Selling Congruence Infographic

Successful banks recognize that “the customer” isn’t just an external entity. Capturing untapped opportunities requires a collaborative culture that focuses on creating value for internal customers who, together, share the common goal of creating value for external customers.

Part 2 in a blog series; Read Part 1 here

Under-met client needs are one of the greatest fears and frustrations every senior bank and credit union leader has, especially now, with other banks’ products and services only a click or two away from the customer. For the more profitable client relationships, bankers are lining up at the client’s door, hoping to uncover a competitor’s miss-steps and capture their lost opportunity.

To avoid falling into this trap, and to capture and retain the most profitable customers, leaders across the bank or credit union must be on the same page about how their teams work together to fully meet customer needs.

Old Habits Die Hard: From Silos to a Collaborative Customer Focus

Past habits and behaviors may be slow to change as the “muscle memory” of a highly siloed bank structure often persists. Strong internal communication between lines of business, including risk, credit and operations, is key—and it all starts with keeping the customer as a central focus.

Successful banks recognize that “the customer” isn’t just an external entity. Capturing untapped opportunities requires a collaborative culture that focuses on creating value for internal customers who, together, share the common goal of creating value for external customers.

In the consumer world, this is becoming particularly critical for attracting and keeping affluent customers. While the overall use of technology to handle banking needs has risen dramatically in recent years, affluent customers tend to insist on premium service and tailored, expert advice. They want personal banking relationships, not just the convenience of digital channels.

As a business grows and matures, business owners and leaders also need bankers to help them address their personal and business investments needs—and they want these transitions to be simple and easy to manage. Relationship managers who have a laser focus on meeting customer needs and are committed to supporting a bank partnership that extends beyond what they personally might provide will actually deepen their personal relationships with their clients.

There are a few key strategies banks can focus on to immediately start capturing more of these and other untapped opportunities.

Enhance Relationship-Building at the Front Line

How effective are your relationship managers at effectively delivering value to their clients? Skills are important, but a person’s mindset often has a greater impact on their performance and their approach to the customer experience. The following questions will help you pinpoint where your relationship managers are now and where they need to be in order to create more customer value:

  1. What is their view of their role? Being a relationship manager means more than answering questions and offering product information; it means developing deep partnerships and delivering value in support of their clients’ short- and long-term needs.
  2. What is their confidence in their abilities? By developing the attitudes, skills and behaviors to create value for clients, relationship managers will have both increased confidence and willingness to ask the meaningful questions that will uncover their clients’ deeper needs.
  3. Do they believe in the bank’s values, reflecting them in their own attitudes and behavior with a genuine desire to build trusted client partnerships? Clients know when their best interests are at the core of the relationship, and they can also detect when relationship managers are not being authentic.
  4. Are they committed to the right activities? For a bank that wants to build a differentiating customer experience, this means committing to the activities that generate greater client value and fulfill their emotional needs, not just their rational ones.
  5. Do they believe in the bank’s brand, products and services? A passion and excitement about all of the banks solutions is critical to being able to address a customer’s holistic needs over the long term.

Make Learning Meaningful and Actionable

For learning and development to deliver lasting business results, it has to provide relationship managers across all lines of business with practical, relevant tools and include a reinforcement structure that ensures new behaviors are formed, continually developed and applied. Ultimately, all learning is emotional, and knowledge becomes more actionable when it is personally meaningful. For this reason, the most effective development approach is one that helps participants self-actualize with “a-ha” moments that open their hearts and minds.

Here’s what a world-class performance strategy includes:

  • Building Shared Purpose: Balance attending to client needs with supporting fellow employee and company goals/objectives as part of everyone’s focus across the bank.
  • Supporting Mindset Shift: Expand belief boundaries that could be inhibiting success.
  • Embedding Action Learning: Connect knowing with doing reinforced over several weeks to build new habits and increase both competence and confidence.
  • Setting Next Level Goals: Provide new challenges that are achievable and measurable.

When relationship managers across the bank live and breathe the customer value creation objective, your bank will discover a wealth of untapped opportunity—and new paths to greater profitability.

Read Part 3 in this blog series here.

About the Author
Donna Horrigan
Donna Horrigan

Vice President of Client Development

For the past five years Donna Horrigan has been partnering with our clients to drive business outcomes through performance improvement...
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