It seems obvious enough that excellent customer service is something every bank, or any public-facing business for that matter, should strive for. With so many options for customers to choose from, customer service is the "x-factor" that banks need to stand out from the crowd. To the average person, banks all look the same from the outside, but it's what's on the inside that will keep them coming back for more.
Our experience tells us that no matter how bad banking executives want a customer-centric culture, they usually do not have the time or the resources to make it happen on their own. For example, one of our previous banking clients had more than 1,000 branch locations that were suffering from a variety of issues related to inefficient work habits and practices. While the executive team had the best intentions in mind, they had no idea where to even begin a project of this size and scope.
It is amazing how candid employees can be by simply valuing their input. This was a good starting point, as the client allowed us to survey their employees about their jobs. The results were quite telling:
- 88% did not associate customer service with increased revenues
- 88% thought they needed additional training
- 67% said they would resign if offered a job with equal pay
Further analysis revealed the root cause for these responses was a widespread lack of active management (administrative tasks and constant "fire fighting" consumed most of management's time). Once processes and behaviors were aligned, the bank saw a 15% improvement in overall branch productivity, as well as a 35% reduction in customer queue times.
The large network of branch locations was indeed a daunting challenge, but in the end it was the right approach that opened the door to a world of new opportunities for our client.
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