banking | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Change on the Fly - 5/30/23


Situational service requires some advanced engagement skills.  It involves seeing each situation independent of any others, reading the moment, and changing on the fly to create the best possible customer experience and outcomes.  So, what are some keys to situational service?  Keep these guiding principles in mind: Start Open-minded: When Read more

Try an Empathy Exercise - 5/23/23


We often note that empathy is the most important quality to have in order to be great at customer service.  Empathy enables you to view people uniquely.  It helps the customer not to feel like just a number.  And the more we can view people as individuals, the better Read more

Time is of the Essence - 5/16/23


Time is precious.  There’s no time like the present.  Your time is valuable.  Timing is everything.  Children spell “love,” T-I-M-E. There are many great quotes that reference time.  And part of the reason is that time can be considered somewhat finite; at least within the day, it’s a limited resource.  Read more

Perpetuate Positivity with the Customer - 5/9/23


We’ve written many Tips on how to deal with various negative customer emotions.  Those emotions could reflect anger, fear of the unknown, upset, anxiety, or nervousness.  But instead of talking today about how to deal with their negative emotions, let’s talk about how to engender some positive emotions. We want Read more

Are You in a Position? - 5/2/23


Last week’s Tip compared Perspectives and Positions, and we noted that when people have a perspective on a given topic or issue, that’s often useful.  However, when people are more focused on their position, things can get testy. One topic we didn’t fully address last week was the definition of Read more

De-escalating Conflict in Customer Service - 4/25/23


Conflict can be very healthy and productive.  You and your customer are taking different perspectives, but if you have the same goal and you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, the different perspectives may lead to an interesting approach or a mutually-beneficial solution. If the decision was up to Read more

Why a Home Run Swing Whiffs - 4/18/23


ACME Tree Service showed up at Nancy’s house to provide an estimate for trimming some trees.  The sales consultant looked at the trees and their proximity to the house, and he quickly wrote up a bid.  Heavy trimming on 9 trees.  Heavy price tag.  It was a quick conversation Read more

Communicate Crisply - 4/11/23


I try to make these tips around 300 words, but oftentimes I’m North of 400.  I work hard to pare down the words because I don’t want one or two core points being lost in a barrage of verbosity. Phrases like lost in a barrage of verbosity are the things Read more

Improve Co-worker Rapport to Improve the Customer Experience - 4/4/23


The movers were packing up the house.  It was a stressful time for Janine.  She was having to move her aging parents to a new city in a new State to help care for them.  The parents were leaving behind friends and a community where they’d lived for most Read more

G.A.B. – The Survey Guiding Principles - 3/28/23


You’re excited!  The company has okayed your conducting a survey, and you immediately think of a half dozen questions you want to ask every customer.  You document your questions, get input from others, and all of a sudden you have a Word document with 36 questions instead of 6.  Read more

In Customer Service, Don’t Mess with the King

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Now that title could mean anything. By “King,” do we mean Elvis? How about LeBron James? Er…no.

Do we mean an actual King?! Close…he’s a Sir, not a King.

In the article King calls for bank culture change, Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King stated that Britain’s banks “need a real change in culture.” He made that statement because of “excessive levels of compensation, shoddy treatment of customers and a deceitful manipulation of one of the most important rates.”

Well, these might be byproducts of the banking culture in Britain, but the question to ask whenever anyone suggests a need for a culture change is “What is the root cause of the problem?” Once you get to the root cause, you can start to determine what aspects of the culture need to be addressed.

Whether it’s a British bank or a City government, whether it’s a community hospital or a small plastics manufacturer, there are several areas to investigate for root causes when wanting to change a culture:

  • What are the organization’s mission/vision/goals? These help to determine the culture.
  • What behaviors does leadership model to staff? This impacts employee behavior.
  • How is the organization structured? This impacts decision-making and workflow.
  • How well do processes align to organizational goals? This creates the reality of whether the company can move toward its goals.
  • What incentives and points of accountability exist? This also drives employee behavior.
  • How (and who) does the organization hire, retain, fire? This creates the human fabric of the culture.
  • How does the company communicate internally and externally? This reinforces (or contradicts and confuses) what the organization is all about.

The next time you have an issue with a company’s culture, run through this checklist to begin identifying the true root causes of the problems.

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Banking on Deposits Requires More Than Acquisitions

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

Many small banks are trying to increase their core deposits, relying less on fees to generate revenue. And while this is a good thing for many banks, there needs to be a retention component to the core deposit growth strategy.

In the article Small Charlotte-area banks get creative in boosting core deposits, Adam O’Daniel makes the point that small banks in the Carolinas are attempting to increase core deposits (i.e., local deposits) to help fund growth because of their stable nature; remember that cash that comes in from loans or short-term investments creates more variability, uncertainty, and risks for banks than cash from core deposits.

The way many of these banks are growing core deposits is through acquisition. The concept is that if the small banks buy even smaller banks in small towns, the acquirer would have that stable cash flow for a long period of time to fund other activities. Without getting too much into the minutia, here’s the key customer retention-related point – just as banks have acquisition strategies to buy other banks, they need culture-oriented strategies and client retention and growth strategies which address the employees and customers they acquire.

Internally, these banks need to be looking at how they retain the small town staff that have formed the relationships with the customers – because the customer relationship and loyalty may be more with “my Teller, Betty” than with “Bank XYZ.” The banks need to ensure that executives are incented for retention just as much as profits, since the acquisition assumed that the core deposits would be retained. And the banks need to have processes in place to quickly analyze and get to know their new customers, build relationships with them, and proactively seek to grow those relationships once retention is solid.

When trying to grow through acquisition, make sure you’re not going to lose the good employees and solid clients you acquire. Understand what drives loyalty at the local level.

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Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/