BLOG: The Eagles Nest


Governments and the media have their microscopes on banks' sales processes which at best are based on a poor understanding of the benefits to the customers, organizations, employees and economic activity,

First, a balanced sales process depends on professionally trained and tracked sales managers who have a customer-centric vision and empathy as well as knowing and practicing the critical steps in selling plus managing and motivating the correct culture. This applies to all companies regardless of the industry and geographic locations.

Second, staff who engage customers in any aspect of selling need to appreciate the value of proactively solving problems and needs of clients and prospects. This has nothing to do with pushing products or services which are the flavour of the day and not customer focused. Selling begins with uncovering needs through lead questions, listening and asking for testimonials. A professional organization has lead questions developed and uses proprietary data to identify possibilities.

Staff who develop leads do not necessarily close sales but provide warm hand-offs to associates that can tailor experiences to individuals.

Thirdly, everyone should contribute to positive customer engagements and experiences which develop more satisfied customers using more products and services hence improving the companies' profitability- win-win situation, in which everyone shares. Yes incentives help motivate and reward staff but they are not trained to focus on these gains but on customer needs. Employees who can't feel comfortable contributing to a sales process should not continue in their current roles but either be assigned to a different set of duties or offered some personalized retraining with proper education on a customer first culture and related benefits for all concerned.

Pat Palmer | Sunday, August 27, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finally CIBC has stopped being simply the backbone operating resource for PC Financial and is taking over the large, profitable customer base and renaming it Simplii, a white branded subsidiary that currently caters to many segments, Now there is a competitor to BNS' Tangarine which has done very well since the base was purchased from ING Direct. WESI has promoted this strategy to many banks and credit unions globally and the possibilities are enormous. Of course, the best approach is to search out an appropriate existing base to have a jump-start. Naturally, everyone doesn't have a large acquisition reserve so even starting with a solid game plan and energized channel resources could be built into a successful alternative brand in the marketplace to compete differently from the sponsoring franchise.

Many leaders have a difficult time spreading their resources too thin to take on such a start-up so collaboration with fintechs and/or non financial retail brands could provided the needed footings and foundation. In some cases coopetition may also be an acceptable strategy.

More initiatives of this nature are needed in the  industry to break-out of traditional complacency and spectator roles! 

Pat Palmer | Sunday, August 20, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Our industry reads and researches what appears to be comparable business variables in other countries such as the USA, Australia, the UK, etc. We get asked regularly about what is happening elsewhere about aspects like branch modernizations, customer preferences, channel utilizations, and even job descriptions. Unfortunately, as we caution, customer  behaviours and historical institutional affinities have not evolved in identical manners due to different market characteristics, rules and regulations, protectionism, environmental constraints and cultural problems. Consequently, some clinical comparisons can be misleading in the current omnichannel environment controlled by customer choices. Canadians (eh),Americans, Aussies, Brits and others have complex characteristics which have been shaped by separate dynamics. If one enters another country away from their home base, success factors vary and local realities/perceptions can't be readily exported to new geographic environments without significant risks. The only true way to isolate the key variables is through localized customer-centric research,strategies and decision-making. When trends from elsewhere are studied properly to identify business differences and similarities plus local customer catalysts, then insights can be drawn to stimulate educated assessments. The realities may not synchronize with superficial readings and reports. 

Pat Palmer | Friday, August 18, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Do you keep score? What transactions go through which channels in what volumes and how many are interchangeable applications? For example what service transactions are handled in branches and what percentage could be accommodated on ATM's, on-line or contact centres? Generally, far less than 10% are processed in bricks and mortar and the vast majority of those can be switched to other initiation points especially the banking machines on premises or off. 

Next assess sales and advice interactions on a similar matrix of use and possibilities. Additionally determine where, on what choices, these engagements can't be satisfied completely and why. Where you have organizational constraints, research the causes and potential corrective solutions. These discoveries will obviously improve your competitiveness if they are implemented.

