Help with narrative

Hi Everyone,

I have done many bank shops for three or four different companies and I have an average shop rating of 10 with those companies. However, I'm a little frustrated with one company, my newest one. They keep asking me for re-do's on the narrative. I'm going to post my reported narrative, and then the editors comments below it.

I'm not sure that I know how to re-do it at this point, it's been over a week! I'm open to suggestions from seasoned vets!!

<Begin Narrative>

This is apparently a new branch building. It is very small and the parking lot reflects this. The lot is not yet striped and if it were busy, the parking situation would get tight very quickly. There was still construction debris piled in back of the building, but the front sidewalk and parking area looked clean and manicured. As I entered, I did notice that the front "porch" needed to be swept and the walk-up ATM deposit envelopes were askew and in danger of falling to the ground.

Entering the branch, I found it very busy with afternoon traffic. All of the tellers were busy, including the drive thru, so I noted the time and went and sat down. There was a customer in the Personal Banker's office, and one waiting to see her. I picked up a magazine to look at, and watched the bank operations. The customers were often greeted by name, and the tellers were friendly, polite, and efficient. The lobby was spotlessly clean, free of dust or dirt or clutter. I waited for 15 minutes, and as soon as the second customer left, Carla stepped out and with a sincere apology and greeting, invited me into her office.

She introduced herself, shaking my hand, making eye contact and I told her my name. She asked me how she could help me, and I told her I had heard or seen the promotion for the $150 bonus and asked if she would tell me about it. She told me that the offer was available until the end of September, and she told me about the conditions of the offer. She said that I would have to open a new Premier or Prestige checking account, get a debit card, and then have a qualifying direct deposit and make 5 debit card or electronic transactions.

She then told me about the history of the bank, that it was founded in 1898 in North Carolina, that it has grown to more than 400 branches in 17 states and there was even a branch in Washington DC and Los Angeles, CA. She told me that it was one of America's largest family run banks and that it was very stable and secure.

She asked for permission to ask me some questions that would help her to serve me better. I was not able to see what she was writing on. She asked me what I needed most in banking, what my banking habits were, if I used online and/or mobile banking, what my average daily balances were, if I owned a CD or IRA, and if I might be thinking of buying a home or renting.

She mentioned some of the other banking services such as insurance, savings accounts, mortgages, and the Visa credit card. She briefly touched on each one without going into detail. She used the "Find the right banking package for you" brochure,and explained the features of the Prestige and Premier checking accounts, and based on the answers to her questions, she recommended the Premier account for me. She ran down the list in the brochure, told me the requirements to avoid monthly service charges and that I would probably qualify for the Visa Credit Card. she explained the differences between the Basic and premium Overdraft protections, and added that if i had a savings account, I could avoid an overdraft fee by allowing money to be drawn from savings to cover the purchase.

She also mentioned that because I depend on online banking that I might appreciate the Debit Deals program.She explained that based on my debit card use, personalized special offers would be offered to me on a weekly basis.

Before I left, she gave me a customized folder with the banking package brochure, information on the Prestige/Premier $150 bonus, a disclosure of products and fees, a deposit account agreement booklet, a brochure about Cell Phone Protection with the Visa Credit Card, and the customer service line card (plastic) and her business card.

Before I departed, she asked for my contact information so she could follow up, which I gave her, thanked me for coming in, invited me to call if I had questions, and said she hoped I would return and open an account there. She wished me a good afternoon and I departed.

She had a positive attitude and was enthusiastic. It was plain to see that she believes in her bank and enjoys her job. By the time I left, she had me convinced that <this bank> was the best choice for me. If I were looking for a new bank, I would not hesitate to choose <this> Bank.

<end narrative>

<Begin editor comment>

Thank you for completing and returning the report! There are critical areas to clarify and the form(s) have been returned to you through our online system, please review the below questions, revise, and resubmit within 24 hours.

The client needs each YES and NO answer explained in the narrative, would you please add additional detail to the narrative to detail ALL Q's and Yes and No answers marked, especially:

-What FEATURES were pointed out to you? (what were the interest rates, terms, loan process, minimums, opening deposits, what comes with/how product works etc.) for the scenario topic you asked about and each of the various accounts/products mentioned

Thank you and have a great day.

<end comment>

If I didn't mention it, she didn't say it!!!! Help!!

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You write reports way different than I do.

Anything answered "No" in the "Yes/No" checkmarks above the narrative, need to be re-stated in the narrative.

