Category Archives: Frontline

A CSR at Every Desk

by Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional

Rendel

Jeff Rendel

In 2015, a related article — “A CEO at Every Desk” — explained how front line leaders – in our customers’ eyes – are the CEOs of every “moment and transaction.” When our customers meet our front line more often than they visit with our executives, it makes sense that leadership for customers is local. Many bank leaders designed training sessions and systems to create an executive presence through all levels of their banks.

Fast forward two years later where a feature in one bank’s Statement of Values read, “We all hold the title of Customer Service Representative.” This bank realized that “the CSR in all of us” must appreciate that every customer adds to a bank’s success and we must value that contribution in how we go about our daily duties. “Regardless of how often we actually see customers,” the bank’s CEO said, “We must design our day around the question, ‘How will I serve my customer?’”

How do the various levels and departments of a bank integrate this CSR presence of mind in daily duties? Here are some recommendations.

Front-Facing Leaders. For tellers, call center agents, loan officers, branch managers, and any bank leader who works with customers every hour of the day; your mission is simple: Serve your customers, build great relationships with your customers, and increase your customers’ financial well-being. In the end, we want our customers to profit as a result of their relationships with our banks. Always be on the lookout for ways to be good news for your customers, building their financial security one experience at a time.

Behind-the-Scenes Leaders. While deposits and loans build the business base for our banks – accounting, human resources, card processing, IT, and more keep the gears in motion. These leaders serve customers with their skills that ensure a seamless customer experience. Accuracy, staff expertise, and uptime are just a few ways that service to customers extends beyond the branch. Some might argue – with much success – that behind-the-scenes leadership is increasingly important in a mobile world where fewer customers visit our branches.

Executive Leaders. While everyday interactions with customers are less common, vice presidents and C-Level leaders have great influence on how a bank serves customers. Frequently, schedule time to visit branches and meet some of your customers. Often, some old-fashioned “lobby talk” can reinforce or clarify what management reports divulge. Also, meet with your front-facing and behind-the-scenes leaders and describe how their roles benefit customers and your bank. It’s encouraging for them to understand that front line and back office operations are significant. Lastly, consider adding “How does this affect our customers?” to every meeting agenda. A few banks even arrange for an empty seat at every meeting, representing “the customer,” a reminder for executives as they plan for their bank’s success.

Our customers are vital to our banks. Regardless of our titles, the results of our jobs all flow to delivering economic value to customers. “We all hold the title of Customer Service Representative,” says one bank. As leaders, may we always remember – and act upon – the drivers of success for all of our banks – our customers.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with banks that want entrepreneurial results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.

A Culture of Service Excellence in Ten Minutes a Day

by Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional

Rendel

Jeff Rendel

Remarkable results in just ten minutes a day? That’s what the infomercial gurus tell us as they sell their wares for amazing abs, real estate investing, and dogs that won’t bark. In spite of their claims, there is plenty of power in short, focused efforts performed consistently. Your bank can build its commitment to service excellence in just ten minutes a day.

For three decades, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels have held the “Daily Line-Up;” a ten-minute department huddle to prepare for the day ahead. It’s a chance for every department – around the world – to discuss and focus on one of its dozen-plus service principles and standards of service. Team members share “wow” stories of how they provided a great experience to a guest or colleague and they focus on a standard to execute through the day (like “a warm greeting,” “a fond farewell,” or creating a “guest for life.” For the Ritz Carlton’s full list of Gold Standards, visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Corporate/GoldStandards/Default.htm.

The Daily Line-Up is simple to execute at your bank. Before opening (or before every shift), huddle up in a small group to discuss a single aspect of service. Ideally, the feature to discuss comes from an established list of service standards unique to your bank with the discussion tailored to practical methods and examples of excellent service. If your bank’s service standards are still in the works, incorporate some service principles discovered in articles on your state association’s website.

