying interaction between representatives and their potential new clients.


About the Author

Julie Strasberg

Julie Strasberg is a Senior Analyst for the Person to Person Quality division of ADI Consulting. For more information about Person to Person Quality and ADI Consulting, contact Mike Mitchell, President, at 703-535-3983 or mmitchell@adiconsulting.com or 703.665.3707.