How Can a Bank Convince Customers It Really IS Different?

When all banks seem the same, how do you convince customers yours is different?

When all banks seem the same, how do you convince customers yours is different?

Yeah, sure you’re different from all the other banks.

(This is part 2 of my interview with Dave Mowat, CEO of ATB Financial. Click here for Part 1.)

ATB Financial, a government owned financial institution with about 5,300 employees and $46 billion in assets, is trying to shake off its past as a stodgy, bureaucratic institution and replace it with a reputation for being a dynamic, customer-focused one.

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They’ve made great headway, and are working hard at making more, but it’s not an easy sell to a jaded public. We’ve all heard banks telling us how they are different, they are customer-focused, they put our needs first. And we all know that, in general, they are pretty similar and a great many of our customer experiences are not particularly happy ones.

First, Make Sure You Really ARE Better

Before you go trumpeting to the public that you’ve changed, you better make sure that you really have. Otherwise, customers will be even more upset, because they were expecting better than in the past, and not getting it. As Mowat put it,

Convincing the public that you really are different “needs to be things that you do; it can’t just be things that you say.”

Getting Better All The Time

So how do you get better? Not a simple question, which explains why it is the subject of this entire blog, and of my book, PeopleShock, and many other books. But ATB does seem to be using the 3P Profit Formula approach that I advocate.

1. Promise

They’ve tried to articulate clearly what their mission and values really are, and spread that message deeply within the organization. As I noted in Part 1, I still think their promise is a bit too wordy, but they are on the right track.

2. People

In the first part of this interview we talked extensively about how they are trying to shift to a culture where they encourage independent thought by employees, and give them much more autonomy and ability to get things changed.

They are also trying to become much more customer-centric in determining how things should be done.

3. Processes

It was a long and difficult process, but the bank has overhauled its CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system so that staff can finally have one, common, view of the customer. Now they should no longer have the sort of issue I experienced recently at a competitor bank where, seven months after being informed that my father had died, they said he’d have to come in to sign a form!

Systems and the training and technology to make them work well for customers are key to proving that your bank really is different from all the others.

“It’s really about how to marry up the aptitude and the desire and the knowledge that we should be doing that, with the things that help make it easier for us.” Dave Mowat, ATB Financial

Learn More About the 3Ps & Great Customer Experience This Wednesday (October 5, 2016) at the Business Link

Come here Tema Frank talk about Customer Experience Improvement, Oct 5, 2016 at 5:30 at the Business Link in Edmonton

October 5 is Customer Experience Day. There are tons of events going on in cities worldwide, as well as many online events.

Here in Edmonton, I’ll be talking about Customer Experience on Wednesday, October 5, at 5:30 in a joint presentation of the Business Link and the Alberta Venture Factory. It is free, but please register at: http://www.venturefactory.ca/customer-service-in-the-digital-era-with-tema-frank-oct-5-2016?mid=903. Hope I’ll see you there!

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