For example, if you checked "No" to "Did the employee tell you about specific features of the checking account you are inquiring about.".... you would then re-state that in your narrative, along with the other stuff. Write about what she DID tell you, then state "The employee did not mention or go into detail about specific features of the BlahBlah checking account in which I expressed interest."

Re-stating your Yes/No answers in written format confirms that the checkmark wasn't checked accidentally, and that the employee truly did not explain the features.

Plan the work. Work the plan.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2014 06:20PM by BBird0701.
I just read over it again.

Did the employee tell you the exact amount of the overdraft fee? If so, add that to the "she explained the differences between the Basic and premium Overdraft protections, and added that if i had a savings account, I could avoid an overdraft fee by allowing money to be drawn from savings to cover the purchase. "

If she didn't, state that you were not told the Overdraft Fee amount.

Were you told the Interest Rate on the Savings Account? If so, add that. If not, add that you were not told.

And this part... "she gave me a brochure on disclosure of products and fees,".... But did she go over the fees? If so, what were the fees explained? How was it explained to avoid the fees?

Plan the work. Work the plan.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2014 06:25PM by BBird0701.
This sounds like a report for a company I like to work with. They give a sample of their narrative expectations and your comments are too generalized for their needs. Hit the specifics. 'She mentioned the $15 per month fee if I did not maintain a $1000 balance in the account or have a direct deposit each month of over $100.' 'She mentioned that the introductory ARP on the credit card balances was 12.5% for the first six months.' 'She mentioned that I would need to pay interest accrued monthly on my HELOC but that I had 15 years to pay off the principal of the loan.'
I just did a similar bank platform shop. I had to do what you will have to d;. that is, to report something like what follows.

"The banker did not discuss overdraft fees. She did (or did not) provide printed information on overdraft fees.

"The banker did not offer or explain overdraft protection or what would happen in the event of an overdraft."

And so forth for each and every item that they asked about and you had to say "no" to. At is an art that most shoppers learn and can really be done quite economically, unless the banker ALSO did things that would require extensive explanations, like completely contradicting themselves throughout the visit (as one of mine recently did) or acting out in some negative fashion.

This type of report requires that the shopper confirm in the narrative that "no" was not checked accidentally. It also discourages shop scammers from just randomly checking some/all boxes "no."

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I agree with everyone above. I think I know the MSP and they are especially interested in all the "no" answers. I asked an editor after a report had been returned for clarification and she went into a lot of detail on what they wanted to see on their reports. I've never had a problem since then. Oh, my reports are also shorter since the clarification. smiling smiley
I'm curious about something. You said the parking situation could get sticky if the bank was busy. You went on to say that inside it was busy with afternoon traffic. Was the parking situation sticky?
I do this bank also and have not yet had to do a re-do. I think you wrote a good report but as the others say you have to clarify your 'no' answers. This company also wants hard figures such as "She said the Home Equity line they offered was 3.75%" or "She told me there would be a $26 a month charge if I did not meet the basic requirements of...
Yes, Laura, parking will continue to be an issue there until they get lines painted. The lot is designed to be parked diagonally. People parking straight in don't leave enough room to get around them.

The location is on the Cherokee Reservation in NC. When the tribal dividend checks are issued, all banking hell breaks loose! Gotta see it to believe it!

I understand about the No answers, but there weren't any! The banker did everything that the client was looking for. They just want more detail than I gave. If it wasn't in the report, she didn't say it.

Anyway, being new to this, I am really enjoying the feedback and I would love to see other narratives. BBird, would you mind sharing?
We cannot post or otherwise share narratives from our shops. Once they are submitted and paid for, they become the property of the client. Sharing would be a violation of our ICA. People could share sample narratives they use for registering with companies.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I don't know the client for this one, so I can't say with 100% certainty, but.... for example, your intro.

If I were narrating this, I would have said "The parking lot was not striped with parking spaces. The parking lot is designed to be parked in diagonally, but the cars are parked straight. There is moderate/considerable construction debris in the rear of the building. The front walkway and lawn were clean and clear of debris. The front porch had a small amount of natural debris/trash (whatever was there), and the deposit envelopes located at the ATM were not neatly stored.

I would have left out the "apparently a new building" and "the ATM envelopes were in danger of falling to the ground" and "if it were to get busy, the parking space would be tight."

