Welcome Financial Institution Pros!

Today’s post is especially for you. In the midst of increasing usage of mobile banking and online transactions, it’s hard to believe that we still have customers who love to call our representatives in our centers and branches.

Some of our customers just feel better speaking to a representative when they need to share personal information and concerns. Others may be worried about online hackers despite the excellent safeguards you’ve put in place.

We need to help our staff understand the advantages of providing great service in a variety of customer contact touch points. It’s important that our staff know how to educate customers not only on products, services and policies, but also how to use our mobile and online systems successfully without sounding demanding or like we are trying to get rid of their calls.

When customers arrive at our branch, their experience starts from the moment they park their car or pull up to the drive through area. For our phone center, their experience begins when they dial our number, before they even interact with us. Their customer moments of truth from that point on are varied and numerous so personalized role-play and individual coaching with our team members is crucial for them to hone their skills and keep customers happy.

These are some of the customer skill opportunities for our coaching focus:

I’m not a number

Observe your service reps’ body language, word choices and tone of voice. Yes, even body language plays a part on how they are perceived by customers.  Here’s a few things I’ve seen agents show physically that often translates to poor customer experience:  Eyes completely focused on their computer monitor so not engaging with customer when they say something notable, looking around the center to see what is happening so sounding distracted, an angry expression on their face which makes words sound sharp and too direct.

The start of the call is a perfect time to engage with our customers and help build trust and good communication.

Are your reps putting notes in customer files that will help them or other staff members engage well such as a note of a new baby in the family or a recent vacation taken or are they more focused on getting the account pulled up and ignoring what the customer has just told them.

Our customers want to feel that we know them and understand their needs. Using their name and listening to them tell us their need or issue before focusing on the process goes a long way to create a great experience.

Next…next…next

Our branch reps need to keep the teller lines moving, however some use phrases that sound like they are barking out commands. I’ve heard reps shout, “Next in line” or sometimes just, “Next” while avoiding eye contact.

The same feeling can be conveyed on their calls if agents sound disinterested, distracted, cut the customer off when they are speaking or even go so far as to complain to the customer that they have other calls waiting.

Are you giving reps the time needed to take care of

customer needs and to be proactive?

Treating customers like intrusions is certainly not the way to make them feel valued. While our customers appreciate the fact that your team is efficient, they don’t appreciate the words and tone that indicate disinterest or the feeling they are being rushed before fully satisfied with service needs.

Allowing Staff to think outside the box

We are concerned that our processes are consistent. We train and train to make sure our reps understand each policy and how to apply.

What we may forget to encourage is thinking outside the box to solve some unique issues and problems. 

When we are not open to having reps approach us with alternative solutions for consideration, we are teaching them to be service robots and that attitude will be reflected in their tone and word choices.

Selling To Meet Scheduled Marketing Goals Instead of Selling to Meet Needs.

Stop asking reps to offer the same product to the same customer over and over again every time they contact a rep. This is another opportunity that can fail if we are all using the same marketing phrase dreamed up by employees with no actual customer contact. I’ve seen the “ask me about ______” marketing phrase at the bottom of emails used so frequently that it is no longer noticed or responded to by customers.

Your staff needs to sell what is helpful to that particular customer and track what has been offered and discussed so other reps can see what has occurred.

Repeat product selling is a real turn off to customers who may be willing to listen to something that really fits their needs instead of the product you are pushing to meet corporate goals that month.

Happy customers bring in other customers

Robotic requests don’t work. Personalized requests made to satisfied customers are what will bring results.  Help your team identify the best times to ask for referrals and role-play with them real world scenarios that allow them to use their own approach and choice of words in order to sound natural.

What are your reps doing to encourage referrals?

Coach your staff how to positively engage with each customer as an individual, to determine best solutions and needs, and to think creatively with solutions whenever possible, and your team will be masters of customer experience and increased customer loyalty.