To increase participation in the Daily Line-Up, see that leading the discussion doesn’t fall on the manager or trainer. Mix it up and choose a different leader every day. Tellers, loan officers, branch managers, call center agents, the CEO, I.T. professionals, and many more can contribute to learning and teaching what’s most important for service. In distinct ways, every professional at your bank is a leader for all customers. Each can provide valuable insight to enrich customer service.

Keep the Daily Line-Up short – ten minutes is best, long enough to elaborate on content and short enough that it doesn’t feel like a meeting. What’s most important is that everyone is hearing the same message and taking the day’s element into their duties to keep your customer service culture alive. When it comes to customer service, the greatest challenge isn’t skills, details, and the nuts and bolts of working with customers. The challenge is focus and performance during the day-to-day schedule. The Daily Line-Up provides an opportunity to align varieties of activities with a specific value at your bank.

Try the Daily Line-Up model at your bank every day for just ten minutes. You’ll discover that short sessions create dramatic and sustainable enhancements that are easy to execute and add alignment and power to your bank’s culture of service excellence.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with banks that want entrepreneurial results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.

FDIC Insurance Guide Updated

FDICThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has updated the Financial Institution Employee’s Guide to Deposit Insurance. The Guide is designed primarily as a resource for bank employees to understand the FDIC’s rules and requirements for deposit insurance coverage so they can assist depositors in understanding FDIC deposit insurance coverage. The latest version of the Guide contains numerous examples for determining deposit insurance coverage for all deposit insurance ownership categories and contains a variety of scenarios regarding informal and formal revocable trusts to address common situations and clarify misconceptions associated with these two ownership categories.

The updated version of the Financial Institution Employee’s Guide to Deposit Insurance is available as a PDF on the FDIC website.

Savings Bond Guide Updated

savingsbondThe Treasury’s Bureau of Financial Services has updated “The Guide to Cashing Savings Bonds” with the release of a more interactive PDF version. It provides official guidance for financial institutions on cashing savings bonds. The Guide describes procedures for verifying and documenting the identity of a customer, redeeming savings bonds and lists acceptable forms of identification. The new version replaces all previous versions. Find the updated guide here.

Deposit Insurance Coverage Webinars

FDICThe FDIC will conduct six identical live webianrs on FDIC deposit insurance coverage for bank employees and bank officers between February 23, 2016, and December 5, 2016. In addition, the FDIC has developed three separate Deposit Insurance Coverage OnDemand webinars for bank officers and employees, which are now available on the FDIC’s YouTube channel. Both the live and the YouTube deposit insurance coverage seminars provide bank employees with an understanding of how to calculate deposit insurance coverage. The live webinars provide a comprehensive overview of FDIC deposit insurance. The three YouTube webinars cover: Fundamentals of Deposit Insurance Coverage; Deposit Insurance Coverage for Revocable Trust Accounts; and Advanced Topics in Deposit Insurance Coverage.

The live events are free, but registration is free. For dates and registration click here. For links to the YouTube sessions, click here.

Free Seminars for Bank Officers and Employees

FDICThe FDIC will conduct four identical live webinars on FDIC deposit insurance coverage for bank employees and bank officers between September 24, 2015, and December 2, 2015. In addition, the FDIC has developed three separate Deposit Insurance Coverage Seminars for bank officers and employees, which are now available on FDIC’s YouTube channel. Both the live and the YouTube deposit insurance coverage seminars will provide bank employees with an understanding of how to calculate deposit insurance coverage. The live webinars provide a comprehensive overview of FDIC deposit insurance. The three YouTube seminars cover: Fundamentals of Deposit Insurance Coverage; Deposit Insurance Coverage for Revocable Trust Accounts; and Advanced Topics in Deposit Insurance Coverage. Click here for dates and registration information.

Free Webinars on Deposit Insurance Coverage

FDICThe FDIC has announced a series of free webinars on deposit insurance coverage. Held throughout 2015, topics include deposit coverage fundamentals, revocable trust coverage, and a final webinar on advanced deposit coverage topics. For more information and all the dates the webinars will be offered, see the FDIC website.