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Baking a CEM Cake-the Key Ingredients

March 8, 2010 (comments: 0)

Developing and executing a strategy for delivering memorable customer experiences is a lot like baking a cake. To bake a really tasty cake you need basic ingredients like eggs, milk and flour, but you must also add special ingredients; the ones that give the cake its character and a unique flavor. Likewise, to create a really memorable customer experience you need to provide all the appropriate information in a timely and professional manner, then go further to make your service stand out. 

And just as it is true in baking a cake, how you mix the ingredients makes all the difference when providing customer care. Imagine if you simply put all of the ingredients in a cake pan and then placed it in the oven without blending them, or even worse, imagine putting all of the ingredients in a bowl and serving them without blending OR baking! 

So how do you make every customer experience memorable? For starters, you must always deliver the basic ingredients like "knowing your customer." All customer information from all sources within your organization has to be available at each and every interaction, whether that is servicing an existing account or advising the customer about a new product. 

Another key ingredient is personalizing each interaction-no cookie cutter product pitches. Using knowledge about your customer to make product offers that are meaningful is fundamental to cultivating a personal relationship.  

Your team must also never ask the customer for information that your institution already possesses. Whether servicing a request or presenting a personalized offer, your representatives have to be able to view, in a consolidated format, all of the customers' previous interactions, account relationships and personalized messages at any service channel. 

Once your organization is positioned to consistently deliver these basics of good customer service you can focus on the special ingredients. So what things constitute special ingredients? Things that make the customer feel appreciated and demonstrate that you understand their needs. You want customers to expect that they will receive efficient and friendly service every time they walk into a branch or interact with the institution via self-service channels; and, be helped by representatives that have in-depth product knowledge and understand their specific relationship with the institution. 

As mentioned, it's also about blending these special ingredients, and well-trained staff is the key to achieving a perfect mix. You must motivate and incent staff to create for each customer a memorable experience (referral tracking and ownership for example should be fundamental within your customer care infrastructure) and reward them for going above and beyond-in doing so you will establish a service-based culture.  

Finally, if your representatives have access to detailed information sources - including product experts and back office support - and are equipped with the tools and good documentation they need to meet any customer request, they will provide the "icing on the cake" that will satisfy your customers' sweet tooths and keep them coming back.

It’s Time to Engage Your Tellers in Sales

February 1, 2010 (comments: 1)

The opportunity

The reality is that tellers at your bank or credit union have more face time with customers/members than any other group within the organization-doesn't it make sense that they be an integral part of your sales and CRM initiatives?

The challenge

The teller's traditional role has been to process transactions quickly, accurately and securely, but that's no longer enough if your institution wants to grow profitably or continue to build value that it can pass back to its customer/members. You must be able to engage tellers in personalized servicing and selling without sacrificing the customer/member experience or disrupting the lobby flow. 

The approach

There is a natural ebb and flow to processing teller transactions. Take advantage of the quiet moments in the normal transaction process to deliver service and sales messages that are personalized for the customer/member. When you first begin to engage your tellers, the customer/member message delivery needs to be scripted with natural speech patterns to make the teller feel comfortable and sound professional while being brief, direct and polite. It is also critical to provide an automated way to capture the customer's/member's interest level and enable tellers to arrange for follow-up with only a few additional key strokes. The follow-up then takes place away from the teller line, maintaining "business-as-usual" for the overall teller line experience. 

And finally, the key to all of this is that the process be...

Quick-the customer/member is identified during the transaction process and this allows for a 2 or 3 click process to capture the referral information.

Meaningful-creating and presenting personalized offers that deliver special value to customers/members increases the level of acceptance. Tracking the offer made with a "yes" or "no" maybe keeps your teller from annoying the customer/member with repeated attempts at the same offer.

Actionable-get the referral to the right person for follow-up. Track the follow-up process and keep all parties informed of progress and results. Incentive and recognition help maintain focus and reward extra effort.

Every teller interaction presents an opportunity for your institution to further cultivate mutually beneficial customer/member relationships. Positioning tellers to engage in personalized service and selling, will complement your sales and CRM initiatives and ultimately, help your institution to grow profitably and build value for customers/members.