It’s Personal: Drivers of Positive Impressions of the Branch Experience
What impresses customers positively as a result of a visit to your branch?
To answer this and other questions, Kinesis conducted research into the efficacy of the branch sales process and identified several service and sales attributes that drive purchase intent. (See the insert below of a description of the methodology).
In our observational research of 100 retail banking presentations, mystery shoppers were asked to describe what impressed them positively as a result of the visit to the branch. Excluding the branch atmosphere, the five most common themes contained in these open-ended comments were:
- Attentive to Needs/ Interest in Helping/ Personalized Service,
- Professional/ Courteous/ Not Pushy, Positive Greeting,
- Friendly Employees, and
- Rep. Product Knowledge/ Informative/ Confidence in Rep.
In an effort to understand the relative importance of these behaviors in driving purchase intent, shoppers were asked to rate their purchase intent, as a result of the presentation, as if they had been an actual customer. Shops were then grouped into those with positive and negative purchase intent and compared to each other.
Of these drivers of a positive impression, three have positive relationships to purchase intent – they tend to be present with greater frequency in shops with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent.
Reason for Positive Purchase Intent
Relative Frequency Positive to Negative Purchase Intent
|Rep. Product Knowledge/ Informative/ Confidence in Rep.||
|Attentive to Needs/ Interest in Helping/ Personalized Service||
The banker’s product knowledge was present 2.7 times more frequent in shops with positive purchase intent relative to shops with negative purchase intent. Similarly, attention to needs and personalized service was present 2.5 times more in shops with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent. Finally, shoppers were 2.3 times more likely to cite the friendliness of the bankers in shops with positive purchase intent relative to negative.
The observations contained within this research are not rocket science. What customers want, what drives purchase intent, is personal: attention to needs, interest in helping, personalized service, professional, courteous and friendly encounters.
To evaluate the state of the in-branch sales process, Kinesis mystery shopped 100 branches among five banks with significant North American footprints. Among the objectives of the study were to:
1) Define the sales process among different institutions.
2) Evaluate the effectiveness of specific sales behaviors.
Shoppers were asked a mixture of closed-ended questions to evaluate the presence or frequency of specific behaviors, and open-ended questions to gather the qualitative impressions of these behaviors on the shoppers – in short the how and why behind how the shopper felt. Finally, to provide a basis to evaluate the effectiveness of each sales behavior, shoppers were asked to rate their purchase intent as a result of the visit. This purchase intent rating was then used as a means of evaluating what behaviors tend to be present when positive purchase intent is reported as opposed to negative purchase intent.