Customer Centricity: Mission or Mirage?
A key priority for bankers today is to become more customer-centric throughout all their delivery channels, especially in the branch, where the most complex and profitable sales still take place. However, defining what customer centricity really means, is a bit of a challenge and sustaining it has been equally problematic.
A recent research report published by Misys and Efma states that 48 percent of bankers surveyed believe the term ‘customer centricity’ is overused, and that efforts by banks to improve the customer experience have fallen short of the mark, stating, “fatigue is setting in before banks can justifiably claim they have achieved a customer-centric approach.”I
So the question becomes, is customer centricity a mission for banks or has it become more of a mirage?
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Bank Branch Staff: What's in a Name?
Along with the oft discussed transition of the bank branch from a transaction focus to more of a financial services advisory role, comes the challenge of renaming and redefining the traditional branch staffing roles. Terms like Teller, Head Teller, Customer or Member Service Representative, and Loan Officer simply may not properly describe these new roles and the responsibilities that they encompass.
The first and most common title to emerge is that of Universal Banker. The idea here is fairly simple. Universal Bankers [UBs] are simply trained to a higher level, empowered to resolve more issues, and tasked with meeting a greater range of client needs. While the title itself projects the image of some sort of swashbuckling banking super hero, a UB is basically a banking generalist. This stands in contrast to the traditional staffing roles, which are much more specialized.
This stands in contrast to the traditional staffing roles, which are much more specialized. After several years of experience with FIs transitioning to UBs, there are several points to be made about the position. First, it turns out that it is not one position! It is now viewed by many as more of a progressive career path with increasing levels of responsibility and expectations.
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Better Banking: Simplicity Adds Value
We seem to be living at a time when things generally are increasing in complexity. From understanding and choosing health insurance to operating your smart phone or tablet, things are just more complicated than they used to be. For instance, how many passwords do you need to keep track of today versus 20 years ago? This is not to discount the wonderful array of options that technology provides us. It is only to say that options add complexity to our lives and compete for our time along with all the other things we need to balance.
Banking is no exception. It is way too complicated. This was the theme developed by Jeffry Pilcher, CEO/President of The Financial Brand at their 2015 forum who stated, “There are a million other things people would rather think about than banking. It is boring, it‘s tedious. It’s complex. That’s why financial institutions need to build an innovation strategy completely around making banking easy and saving people time.”i
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