Service Differentiates You from the Competition
Organizations providing quality service grow twice as fast and gain improved market share by an average of 6% per annum, according to a study by the Strategic Planning Institute. That same study revealed service leaders can charge 9-10% more for their products or services than average companies.
According to a Forum Corporation study, 7 out of 10 customers said they left a business because of poor service – not price or quality.
Delivering service that people find distinctive determines whether you win and keep customers. Things like responsiveness, technical knowledge or skill, and professional attitude can give you a competitive edge. “A financial institution is a service business. And it’s service that distinguishes the ordinary from the best,” maintains Lynn Giuliani, president of Progressions, Inc. (Bellingham, WA).
Most financial institutions offer a similar array of products. Pricing is similar, too. “The distinguishing measurement is how people perceive your service,” Giuliani says. “A smile and a pleasant exchange while processing the customer’s request accurately is the bare minimum. If you want to be considered extraordinary, you must deliver the extraordinary.”
“Extras” That Wow People
Little things mean a lot to most people. Those little “extras” can differentiate your branch. Giuliani offers these examples:
Enhance the Customer’s Financial Position
“The real meaning of service is helping people,” Giuliani says. “Extraordinary service providers go way beyond just taking orders. They look for ways to enhance the customer’s financial position. This means being proactive vs. reactive.”
When serving an existing customer, pull up his or her profile. That will show all the products and services the customer has with your institution. “Proactively look to see if the customer is in the right fit,” advises Giuliani.
Customer is using a VISA card for major expenses such as household repairs or college tuition. If the customer owns his/her home, an equity line of credit offers a lower interest rate and a possible tax write-off.
Ask open questions that encourage people to share their values and plans. Find out what’s important to your customer. Then offer the best products and services to fit their needs, values, and goals. Using open questions, Giuliani suggests:
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions, so that I might be able to help your financial position through the products we offer?”
“Do you have any plans in the next six months to a year where I may be able to help you with a banking product?”
“Are you looking at anything special like home expansion, a wedding, college tuition?”
Support Life Stages
Because customers’ lives change, so do their financial priorities. Extraordinary service providers recognize and support an individual’s different life stages. Giuliani offers these examples:
Progressions, Inc. (www.progressionsinc.net) specializes in sales, service, and leadership training for financial institutions. Lynn Giuliani provides classroom training, ongoing coaching and mentoring. Giuliani has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry, working in both banks and credit unions. She has spent the last nine years in her own consulting practice. In October Giuliani is scheduled to speak on the “Top 10 Ingredients to Create a Service Culture” at the Washington Bankers’ Association Conference in Seattle (WA) and at the CUNA Advanced Branch Operations Conference in Tempe (AZ). To contact Giuliani, call 1-360-733-6557 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.