Mystery Shopping, Leading Retail Bank

Using mystery shopping to improve satisfaction and reduce customer drop-outs


Our client commissioned a mystery shopping project to evaluate its mortgage application journey and ensure it met all legal requirements. This included capturing the information given by its mortgage advisors and evaluating the whole customer journey from start to finish.

The client had already tried and failed with another agency due to mystery shoppers not meeting the financial standards required to complete the application.



fineline implemented a comprehensive programme of mystery shops that included:

  • Recruiting and using ordinary members of the public to act as mystery shoppers
  • Ensured they passed strict criteria i.e. they had a mortgage, no history of bad debt etc
  • Shop involved two branch visits, one to express interest in making an application plus credit check, the second was an appointment with a mortgage advisor
  • Both visits were audio recorded using hidden voice recorders and sent to the client’s team to listen and evaluate
  • A satisfaction survey was undertaken after both visits
  • All communication material received was sent to the client.



The core object of the research was to ensure the application process met with all legal requirements. However, through this programme of shops, fineline was able to identify a clear breakdown in communication between the bank and potential customers during the application journey.

A breakdown that under normal circumstances would have led to half of the shoppers dropping out of the application process had it been a real-life scenario.

The client made a number of changes to the way they communicate to customers during the application process as a result of this research, which has led to a reduction in application drop-outs and increases in customer satisfaction scores during subsequent waves of mystery shopping.