This post is part of Gallup's ongoing series on the shifting landscape for financial institutions. It provides insights into channel optimization, emerging customer behaviors and preferences, product penetration and relationship growth, engaging the most critical affluent and business customers, and reshaping banks' overall value proposition.
Over the years, I've set up customer tracking programs for all kinds of banks, ranging from local credit unions to multinational brands. When I first started, we often threw in sales-related questions almost as an afterthought. We knew we should measure sales, but more often than not the customer experience team was coordinating the program and that team didn't always include the executives in charge of sales. Or, if we were working with the people in charge of sales, they thought the only way to measure sales was by financials. Boy, how times have changed. From executives to the front line, the focus in banks is now on cross selling and upselling. And sales conversations are a key component of many measurement programs. Sales measurement programs aren't difficult to set up, but they are often set up incorrectly. There are many ways I see clients make mistakes in the process, here are just four:
1.) You mistake mystery shopping for customer measurement.
Mystery shopping can serve an important purpose -- to ensure that the sales process is working. It's also great for compliance. But mystery shopping is, by nature, an artificial process, and it can't tell you how your actual customers are reacting and how well you are building relationships for long-term growth. Only your actual customers can tell you that, through a phone or Web-based survey that focuses more on high-level conversational attributes than on how well employees "checked the boxes."
2.) You ask the same questions of your service and sales transactions.
Yes, we talk all the time about how sales and service are the same thing, but when it comes to designing your questionnaire, you need to treat them separately for the best results. Sometimes a service transaction is just that, a chance to wow the customer and build long-term engagement that hopefully leads to a sale. But a sales transaction -- or even a lost sales transaction -- deserves to be delved into more deeply with a set of questions specifically designed to understand the sales aspect of the conversation.
3.) You let your sales process guide your survey questions, rather than letting your customers' needs and expectations guide both your survey questions and your sales process.
Admit it, you have a sales place mat. You researched how other companies sell, decided on best practices, spent a lot of time with a designer coming up with the perfect customer visual aid for going through your process (aka the ubiquitous place mat), and then spent even more time training the field on the place mat process. So tell me -- at what point did you take into account what will actually maximize sales from the perspective of your own customer base? Did you actually do any primary research on that? If you are like most banks we talk to, you didn't. Research is probably the most critical part of what you are trying to accomplish and it's actually easy to implement.
4.) You only measure conversations that ended in a sale.
I talked about this just recently, but its importance can't be overstated. For coaching purposes, managers need to know where employees are failing as well as succeeding. The only way to do this is to measure those conversations that did not end in a sale.
I could go on, but this should be enough to get you started. Remember, measuring sales by traditional metrics such as products per household or profit per customer is important and necessary, but to move these numbers higher and reach your goals, you also need to figure out where you are falling down in the eyes of your customers and measure that as well.