"Strategic insight combined with clear, concise and actionable solutions"

Service Delivery

BY: DAVID KERSTEIN, Peak Performance Consulting Group, and DAN MERCURIO, Cambridge Savings Bank.  This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies.

 

Compelling digital offerings aren’t just a consumer expectation anymore. They are a necessity to stay competitive.

 

 

 

But many financial institutions, especially smaller ones, are stuck in a holding pattern—with too many confusing options and choices to grasp a clear sense of how to move forward. What’s the best way to harness new digital technology to deliver the desired results? How should you select the right partner? What key strategies lead to successful implementation?

 

 

If there remains any question that the FinTech revolution is disrupting the banking ecosystem, just ask Millennials: 73 percent believe innovation will come from outside the industry and 33 percent believe they won’t need a bank at all to serve their financial needs.

 

With the current technology sprint, it’s often hard to make sense of it all. (The iPhone, after all, is only 10 years old.) Today, FinTech startups don’t compete with banks head-on but focus instead on specific services historically integrated within the bank’s core offerings. It can feel like death by a thousand cuts.

 

Let’s step back a moment and consider this from the customer’s perspective. Leading FinTechs are competitive because they focus on products and segments banks don’t serve well, such as micro-business lending, unsecured lending and roboadvisory. FinTechs also show particular skill at creating a frictionless, intuitive customer experience.  Many offer faster payment processing. Others provide simplified, instant business loan processing by connecting directly to information sources for verification, instead of relying on customers to gather and provide paperwork.

 

 

In our view, partnering with innovative FinTechs instead of trying to develop solutions in-house is a no-brainer.  Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, described it well: “(FinTech partnerships) offer the kind of stuff we don’t want to do or can’t do, but there’s someone else who can do it.”

 

So what should smaller financial institutions do?

Continue reading

Share

For years, community banks have tried, with varying degrees of success, to boost fee income through wealth management. Now, thanks to the robo-advisory trend, smaller banks can compete more effectively, even with larger, more established players according to a new article in ICBA’s Independent Banker Magazine,  Say Hello to Your New Employee.

 

The article highlights the experience of Cambridge Savings Bank and quotes David Kerstein, president of Peak Performance Consulting Group.

 

“A robo-advisor allows banks to have the potential for greater control over their services, and it allows them the opportunity to be able to service more of their customers and to manage it under their brand,” according to Kerstein.

 

“Conventional wisdom would say that robo-advisors would be more important to younger, more digitally savvy customers, but that’s not necessarily the case. For Cambridge Savings, the Connect Invest platform has gained widespread interest; its average user is 47-48 years old. ‘It’s not just millennials.’ says Kerstein, a consultant to the bank.”

Share

For years the industry’s eyes were on Wells Fargo as a cross-selling winner. That reputation went down in flames with last year’s sales scandal. But banking’s eyes continue to scan Wells, which recently introduced a revamped performance management and rewards program that the bank’s leadership described as a beginning, subject to revision based on ongoing experience.

 

“The devil is in the details,” and the potential improvement lies in careful monitoring were points of agreement among experts interviewed by Banking Exchange  who looked at the summary released by the bank earlier in January.

 

“It’s a very positive step,” says David Kerstein, president of Peak Performance Consulting Group. “I’m pleasantly surprised that they have taken such aggressive steps. I think this is the right way to go for the industry, not just for Wells Fargo.”

 

He says it would be essential to use such tools as mystery shopping to have an independent view of how well the program works where customer meets banker.

 

“You have to be sure that you are building customer relationships and doing the right thing,” says Kerstein. “Wells had lost sight of the overall customer,” he adds, in its earlier emphasis on cross-selling. If the bank can make the team dynamic work and produce the longer-term results it hopes for, that will be a very positive development, he says.

 

Further, if employees can truly work as a team, and the incentives pay off in that context, “turnover may be reduced,” Kerstein adds.

Share

As consumers and small businesses shift to alternative channels, it is critical that financial institutions improve the operational and sales efficiency of the brick and mortar channel. That means fine tuning every point of contact to optimize effectiveness.

 

Financial institutions of all sizes are facing challenges to their retail branch system. j0177737Technological innovation, starting with the introduction of ATMs, then internet banking, and most recently mobile banking, has resulted in declining branch usage. Consumers and businesses don’t need to go to the bank as frequently as they did in the past now that routine monetary and service transactions can be easily handled on a personal computer or smartphone.

 

Consumers want branches, but declining usage is reducing sales opportunities and revenue growth. As routine servicing and monetary transactions continue to migrate out of the retail branch, the fundamental nature of bank branches must undergo a dramatic transformation.

 

The bottom line is that, with fewer teller transactions, branches must become more efficient as sales and marketing centers. This can be achieved through greater micro-market targeting of marketing messages in order to maximize the sales opportunity from limited branch traffic and to optimize trade area sales penetration.

 

Up to now, many financial institutions have employed a one-size-fits-all strategy. Branches are often similar in size and style with limited differentiation. More importantly, marketing strategies are frequently implemented uniformly across the network with limited variation of messaging based on unique branch or trade area characteristics.

Improve Revenue with Targeted Strategies

 

Continue reading

Share

PNC has been piloting the Universal Banker concept at 45 of its mid-Atlantic branches, and recently announced that it is moving to full rollout, with 300 branches being converted in 2014 — the first step in planned conversion of two thirds of its more than 2,700 banking locations during the next five years.

 

Banks can achieve significant benefits from implementing Universal Bankers including higher sales, lower costs, and improved customer satisfaction. But implementation requires more than just a recruiting and training program, but an overall strategy around facilities, technology, marketing, sales management, measurement, rewards, and recognition.
Ric Carey, who has had extensive experience implementing and managing Universal Associate programs, explains in this short webinar.

 

Share

A reprise of a guest post by Peak Performance affiliate Sandra (“Sam”) Black, an expert on call centers and telemarketing.

 

Your call center receives hundreds, perhaps thousands, of calls each day. Buwoman with phone headseatt how many of those calls are converted into sales? Most incoming calls are service questions or simple product inquiries (What are your rates today?). Sales conversion rates for 1st call inquiries range from only 1% to industry leading 40%. What differentiates industry leaders? While some differences can be attributed to the cost and complexity of different products, the key variable is the skill of the inbound representative.

 

Why is so much business left on the table during the inbound call? Some organizations staff their inbound centers with order takers who do not have the skills to convert inquiries into  appointments. That is an area that will have to change as organizations recognize that each and every inquiry, whether phone or email has the potential for conversion!

 

Those steps include technology, employee skill set, sales tools, and sales process. Here’s a short checklist: Continue reading

Share

Follow us on...

Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook  

Archives