Guidance vs Advice Mystery Shop

The Challenge

who are customers

A top financial institution was interested in better delineating its product and service offerings for its different customer segments. To that end, the firm wanted to gain a holistic understanding of its competitors’ service offerings for self-directed investors. The firm contracted Corporate Insight to perform a series of mystery shops to identify the level of investment advice and guidance that competitors’ investment consultants offered self-directed prospects and clients, as well as the types of investment products available to these kinds of investors.

The Solution

We worked with our client to identify four core competitors and create a detailed list of questions that they wanted to answer. This information was used to create customer personas for the prospect mystery shops and scripts to guide the conversations. Our analysts then scheduled in-branch and phone consultations with the competitor firms, posing as both new prospects and existing customers. We conducted several mystery shops with each competitor in order to control for variance in representatives’ responses and gain an accurate understanding of their offerings. We summarized our findings in a report that included recaps of each shop, as well as comparisons between firms’ sales pitches and service offerings to self-directed investors looking for access to investment advice.

The Impact

Our research uncovered a variety of details about how competitors differentiate advisory and product offerings for self-directed investors, managed account holders and full-service clients. We identified information across several areas, including the level of guidance offered to self-directed investors, the types of investment products available, pricing-related information for advised trades and how service models differ based on asset levels. The firm used our research to reassess how it marketed its self-directed and managed account relationships.