BLOG: The Eagles Nest

 



Does your organization have a formal mentoring program on a selective or universal basis? Some FI's only have assigned mentors and a specific process for their most promising officers. Then there are small corporations which have a very selective approach and contract with proven external mentors.

To start, ask the question do you have people who have the skills, knowledge and desire to be effective in the role. One danger is to believe that all senior officers should be mentors without assessing their aptitudes and attitudes- wrong decision. In such a case those being mentored can be at a disadvantage with the wrong assignment. Even if there is a mentor performance measurement be careful as to what is being rated and how. Interim and post surveys are generally used as long as there is a commitment to addressing weaknesses and improper selections on either side. Don't allow poor mentors to erode your human resource assets.

In selecting candidates to receive mentoring, there is a two-sided set of benefits to be established- for the organization and for the individuals. Finding the diamonds in the rough is the goal.

Personally I enjoyed mentoring in my business and volunteer careers- real personal satisfaction during the engagement and afterwards watching the individuals succeed. In fact, having a young, intelligent and energized candidate helps the mentor to grow and tap into the motivators and emerging technologies that consume their proteges.

Ensure that mentoring is a strategic objective with associated actions and regular reviews.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, February 13, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The awesome digital capabilities just keep growing, presenting opportunities for all sizes of financial institutions to expand relationships and perhaps loyalty. On the other had some have reversed into more commodity tactics as they see that their digital distribution channels are more economical working 24/7 without the normal business boundaries. Some digital retail brands have done an excellent job of building the elusive loyalty engagements that some previously believed required personal, interactive contact.

Many FI options in our testing are weak on building digital loyalty which we measure on how strong the engagement factors are for regular, even daily, visitations. Spontaneous connections motivated by a variety of desires are happening more and more with various segments of online users who have great comfort with their control over channel choices. Ask yourself, outside of transaction necessities, do your customers and prospects connect almost automatically with you because they expect some value, planned or prompted, will be found. Merchandise retailers, such as Amazon, continue to fine tune increased loyalty once you research or buy.

In fact, expanding collaborations with your digital platform can open up new revenue and loyalty opportunities and you don't have to make a corporate acquisition to reap the benefits. Continuous online research with your digital customers will identify some of these opportunities. The setups are easy and the marketing mix reaches many more people surfing the Web. Loyalty increases your potential for increased sales and hence profitability. Some may even find having a separate digital option, like banks and insurance companies are doing today, allows them to build loyal customers with completely different value propositions- mostly emphasizing lower cost and better returns. Strategic decisions should consider all the opportunities.

Pat Palmer | Friday, February 01, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Every generation and gender provides challenges for governments, politics and business from both a customer and employee perspective. Material differences exist between, say, a baby boomer and millennial as well as women and men, and these characteristics will create exponential volatility as time progresses. For the marketer, whether  in the private or public sectors one has to have dynamic research to keep in touch let alone follow the leading edge of trends and tastes.

The young adults in Gen Z, Millennial or Gen X sub-groups are the future of our businesses and social well being. It is imperative therefor to  uncover and understand each generation's/segment's viewpoints.

For example, in politics today young adults and women are the powerful segments to mobilize, involve and elect. Their numbers, energy and influence shouldn't be under-estimated. Personally, there is a hope that this year's election in Canada will be a watershed event for these contributors. 

Likewise, for every business there is an imperative to better engage and provide the right experiences to unique segments as employees and customers- contributors on their terms with their aspirations. Many sizable organizations will not be career destinations as entrepreneurial spirits are booming plus the Internet is accelerating those opportunities.

We can not assume that our historical "gut feels" will meet the strategic challenges. Expand your feedback mechanisms, live focus groups and online panels plus expose more team leaders/management to these activities. More listening is essential!

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

RBC has another hot public relations error on their hands and it appears they are having difficulty dealing with the implications properly.

