Mystery Shopping, Market Research Can Help Protect Consumers of Financial Products
October 03, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business NewsProtecting Main Street is a must read for anyone interested in detecting and preventing abusive practices and discrimination in the financial services industry. The book exposes imperfections in the marketplace and a critical fallacy pervading customer monitoring methods, that satisfied customers are fairly treated customers.
Unlike other books which focus solely on the business or profit aspects of measuring the customer experience, this book focuses on the benefits to the consumer as well as the company or financial institution. The book describes how business and government can undertake market research to determine whether the credit and investment markets are functioning properly and providing consumers with adequate information to make sound credit and investment decisions. A discussion of the abilities of different research and self testing methods to uncover problems in the credit and investment markets is provided.
Findings and trends from publicly available studies measuring the customer experience in the credit and investment markets during the 1991 - 2009 time periods are provided. Changes in regulator focus on fair lending along with regulatory guidelines and consumer protection laws are discussed. The methodologies used to measure and detect the discrimination and unfair treatment and monitor the customer experience and sales practices in the financial services market place are described in detail.
The techniques of mystery shopping, matched pair testing, sandwich testing, triad testing and monadic testing and consumer surveys are described. A detailed discussion of study design, data collection methods, action standards, sample size determination, statistical testing, reporting and analysis provides the reader with the tools needed to detect discrimination and monitor fair treatment in financial services. Sample questionnaire topics, mystery shop scenarios and profiles and sample analyses and charts are provided.
"Protecting Main Street is an important book. Paul Lubin draws on his extraordinary depth of experience to show how measuring and auditing the consumer experience can point the way towards a financial services industry in which consumers are treated fairly and get the information they need to make more informed financial decisions. This is a compelling, practical book that should be must reading for those who want to better serve and protect consumers of financial products and services."
Eric Belsky Executive Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
"Paul Lubin's book provides clear, concise and historical insight into the value of testing the consumer experience with financial products. Having worked with Paul in conducting customer satisfaction testing, mystery shopping, and surveys, I can attest to its importance in making certain that financial institutions do the right thing by their customers. A must read for anyone working in risk management or responsible for customer satisfaction within their organizations."
Marc Loewenthal Senior Vice President - Chief Security/Privacy Officer for LPL Financial
"Paul Lubin introduces a new, broader and refreshing perspective of self-testing in this book. The view that self-testing not only benefits the financial institution but also the consumer by encouraging the institution to provide high quality products and services is novel. Furthermore, I believe Paul is right. The market place does not always allow for the free flow of accurate and understandable information on which consumers and institutions can make optimal financial decisions especially with respect to the increasingly complex financial products of today. Self-testing is a mechanism to correct this market imperfection. This book is a must read for anyone interested in preventing unfair and unsound business practices as well as beginning and experienced users of self-testing."
Arthur R. Preiss President Preiss&Associates, LLC
"In these turbulent and complex financial times, this much-needed exposition on the role and responsibility of providers of financial services in ensuring positive customer experiences is outstanding. I like that Lubin deals with sound business practices for lenders while simultaneously emphasizing fair and equitable treatment of customers. Lubin exposes a key fallacy — assuming that a satisfied customer is a fairly-treated customer — that should be a major take-away for many businesses. His delineation of mystery shopping, matched pair testing, consumer surveys, etc., provides a solid foundation for ensuring fair and reasonable treatment of customers by lenders and sound financial decisions by consumers. Ultimately, this work should have a positive impact on government policy to benefit both firms and customers."
Jerome D. Williams
Prudential Professor of Urban Entrepreneurship and Research Director of The Center for Urban
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick
"The revelations in this book are critical to protect the customer experience and to repair public sentiment and confidence in the financial service markets. As we negotiate critical reparations of the financial service markets, Lubin's treatise prescribes actionable steps to manage systemic risks, protect the customer experience, and restore public sentiment. The research techniques advocated in Protecting Main Street: Measuring the Customer Experience in Financial Services for Business and Public Policy are aggressive, proactive approaches to eradicate unfair and discriminatory practices from the financial service markets."
Sterling A. Bone, Ph.D., Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University