The key issues that are trending in today’s financial services learning and development arena are around supporting cultural change in the minds of the staff (internal customers) and also around creating new, more positive perceptions for external customers in the market place:

  1. Generation Y
  2. Service Mindset
  3. Customer Focused leadership
  4. Improved customer generation through insights and reduction of customer effort

1: Generation Y – key points

  • If you take, for example, Barclays having circa 25% of staff who are Gen Y – i.e. aged between 21 and 34 in the workplace today- this is a big population and they are tomorrow’s leaders.
  • However, being the true digital natives, Gen Y has grown up in cyber-space and on-line and no longer thinks or works like Gen X (aged between 35 and 50) or Baby Boomers (aged between 51 and 65)
  • They also don’t want the same things that Gen X and Baby Boomers want; and they want some things that the others don’t appear to want as much – i.e. titles and early promotion.
  • To answer the query: how do you get Gen Y to do a good job? Stop expecting them to know what good looks like or even to ask you what good looks like. Set expectations and task parameters clearly so that Gen Y knows what to do and how to do it.

 2: Service Mindset – key points

  • Once you read the article “Stop Trying to delight your customers” you can see that customer service no longer increases loyalty.
  • Of course expectations of a reasonable/good service are likely – and these are the “basics”. So if I fly with Ryan Air, and they are 90% on time and it’s crowded and I have to pay for food, my low expectations are met; the basics are met – and Ryan Air is proof that their customer service is completely acceptable and earning them a fortune.
  • If I fly with British Airways and the flights are 98% on time and the food is free and delicious and I get help with my luggage and any queries from a smiling, professional, well-dressed steward, then my higher expectations are met; the basics are met – and British Airways is also proof that their higher level of customer service is generating excellent revenue.
  • Post-recession people are no longer loyal per se. In financial services people and companies are multi-banked – more than ever.
  • You can’t build loyalty, but you can build preference. So even if I’m multi-banked, if my Relationship Manager or key connection at the bank/financial institution is someone I know, like and trust, who delivers the basics, (as outlined above – which depends on the brand/company), and makes a great connection with me, (engages with me), and is memorable (for the right reasons – i.e. good news), then as an individual or company using your financial services, I will still use others and I will still spread the risk, but I will prefer you.
  • In addition, service signatures are important. These are things that financial organisations can do that are particular to them and act as a signature that people can latch on to. For example, Metro Bank encourages customers to bring dogs into their retail banks and they are given water and their mess is cleared up. Barclays is currently advertising on TV to show they are the bank that can teach people how best to use online technology – thus giving them a human and modern face.

 3: Customer Focused Leadership – key points

  • While all financial services organisations say that they focus on the customer, they often don’t demonstrate that throughout the organisation and all too often the leaders are in their ivory towers, berating the lower levels.
  • Customer Focused Leadership is a programme for leaders so that they understand:
  • The key issues facing the less loyal, more demanding customer of today, including the fact that customers have often researched what they want and are usually 60% of the way towards a “buying decision” by the time they connect with your company.
  • The basics that are expected from their organisation and how this no longer builds loyalty.
  • How what they do and say in the organisation can build preference
  • How they can be the role models for the rest of the organisation. If they espouse these beliefs and actions, they encourage everyone else to do so.
  • How they have internal customers that they must demonstrate customer focused leadership to. All too often organisations show customer focus to external customers, leaving their internal customers behind the scenes with a sense of being third class customers. One tiny example is the Coutts Office in The Strand, London which is welcoming and sophisticated and helpful and spacious for external clients. Internal customers are crammed into old-fashioned, badly-lit, badly-ventilated and heated offices behind this beautiful façade.
  • If you want everyone to focus successfully on the customer start engaging with internal customers so that they believe you want everyone to demonstrate the right behaviours and actions.  Role model the way forward.

4: Improved customer generation through insights and reduction of customer effort

Clients are now looking for 4 key things from their financial services providers:

  • Trust – and the research from Edelman, IBM/Weatherhill, VIP Forum, Forrester and others all points to this – customer want a trusted advisor who is a collaborative partner who works for them with their best interests at heart rather than being “selling” to them.
  • Reduction of effort – as well as getting the basics right, many customers complain that policies and processes make life easier for the financial institution and not for them. Companies that understand this and make doing business easy, will win on the Customer Effort quotient. This comes out of CEB “Effortless service” book which undertook research in 2013 to show customers HATE how increased effort makes them feel. (Of a customer experience, 65% is about how the customer feels and 35% is about what the customer has to do).
  • Insight selling – customers don’t want to be sold products and services. They often know what their pain is and their problem and they are busy researching or working on how to put that right. Insight selling is about educating the customer and using thought leadership and insights to get the client thinking about something they might not even have thought about. (Insight selling comes from the “Challenger-Selling” book – 2012 – which indicates that customers need more than a good relationship with the person whom they might spend money with. They need someone to challenge their status quo, teach them things they don’t know and provide value in the eyes of the client).
  • The psychology of revenue generation – understanding how customers think and feel about doing business with the organisation and how this can lead to positive or negative behaviours and actions from them. When you understand the issues, you can take action to improve the psychology of the relationship and increase the engagement.

How do you differentiate yourselves from others?

    1. You are not Ashridge or Cranfield. They use their own in-house research and programmes with corporates but these are often highly generic and not related to specific financial services requirements and do not have an in-depth, embedded understanding of the fs world – which Intuition has. The key benefit of a expensive Ashridge or Cranfield course is the networking between corporate delegates.
    2. You are not a me-too learning organisation like Hemsley Fraser or Kineo. Whilst these are successful players, they purport to do a little bit of everything. They can lack the internal, in-house experience that all of your staff have in the fs world. They may lack the pragmatic, results-oriented response that you aim to provide.