For Staffing Issues, The Right Questions Yield Surprising Insights
As bank executives think about ways for their business to survive and thrive, they are beginning to take a hard look at staffing – both hiring and retaining the best people for their banks.
But before they can do that, they need to be asking the right questions: What are tomorrow’s staffing needs and why? Customer service choices are growing rapidly as we apply more uses for technology to include the world of AI and robotics.
And once you’ve asked and answered those questions, do you have access to the customer data and information that will point you in the right direction? Perhaps this article will provide an approach to assist you in finding the right questions leading to the right answers for your situation.
First, a look at where we are; then perhaps rethink where you need to go.
As management guru Peter Drucker phrased it, “quality in a service or product is not what you put into it; it is what the customer gets out of it.”
Here are some of the findings from the most recent Customer Experience Solutions research in Connecticut.
The Purpose of Customer Service
Ninety percent of customers surveyed said the staff at their bank is friendly and treats them with respect. However, 29 percent said they sometimes have to ask more than one person to solve an issue and 20 percent said that staff sometimes can’t solve the issue at all. So it’s no wonder that despite 95 percent saying the staff is friendly, 11 percent said they are about to switch banks.
Personal Staff Interactions
More than a quarter of respondents said the staff is not proactive enough in suggesting solutions to meet their needs, but you need to balance that against being pushy: 11 percent say the staff at their bank is too pushy (because they don’t know what the customer needs).
For example, there’s one community bank in Fairfield County that has the balance correct: 89 percent of respondents said that bank’s staff are proactive; only 4 percent said they are pushy. And there’s one mega bank that has it exactly wrong: 52 percent of their customers said they are pushy and only 21 percent said they are proactive.
It’s little wonder that almost 30 percent of the mega bank customers are currently looking to switch banks, while less than 5 percent of the community banks’ customers say the same.
‘How Can I Help You?’
Self-directed interactions and call centers are a very important element of customer service. Over 40 percent of customers said they preferred to solve problems using the phone rather than online or by using the mobile app. A poorly performing call center can be a major driver of dissatisfaction and defection from a bank.
Connecticut banks in general do not perform well in this category. Overall, customers are more satisfied with service online and through mobile apps than the service they get over the phone – which is their preferred method of communicating with their banks.
Some banks are getting it right and increasing customer loyalty with top-notch call centers. Some are not, with one community bank achieving a very rare negative score – meaning that customers would be better off just accepting the problem than calling in to try to fix it!
There is also some variance even within the same bank: one bank had the third highest rating in one county and the single lowest rating in another.
Retail vs. Commercial
Fairfield County banks provide the highest average levels of customer service for retail customers; New London County banks provide the highest levels for commercial customers. Customer service ratings are higher for community banks as a whole, but in six of Connecticut’s eight counties, at least one of the big banks ranks in the top three. So community banks certainly do not have a monopoly on service.
Connecticut banks do better at serving retail customers than serving commercial customers, according to those customers themselves. We suggest staffing needs – the types of positions and the numbers of them – be aligned with the bank’s goals and strategies to acquire and retain customers. It helps to know as much as possible about your customers and your prospects.
In assessing your human resources and technology capabilities consider Peter Drucker’s advice about focusing on the customer. The latest tech may be exciting, and it may even be fun talking to a robot. At the end of the day, did you solve the customer’s problem per their expectations and use of their resources (time and money; physical and mental)? Follow the money by following your customers.
Originally published on The Commercial Record.