Just a small example. If you want to go into a full, wordy narrative, make sure you hit all of your marks first (facts, numbers, data, features) then go back and fill in with the other observations. They are looking for a report on what did happen at this location at this time. Not what may have been, before you got there (apparently a new building) or what may happen after you leave (the other two examples)

Those are good points to make, though, and if there is a space at the bottom for "What could have been improved," then those observations belong there.

Plan the work. Work the plan.
Your first sentence jumps out at me. I hope this makes sense but whenever I write a narrative for a MSC, I just answer the questions with as much (or little) detail as required. I state what happens objectively. Following this rule saved my butt in University when essay writing and applies to my work today. I have yet to have a narrative returned to me.

I would not start by saying the branch is new building apparently (or however you phased it in your first post). Mainly the word apparently. There are also more of the "I found __ afternoon traffic" instead of saying, "It was busy ____." If the target did not say/do any of the things the MSC asks for, I would write a sentence in the report that reflects that. That's really all you have to do.

Also second last paragraph is a huge run-on. Sorry to nit-pick I mean well.. I would take some time for your next report and try to apply what you've heard from everyone here. It will save you time not only writing the report but also redoing it. smiling smiley

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2014 11:56PM by dixiewhiskey.
Try to write it like you are a robot, or are writing a police report. Except, ya know, instead of "the victim," you'd write "the employee/associate." LOL....

For shops I do frequently, I create a master list in Word, for that shop. "MSC1 BigBank"... for example. I then copy the report from the report form, over into the Word document. For each narrative section, I write, in BIG RED LETTERS, points/marks to hit, to make sure are covered. "Financing" "Interest Rate" "Fees" "Overdraft Protection" "Did/did not offer complimentary savings account" etc.... This includes everything in the "Yes/No" questions prior to that narrative section, plus anything else that comes up typically.

Then, I type up my report there, instead of the MSC report form. As I am doing so, I am hitting all of my marks first, and deleting the red as I go. When I have no more red left in that section, I know that I hit all of my marks, even if only to say "The associate did not offer the complimentary savings account."... The last sentence or two, I might add something else that was said, that wasn't answered by the "Yes/No" questions prior to the narrative.

I continue doing this for each narrative until there is no more red. Then copy and paste it into the report form.

Plan the work. Work the plan.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/26/2014 12:02AM by BBird0701.
That is a good suggestion. Be careful of copying and pasting into Shopmetrics platforms. I noticed that certain MSCs who use Shopmetrics know when you've copied something from another program into their text box. Has anyone else noticed this too?

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
As long as you're not copying the same narrative and using it, you've nothing to worry about.

Plan the work. Work the plan.
No not at all. I used to type up my report separate from where I would enter it. Only on the Shopmetrics system I got called out for it. Different MSCs/different clients/single shops. The box changes colours when you paste something into it. Strange.

Silver Certified ~ Shopping all of Toronto and beyond
Isn't that their "DNAMetrics" or whatever it's called? It sends a flag to run it to make sure it's not a regurgitated report?

I think they understand that we often type our reports as we have time, and often that means when may be on the run, are not on wifi.

Plan the work. Work the plan.
Based on what the editor said to do, I think what they need is details -- rates, fees, minimum balances. Put the dollars and percentages and time periods in there. You mention how many banks they have (largely irrelevant to a new customer) but not how much the monthly account fees were, minimum balances, interest rates -- all of which are totally relevant to a new customer.

They are asking for detail on both yes and no answers, not just the No answers.

Think about what they are hoping a new customer will come away with that will cause them to want to open an account. It won't be how many banks they have in other states or how many parking spaces there are (how often does anyone actually go to a bank anyway? I can go months and months without having to step inside a bank), but how reasonable are the fees, how easy is it to avoid them, what are the interest rates and rewards program on the credit card, what are the minimum balances, maximum withdrawals, do they charge for counting cash deposits, is there a free safe deposit box.

Those are the things they want your narrative to talk about because those are the things that will or won't get them a new customer. The other things (parking lot, condition of the building, wait times, politeness of staff) are worth a mention but when it comes down to it, they want to know if the sales job was sufficient to make you want to be a customer.

Time to build a bigger bridge.
If they haven't figured out that we compose often in Word or other word processing program to save our behinds when they lose a report or their system goes down mid report, they need to get with it. Composing in Word allows a better spell checker than most sites, a reasonable grammar checker and that often critical word or character count. We would be foolish not to compose on the side, copy and paste. Flag it all you like, but copy/paste does not equal cheating.
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