BLOG: The Eagles Nest


EQ Bank's repetitive TV ad of no branches, no service charges, 2.3% interest and "pants are optional" is the tip of the ice berg disintermediating the major Canadian Banks which includes a growing array of Internet options- another being Motive Financial. Concurrently banks' financial advisers are are giving their bank employers poorer grades on technology. The thread throughout is who has the emerging competitive technologies to win in the coming AI transformation era?

Stay tuned! We will have more on this in our upcoming EJournal but in the meantime those in the industry must seriously look at their channel investments' relevance in the digital lives of customers. The continued waste of money in bricks and mortar and the inability to rationalize this monument of the past will cause shock waves in the near future when radical surgery will be necessary.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, June 28, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Layoffs are all over the news these days as retailing goes through transformations to be relevant in the digital age. Banks have also started cutbacks to become more cost effective and to strategically redirect resources.

There is a key principle when going through these downsizing or refocusing strategies- "Respect the Dignity of the Individuals".

A callous, haphazard approach can destroy lives and undermine the people equity you have built up. We hear a lot of poorly crafted processes and a total lack of respect. For example leaving each department to handle their own process on their own schedule is unacceptable. Also timing needs to be synchronized throughout the organization. All executives need human resource guidance unless you are absolutely sure that they have the experience and communication skills which is unlikely.

Lives are at stake during these events and that has to be front and centre in thoughts and practice. Looking after the individuals messages and reactions professionally shows respect and a people first philosophy which you want passed on the customers and prospects.

Leaders should be asked to do a post mortem after each event and exit interviews should not be forgotten. That's where human resource professionals add dividends to the lives of those who leave and those who stay. Please don't make these business decisions into clinical head count necessities .

Pat Palmer | Friday, June 23, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Recently, I have been getting the feeling that the dreaded "c" disease is everywhere I turned among friends and family. Then the news this morning was that 1 out of 2 Canadians are going to experience cancer but there is a 60% remission/cure rate. From an employee and customer perspectives this is a real challenge to be faced in their lifetime. Therefore what can we do in our industry to help our stakeholders with this probability and the related financial and holistic impacts?

Perhaps we can start by better educating ourselves on the disease- symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and probabilities for success. Following which we can evaluate where, how and what we can contribute to peoples' lives. Terry Fox became an icon of hope globally and his legacy still attracts millions of dollars annually to further research. There are many charities that contribute to solve the challenges associated with cancer.

The one fact I know from personal experience is that early detection and a positive spirit is critical. In a majority of cases people don't feel the effects until the disease has progressed too far. Also people have to become more vocal advocates for themselves to ensure the correct detection tests are done regularly. Employees need to be motivated to undertake the necessary check-ups and tests from the CEO to the newest recruit. Our channels can provide better information and relay professional advice to encourage customers to be better informed and to invest regularly in their health and those depending on them.

The cancer challenge is a priority for all of us to ensure that we are in the 60% and not the fatal 40%

Pat Palmer | Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As I look, see and read what is going on in the Ottawa inquiry into aggressive sales tactics I am appalled! There may be only 3000 complaints from staff directly out of hundreds of thousand employees but one is too many in a proper sales culture. I was the first executive at RBC in 1985 responsible for starting the sales culture journey and we were proud of our management and staff as they gradually adopted this customer-centric culture versus trying to push commodities as in the past. So were have things gone of course?

There are a few observations one could make.

First, the sales management chain of leadership is broken in some places in these organizations. These leaders are to cultivate a customer-centric empathy and role model in everything they say and do. That is building a team set of actions that uncover unsatisfied or potential customer needs and providing solutions. Front-line staff are suppose to be trained in"lead generation". So, banks, look inside yourselves for those sales managers who are misdirected.

Secondly, perhaps the product silo mentalities have crept back into organization designs where sales targets are erroneous product-centric and competing quotes are pushed down the line right to the service representatives. These senior management people need a wake up call from the top.

Thirdly, and where I lean as the core problem, some sales managers don't know how to translate sales and financial targets into proper customer (and staff) experiences from a truly customer engagement perspective. An environment like this is like having a creeping cancer which has to be diagnosed and remedial repairs initiated. 

Underlying all of these possibilities are organizations which in some regard have lost the essence of a service and sales culture and the impact of the omni-channel world we live in today. Customers deal with multiple channels and they control the access choices which don't put branches in the dominant service and sales role any longer. All channels are an integrated set of touch points that impact the engagements and experiences customers have and organizations need to ensure that all access options are synchronized through data sharing and common team leadership.

This is not a time to be defensive in our industry! Initiate corrective measures ASAP before the cancer erode your brand equity.

Pat Palmer | Thursday, June 08, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The financial industry invests extensively in saving, borrowing, financial advice and investing offerings throughout all promotion channels and many are proactive in social media choices. Unfortunately there is a real void when it comes to debt management and counseling. On the other hand the institutions have access to big data and history related to debt tolerances and problems. These latter two resources are open to many creative minds which have the Internet as a low cost delivery mechanism,

.Consumers and businesses have various options to self manage financial scenarios and decide who will help them with managing debt and related problems. Today with aggregation software and the budding artificial intelligence resources customers' independence and control in these areas will increase which will lead to further disintermediation of traditional financial service suppliers. Concurrently debt sensitivities will become more evident so we need to be automatically in this business throughout the omnichannel experience. If we are eroded from debt management, advice and corrective actions then our products can be replaced easily and quickly.

Isn't it time to assess our big data on debt and other business elements to see the business opportunities being left open to others including self administration software and AI? Naturally collaborations will be essential to cover the core landscape with your brand and its experience combinations and permutations. Larger organizations have already started various dialogues but other sized entities have opportunities through partnership synergies. Our environment is debt heavy and solutions and warning systems are needed.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, June 04, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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