When there is a complaint or mistake there are simple rules to manage the process. First apologize and don't try to lay blame but investigate correctly and quickly. Second, if your organization is at fault, accept responsibility and don't be evasive. Thirdly, be proactive in correcting/compensating for the error. If you don't follow the discipline,beware of the risks in public relations, litigation and lost business.

The current problem appears to deal with accelerated mortgage payment options, the related documentation and representatives' explanations and verification. Obviously, there are fallout risks possible and writing ambiguous letters to customers will not help the situation but fuel more real risks.

The bank also appears to be hiding the magnitude of the errors which adds unnecessary concerns to others who are worried that they may also be victims. Be truthful, factual and protect customers' privacy. No doubt this error will have more lingering costs than if it had been handled properly in the first place.

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The holiday season always seems to bring out the best and worst in people and it the latter case more than we care to see seniors are victims. Since this segment is heavy into the Internet there are many phishing and online fraud initiatives targeted at them. Also general media promotions tempt them to solicit romance to repairs, neither one gets the desired outcome, Still there are the phone frauds from fake CRA calls to ransom threats. National and local stories regularly report incredible hardships and losses incurred both financially and emotionally. 

Our financial services industry and some local organizations have a priority to alert and protect seniors with education. information and inquiries around unusual transactions. Every FI has a senior segment so there is a universal responsibility to strengthen our proactive and reactive efforts.

First, all staff need an empathy for seniors which can start with a customized orientation program or at least everyone reviewing government information on sites such as <www.canada.ca/seniors> followed up by ongoing educational announcements in all channels including a library of alerts and phone numbers.

Second, with our big data we can target messages to the most vulnerable in certain scams and have unusual transactions trigger cautions.

Thirdly, organizations can collaborate with local groups such as the police, mental health professionals, etc to broadcast via community cable stations or online, programs for the protection of seniors. It is important to let these people know that they shouldn't be embarrassed to come forward to us or an appropriate authority. We have a responsibility! 

Pat Palmer | Thursday, January 24, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

I am a double GM vehicle owner and I have always been proud to drive my North American car and truck. But, I, like many more, are very upset by the racism displayed in their USA operations plus the lack of senior executive timely and appropriate responses. This is unacceptable and is one of the worst discrimination demonstrations in this era plus this adds to their announced plant closures and brings into question the culture that top management has created with a void of people-centric policies and programs. Surely the brand is tainted and immediate CEO intervention is required before more damage erupts.  Additionally the organization requires a culture audit and training that makes Starbucks look like kindergarten play.

I will be watching for the corrective actions to see if they can bring me back as a repeat buyer.. 

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

All Financial Institutions have a responsibility to alert customers and shareholders/members on the impending risks of increasing debt which has grown worldwide during this low interest era. The size and serviceability of debt are impacted by customers' cash flow and increasing cost variables such as interest. Additionally there maybe known and unknown contingencies which can quickly squeeze peoples' abilities to handle debt obligations. One major contingency is Governments' debt at all levels, a subject we, as an industry, need to highlight more to customers and the public.

So in most countries there are national/federal, state/provincial and municipal debts. Lets look at each one briefly in reverse order.

At this time municipalities are assess budgets going into a precarious, potential recessionary year after years of buoyant growth in property assessments and tax rates. Property assessments based on market values have skyrocketed which implicitly increases tax revenues to municipalities therefore industries such as farming have felt the additional cash flow pinch. But to see mill rate increases on top of that creates a double whammy as these governments create an over spending psychology which has to be reversed and the load on consumers and businesses softened. Obviously as we talk about the next two government levels it will be clear that transfers and grants to municipalities will have to be cut so local priority choices have to be made and costs re-examined.

If we go to the Provinces(States) we will find that debt loads have grown exponentially since the turn of the century with attractive low interest impacts. Comparatively, California has state debt loads at bankruptcy levels but on a per capita basis they are less than in Ontario! With recessionary pressures, interest rates are bound to go up on that billions of debt dollars. With those large amounts the incremental interest expenses will be in the millions which means program cuts since raising taxes would kill more jobs and hence tax revenues.

