Know thy customer

The Park Hyatt Washington
The Park Hyatt Washington

Earlier this week, I spent a night at one of my favorite DC hotel’s, the Park Hyatt Washington.  As I checked in (and later, out) I paid close attention to their customer service efforts — and by extension, my customer experience.  Off-the-charts positive from start to end.  So as I wrap up this week’s travel (DC, Nashville and St. Louis to be exact), I thought to share three customer-focused thoughts from the last few days.

(1) I wrote about Brett King leading up to our annual Growth Conference.  He’s a best-selling author who, in this video “The Battle for the Bank Account: And Why the Banks Will Probably Lose,” explores the end-game in the emergence of the mobile wallet and what it means for the “humble” bank account. How does this apply to the experience a consumer may have with their bank?  Simply, when one can get a salary paid directly onto a phone, when your iTunes account doubles as a prepaid debit card and when you can use Facebook to send money – its fair to wonder will there be any need for traditional retail banking in the future?  A longer video than we normally post to but one certainly worth a watch.

(2) Today’s American Banker shares a recent study from Market Rates Insight.  Their work found that customers want products like identity theft alerts and mobile bill pay from their banks. As the publication summarizes, many community banks are unable or unwilling to offer those products.  So community banks may be leaving money on the table due to an inability or an unwillingness to offer a number of coveted financial products.  One wonders how much financial flexibility these institutions have in terms of new investments relative to the heavy compliance costs burdening such banks?  However, if smaller banks cannot compete on price, can they really expect to maintain a loyal customer base without fulfilling “basic” customer expectations?

(3) A I head towards the mighty Mississippi this morning, I took note of another report, this one by assurance, consulting and tax firm Moss Adams.  Western bank CEOs and their direct-report executives should expect average salary increases in the 3% to 5% range during 2013, according to a survey run by the firm.  Also, the industry as a whole should expect a nearly 50% reduction compared to 2012 in the number of institutions that continue to subject their executive officers to a salary freeze.  The firm also found compensation strategies continue to favor incentive-based compensation over salaries in order to place a greater emphasis on variable costs for the retention of key executive officers.  So if a key to great customer service includes a consistency of communication and direction from key leaders, this report bodes well for executives meriting a salary increase. 

Aloha Friday!

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