Concurrently, given the present state of your channel capabilities, undertake a segmented consumer channel preference, primary research project to define reasons for preferred choices today and five years into the future. If the organization has reliable costing data, cross-reference preferences and profit-abilities. A customer-centric analyses of comprehensive information will truly help deliver more value to customers and shareholders. Contact us if you need assistance in performing these exercises and evaluations.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Reshaping branch and business centre strategies is a current challenge of all FI's wanting to optimize a visible presence. Sure branches are being modernized with universal employees, and less of them, while business relationships are being consolidated geographically. Perhaps the trends are valid for urban centres but there needs to be more customization when it comes to rural communities. Everywhere we turn in the country or "bush" areas local representation by management or a designate is weak if non-existent  Historically, a management officer in communities had the responsibility to be involved and conspicuous. Today most retail units lack that commitment and rightly or wrongly give the impression they only react to in-house requests and any small business/entrepreneurs are referred elsewhere. Actually many staff members commute from others communities. Us ruralites understand that, so the branches are only considered service places and we drive a few kms to access decision makers or those who have access to the required platforms in business and wealth management. Consequently, FI presences in general only wave the flag and are probably destined for closure in the immediate future based on their minimal strategic and operational considerations. Credit unions are hoping to capitalize on these rural voids but with what? Rural banking is different and profitable in totality but if business is continuously siphoned off to other locations without a picture of the locality's value and potential, management won't have a correct picture of the communities' contributions. Before it is too late, step back and build more empathetic coverage models for distinct dynamics of rural, suburban and urban and publicize your customer-centric approaches.

Pat Palmer | Thursday, August 10, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Those who are seniors, like some of us at WESI, remember the famous spokesperson for the Royal Bank. Mary, who was on the radio and TV regularly decades ago.Now the digital world has arrived and we have digital characters including Siri at RBC who will pay your bills on voice commands. Actually, voice activation will be of great assistance for those who have physical challenges and those who find a key board, mouse, ATM or staff difficult to deal with for various activities. Hopefully these initiatives will extend to small businesses who need more attention from FI's which are continuously under serving the job creators of today. I wonder what character with be the digital account manager for commercial clients, next? 

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, August 09, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Every FI wants to grow revenue continuously and sustain it, Some simply take the attitude to raise current fees or invent new ones on standard processes risking customer dissatisfaction. The reactions by customers are to start shopping around more and slowly drain business away to other suppliers. Wouldn't it be more simple to first focus on adding more customers and expand service utilizations then investigate what totally new services  and products that you can offer? In the latter case, where do you start? Ask your customers and prospects through properly designed preference research and search for partners where you can reciprocate on selling each others' products. One of your strengths is your customer base plus your distribution channels. You have the opportunity to increase revenues by expanding the service propositions you offer which not only increase income but also customer engagements which help in motivating them to refer others to your growing experiences. This is positive growth on a win-win cycle that becomes a truly value driven gearing ratio to success and positive vibes.

Pat Palmer | Monday, August 07, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Our Executive Leader is always alert to outstanding service examples- good, great, bad and ugly. Unfortunately, the scores are generally more negative then positive recently as if customer service is not the priority it should be. The basics are simple in a customer-first culture- smile, recognize and satisfy. Every once in a while we see a very special experience which sets you back and creates a real engagement, Our Executive Leader went to an eye glass retailer to get a new prescription filled where she had done so over two years prior. On entering the store the first person she saw was a young woman serving a customer who looked up, smiled and said, "Good morning, Mrs Johnston."; then carried on with her customer as another sales person arrived to look after Mrs Johnston, who stood there in total amazement. The service person who greeted her was the person who sold her the last pair of glasses in 2015. Now you do expect staff to remember and recognize customers that frequent your institution but this example showed an extraordinary behaviour which will get extensive promotional value for the employer and the business.

Pat Palmer | Monday, August 07, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Every so often, it is ok to be a little subjective in our advisory world! has released the results of its online survey based on 600,000 employee reviews of their employers over the past 2 years. Ranking categories include work-life balance,pay and benefits, job security, advancement, management and culture.

RBC Royal Bank of Canada turned out to be the best company to work for! In fact 5 of the top 10 spots went to financial institutions.

Having worked therein the past for four decades, I am pleased that the culture and relationships as still among the best. Congratulations to David and the whole team.

Pat Palmer | Wednesday, August 02, 2017 | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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