The federal level is not much better as we hear that last year the government added almost $7000 per capita to the debt. With an election coming up you can expect more spending which we can't afford as a country and individuals. If you look at debt sensitivities on governments' debt as we do on customers leverage you quickly see that consumers and businesses are entering a burdensome economic and debt phase which will negatively impact all taxpayers.

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Service surveys have been an important barometer in managing customer relationships and prospect attraction strategies for many years since that is what drives profitability. Some FI's take it seriously with a variety of tools while others pay lip service to the research and monitoring. We have always believed in multiple measurements at different frequencies through all channels and departments, even those without direct customer contact. Recently at the end of a transaction with an employee in a branch (I don't visit branches very often anymore) I was asked to give the top rating if I received a service survey request because anything less would negatively affect their performance bonus. Wow! This totally undermined my beliefs on how service research should be conducted, it's purpose and benefits. All financial retailers should want truthful feedback in order to identify areas where improvements can be made to improve and build loyalty. Hopefully objective research is more the norm than the subjective encouragements by employees.

First there has to be a corporate strategy which states the importance of customer service to the organization. Next every area of the operation needs to isolate positive actions to build the desired state and appropriate measurements for progress and remedial initiatives as well as to include a key service result area in every role.. 

Then there needs to be an objective consolidation of all external and internal research to establish a corporate profile of strengths and weaknesses in customer service. There is no witch hunt implied and one negative,isolate case doesn't represent the norm. Professional assessments are imperative on every aspects of your business by external and internal customers.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, January 20, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Happy New Year to all. 2018 saw our industry receive a few scars in Canada, USA and abroad from Wells Fargo's continuous series of blunders to RBC's tainted data mining in collaboration with Facebook.There maybe more skeletons in our closets but let's hope they are handle with professionalism and integrity in a world dominated by social media.

No doubt 2019 will also bring to light new troubling actions and behaviours which public relations management and the CEO offices will be challenged to mitigate quickly. The current recessionary vibrations could generate negative customer impacts that you have to be prepared to deal with in a timely and truthful manner. If there are key issues you can build a response strategy for do it now not after it blows up in our faces. Tactics need to include front line channel staff and all team leaders with the CEO front and centre on serious situations. Please don't blame the invisible computer, headquarters, central credit approvers or policy manual. Each FI has a brand to manage which also impacts the industry's image and public opinion.

Be prepared for all enterprise risks!

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, January 01, 2019 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

I don't know about you but I have zero tolerance for organizations that profess to have zero tolerance policies when it comes to racism and profiling and their people and culture as well as management don't demonstrate that reality.

The recent episode at the Hilton/Doubletree Hotel in Portland Oregon is another graphic example of policy and management not in sync with life on the front line. A registered hotel guest,because he was black was escorted out of the premises  after staff called the police who also didn't act in a reasonable manner in protecting an average citizen from being treated racially. There have been many other similar examples recently at Starbucks and even a bank where a man simply wanted to cash his pay cheque and the teller had the police called to remove him from the facility as he is black!  Then the companies shout out that they have zero tolerance when it comes to racism in their operations and cultures or they shut down their business for a day to conduct diversity training- total BS! Training should already have been done and regularly reinforced from the time a policy was enacted. You don't get public relation points for doing what should have been completed all along. Top management has a responsibility to ensure that diversity training is entrenched in the culture.

Financial institutions have tried to ensure that hiring practices recognize the diversity of the market place but have they actually ensured that interpersonal relations are respectful and represent how people are to be treated as employees and/or customers? Since the Starbucks event I won't enter their facilities and now I will give up my Hilton Honours Club membership after many loyal decades. I have zero tolerance for any organization that doesn't practices what they preach. Take the time to ensure that racism of any degree is not allowed to arise under your watch.

Pat Palmer | Saturday, December 29, 2018 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

 


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