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Service Delivery

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.

 

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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

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A visit to Chase and Umpqua branch-of-the future prototypes in San Francisco highlights two very different visions of the future of banking.

 

This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on February 21, 2014

 

Few topics in banking inspire as much commentary as branch-of-the-future concepts, since it’s now generally accepted in the industry that today’s branch model is fated to go the way of the typewriter after the word processor made its debut. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on what that future branch should look like.

 

Some clues to that format are likely contained in branch-of-the-future prototypes that some institutions are beginning to roll out. During a recent visit to San Francisco, I took the time to visit two of them operated by New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Portland, Oregon’s Umpqua Bank. Here, in the hopes of bringing the discussion back to street level from the 30,000-foot conceptual stage, are my impressions of these current efforts.

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This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on January 27, 2014. David Kerstein  is president and Ric Carey a director at Peak Performance Consulting Group

 

BY DAVID KERSTEIN AND RIC CAREY

 

Customer service programs that fuel measurable profitability improvement are those that are integrated into a bank’s overall operating rhythms.

 

Well executed service quality programs can have a significant positive impact on revenue and bank earnings. So why do so many banks believe they provide excellent customer service but still experience lackluster customer retention numbers, ho-hum net promoter scores and limited business growth?

 

The answer just might be that many customer service programs are not fully integrated within the total bank’s culture. It is often hard for financially-oriented senior managers to quantify the bottom line impact of specific service initiatives and tie them back to revenue performance. As a result, service is emphasized and is important, but remains just one item on a list of multiple priorities.

 

By contrast, at the most successful institutions, service quality permeates throughout the organization. It is not just a branch or call center program but rather a broad corporate strategy that includes a 360 degree integrated process that insures overall alignment with organizational objectives.

 

And it pays off, as can be seen by analyzing the performance of banks with a superior focus on customer service. They outperform peers in customer retention, depth of relationship and, most importantly, growth and profitability that result from deeper and more profitable relationships.

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Two very different banks appearing at BAI Retail Delivery 2013 show how marketing success depends on utilizing each institution’s competitive advantages.

 

(This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on October 25, 2013)

 

Big banks, small banks. Occasionally the differences are glossed over. Small bank leaders may overestimate their ability to replicate a large bank technology play. Large bank leaders may underestimate how impersonal the bank might look to someone accustomed to a true community bank.

 

But just as often, the differences are exaggerated, as in: It takes huge scale for a bank to afford sophisticated marketing. Or: Large banks’ customer-centricity programs are but a pale imitation of community banks’ natural customer intimacy.

 

The truth is more elusive, as will be demonstrated in a session at the upcoming BAI Retail Delivery 2013 entitled “Changing the Rules: Marketing Strategies that Grow Sales and Revenue.” In this presentation, moderated by me, two very different banks demonstrate that the ability of any institution to thrive depends entirely on what each does with its natural competitive advantages and how it shores up its disadvantages. Rockland Trust in Eastern Massachusetts has just under $6 billion in assets and 77 branches. At the far side of the size spectrum is Fifth Third Bank, the country’s 12th largest with $123 billion in assets and more than 1300 banking offices in 12 states.

 

Both institutions were bent on achieving significant improvements in sales and revenue, and among their first commitments was that of listening carefully to their customers before making product, service and price decisions. On paper, “listen to our customers” sounds the same at both institutions. But how this maxim played out had very little in common – except in stellar results for both.

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What can your bank do to optimize relationship profitability? The early days of a new relationship is when the majority of sales opportunities occur. Do you have the right sales, service and marketing strategies to capture this opportunity?

 

Research has shown that the first 90 days can make or break a new deposit relationship. In fact, about 70% of all cross-sell opportunities come in the first 90 days of a new customer relationship. So time is of the essence in identifying customer needs and cross-selling products and services.

 

Why is this case? When consumers change banks and initiate a new financial relationship, they’re doing so for a reason. It could be that they’ve just moved to a new community, or that their financial circumstances have changed, or that they’ve grown dissatisfied with their previous financial relationship and want some fresh options.

 

How does your institution handle customers immediately after an account is opened? What products do you offer these newcomers? And in what combination? Finally, who does the selling and how are you measuring the effectiveness of your initial marketing efforts?

 

Relationship growth and profitability are dependent on the following key strategies:

 

  • Product Packaging and Pricing. Our client experience demonstrates that refinements in product packaging can significantly improve account acquisition and balance growth. Product engineering is well worth the effort: 20% improvement in profitability is not unusual.

 

  • Account Sequencing. The specific products and services offered can have a tremendous impact on profitability and retention. Don’t discount sales of “sticky” services in this process. A simple example: if a low balance customer signs up for direct deposit, their average balances levels will automatically increase. It may only be a service sale, but the impact on profitability and retention is very real. Sophisticated account sequencing strategies can help your institution significantly improve balance growth.

 

  • Relationship Anchoring Strategies. Different products require different pathways to profitability. Not every customer starts their relationship with a checking account or with the same type of checking account. Our research has shown that strategies need to be adapted to the account type which initially anchors the relationship.

 

  • Problem Resolution. It’s not just the majority of sales opportunities which occur in the first 90 days, but also the majority of service problems and the majority of attrition. The causes: incorrect account setup, unmet customer expectations, etc. This is the time to have detailed programs in place to identify customers at risk so you can be sure to retain all the customers you have worked so hard to bring on-board.

 

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