Opposite Sides of the Same Coin: One Word Descriptions of the Customer Experience In Experiences with Both Positive and Negative Purchase Intent

What one word would a customer use to describe the experience at your bank?

Would your customer experience be described as professional, knowledgeable or informative, or would it be described as frustrating, disappointing, inexperienced or rushed?

One simple and elegant tool to get a picture of your customer experience is to ask customers what one word they would use to describe the customer experience.

Kinesis recently mystery shopped six major North American banks to evaluate the state of the sales and service process at these institutions and identify potential drivers of purchase intent in the customer experience. 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 what the shopper felt. Part of this research plan was to ask shopper to describe their experience with one word. Finally, to provide a basis to evaluate the effectiveness of each of these brand attributes, 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 which attributes tend to be used to describe experiences with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent.

The descriptions we received from mystery shoppers ranged from professional, knowledgeable, and informative to disappointing, frustrating and rushed. This list of adjectives alone was interesting; however, the purpose of this research was to identify drivers of purchase intent, in part to differentiate experiences with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent.

So…how did the customer experience in mystery shops that reported positive purchase intent differ from those that reported negative purchase intent? –OR- Specifically, what adjectives did shoppers use to describe the experience that created positive purchase intent compared to those that created negative purchase intent?

Shoppers who reported purchase intent used the following adjectives to describe the experience.

Adjective Pos PI

From this word cloud the drivers of positive purchase intent can be deduced.  Potential bank customers respond to bankers who are professional, informative, knowledgeable, friendly, pleasant, helpful and attentive.  What customers want is a banker who cares about their needs and has the ability to meet those needs.

Conversely, shoppers who reported negative purchase intent as a result of the customer experience used the following adjectives to describe the customer experience.

Adjective Neg PI

In comparison to the shops with positive purchase intent, the list of adjectives that describe shops with negative purchase intent is a little more nuanced.  Adjectives like frustrating and disappointing are illuminative but not necessarily actionable; while adjectives such as rushed, inexperienced, indifferent, and pushy provide clear direction with respect to elements of the customer experience that undercut purchase intent.

Bottom line: Customers want to do business with bankers who care about their needs and have the ability to satisfy those needs, and reject bankers who are inexperienced, indifferent, pushy or rush the customer through the transaction.

Two Sides of The Same Coin
Positive Purchase Intent Negative Purchase Intent

Informative/ Knowledgeable









When you look at these adjectives side by side, aren’t these opposite sides of the same coin?

Click Here For More Information About Kinesis'; Bank Mystery Shopping

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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