IntelliShop and RateWatch Announce Partnership

New Study Finds Big Banks Exhibit Better Sales Skills than Small Institutions

Credit unions and small community banks are missing the opportunity to grab market share from major financial institutions due to lack of sales effort according to a new study released jointly by IntelliShop and RateWatch. The study, which had 120 auditors pose as new checking account prospects, found that the large banks not only did a better job of assessing customer needs, they were much more proactive about “selling” the benefits of the bank and its services.

“The lackluster performance of credit unions in particular was disappointing because the Wall Street backlash gave these alternative institutions a great opening to grow their customer base,” said Chris Denove, IntelliShop’s Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics.

The study found that account representatives at the local institutions were pleasant overall, but tend to take a more laid back approach when they answer questions and don’t take it upon themselves to bring up the bank’s benefits on their own. For example, compared to small banks and credit unions, large banks were:

  • Four times more likely to try to find out about all the other types of banking relationships prospects have at their current institution.
  • Nearly twice as likely to ask prospects if they wanted to actually sign up today.
  • Nearly twice as likely to collect a prospect’s contact information for follow up.

Smaller institutions, however, were more likely to hand prospects collateral material to take home and read, thereby requiring the customer to uncover the bank’s benefits on their own.

The study also found that in addition to placing a greater emphasis on “selling,” large banks also exhibited better “people skills” during the sales process. A few examples reported by the mystery auditors include:

  • Large banks are more likely to greet customers as they enter the bank.
  • Large banks are twice as likely to initiate conversation (small talk) unrelated to the transaction in order to build rapport with the prospect.

“The fact that the larger banks were more engaging at a personal level came as a surprise,” noted Rachelle Zorn, General Manager of RateWatch. “In the past small banks have tended to do better in terms of customer satisfaction. It will be interesting to see if the larger banks will begin carrying this high level of customer focus in their sales efforts over to their existing clients.”

IntelliShop and RateWatch recently established a partnership to provide mystery audit services for financial institutions and conducted this study to establish a performance benchmark for their clients. According to Mrs. Zorn, “We are extremely pleased about our new relationship with IntelliShop. RateWatch is in the business of providing financial institutions with timely and relevant market information that will help them better compete in a highly competitive marketplace and our relationship with IntelliShop allows us to provide our clients with additional performance insights that they need. With over 10 years of experience and extremely high customer service and quality standards, IntelliShop is recognized as a leader in the mystery shopping industry so we are confident that they will deliver the same level of service and quality that our clients have come to expect from RateWatch.”

To request a free copy of the report, or obtain more information about RateWatch and IntelliShop’s mystery audit services for financial institutions please contact Brian Davis – Business Development Associate, RateWatch at or 800.348.1831 x4294.

About RateWatch

Since 1989, RateWatch has been providing financial institutions with a variety of tools to accurately assess their position within their marketplace. Providing competitive rate and fee data for deposit and loan products, clients across the country map out their position and confidently make pricing decisions to maximize profit potential. With additional products and services to analyze market share, product line offerings, and historical trends, competitive comparisons and self-analyses are well rounded. Learn more at

About IntelliShop

IntelliShop is a national mystery shopping and customer experience measurement firm dedicated to helping clients understand and improve what happens at the moment-of-truth with their customers. IntelliShop offers mystery shopping evaluations, customer satisfaction research, analytics and consultation, and much more. With over 450,000 evaluators, IntelliShop helps companies measure and improve their customer experiences onsite, on the phone, and on the web. Learn more at

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Circle K

Matt and Josh [at Intelli-Shop] have been exceptional to work with. They are always readily available and very supportive. It’s been a great partnership!