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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Business Banking Leaders: It’s Time to Start Boosting Client Engagement

By Beth Youra

This post is part of Gallup's ongoing series on the shifting landscape for financial institutions. It provides insights into channel optimization, emerging customer behaviors and preferences, product penetration and relationship growth, engaging the most critical affluent and business customers, and reshaping banks' overall value proposition.

After spending a day with business banking clients, do you walk away feeling that more of them dislike your bank than like it?

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Your instinct is probably right. According to the 2013 Gallup Business Banking study, 32% of businesses are actively disengaged (emotionally detached and actively antagonistic) with their primary bank, while just 26% of businesses are fully engaged (emotionally attached and rationally loyal). Believe it or not, your business clients have feelings, and chances are you’re hurting them.

You can inspire more of your business banking clients to be fully engaged simply by taking their feelings into consideration. These clients, just like consumers, want exceptional, personal service and to have their bank meet their product and credit needs. 

Given these findings, the two most important things business banking leaders can do to drive engagement are:

1. Maintain a relentless focus on the customer: Banks must have a methodologically solid, actionable, and credible business banking customer engagement program. Such a program has to drive and hold everyone in the business banking organization accountable to a high standard of service. This will show your customers and your employees that you take their business, and their feelings, seriously. Internal messaging related to this effort must be strong -- and it has to resonate from the top of the organization on down.

2. Break down organizational barriers that hinder engagement: Cross-functional problems can easily crop up in business banking and cause major issues with service and product delivery. Does any of this sound familiar?
  • Credit operations uses different IT systems than business banking relationship managers, and the two systems don’t talk to each other, nor do the people involved. 
  • Compensation for relationship managers is more focused on acquiring new clients than on growing current clients and maintaining good relationships with your most profitable accounts. (Oh, and by the way: Do you even know who your most profitable clients are?) 
  • Products are developed and launched with haphazard priority based on what can be put to market fastest, rather than what customers actually want. 
  • Corporate marketing has a relentless focus on increasing confidence in the bank, but front-line employees who deal with customers can’t articulate what that means and why it’s important.
Pockets of well-meaning employees have probably found ways to manage around these broken systems. Nevertheless, banks must take a high level, top-down approach to cross-functional initiatives to truly drive bank-wide customer engagement. This approach works for the good of everyone -- employees and customers.


Anonymous said...
October 3, 2013 at 10:55 AM  

Commercial banking is totally dominated by short run sales goals. Yes they input customer satisfaction as a criteria, but they key metric is always what have you sold today. The short run sales focus will always impact customer satisfaction, and lower and mid management is driven totally by revenue goals. My colleagues and I would have loved to not have to worry as much about bringing on a new client, and instead focus on deepening and improving existing clients. Unfortunately, deepening and improving existing clients takes a long time. With an average sales cycle of over 6 months, you don't have the luxury of time.

joseph levinson said...
December 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM  

Very nice information, I have a gratitude for the Gallup for this post
Joseph Levinson China

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