Monday, September 6, 2010

Bank Phone Number Roulette

A May 2010 article from Reuters stated that nearly a quarter of all homes in the U.S. have abandoned land lines and only use a cell phone. The article further noted that, almost half of adults aged 25 to 29 lived in households with only cell phones. This means that keeping your customer phone numbers up-to-date is becoming more of a challenge.

Incorporate processes at your front-line to collect and verify phone numbers and email addresses at least once per year. This will allow your institution to stay in touch with your customers through these channels and cut down on costs, both in time and money, of bad contact data.

Quest has worked with many institutions who don’t even have current mailing addresses for many accounts, let alone phone numbers or email addresses. You need a process in place to continue to validate this data, this is just good business. And it is good customer relations.

As communications technology continues to change, you will be faced with an exponential backlog of outdated and invalid contact data for your customers unless you routinely validate and update it.

Here are some tips on how to keep things updated in times of change.
Read the full article in our Sales Ezine:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting More out of New Account Openings

The new account interview is so very important to driving new and future sales. Your customer’s or member’s first account opening with your institution embeds their first impression of your organization. The type of service they receive on this first transaction will either be memorable in a positive or a negative way. If it is negative, trust me they will be telling their friends about the experience. You may ask, how do I know if I did a great job? You will know. The next time they are in the bank, they will ask for you by name. This will give you another chance to lock in a lifetime relationship with this customer.

Although the customer may have initially contacted you due to some great marketing about your “Free Checking” or other product line, never assume that this is the best product for the customer. You need to ask the customer about how they plan on using the account, the balances they plan on having and the number of transactions they will perform each month. It may be that they will have sufficient balances for an interest bearing account. If this is the case, explaining the advantages is very appropriate. Never assume that because they came into the institution for one particular account, that this is exactly what the customer needs. This is the point of the interview. The same holds true for CD discussions. Ask questions about what their short term and long term needs are for the money. Based upon their answers, you can make a good recommendation. The bottom line is you need to ask questions so you can properly help them open the correct account(s) from the start. This will help them get the most from your institution.

Ask questions about their other banking relationships. Most customers have 5 or more banking relationships. If you want to become their primary bank, you need to know how you can help them with their other needs. Don’t be afraid to ask where they have their other accounts. Don’t criticize their decision to use other banks. Tell them that many of your best customers have relationships with other banks as well. Do explain how easy it is for you to set-up account linkages so they can easily move money to your institution.See more tips your customer service agents should take to make sure you get the most out of every new account interaction by reading the full article -

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bad Data Costs Your Bank Money

Banks and Credit Unions of all sizes can cut a large chunk of operational and marketing expense by simply paying more attention to the quality of customer data. As absurd as this may sound, it is absolutely true. Routine and marketing mailings to bad addresses, as well as service and marketing calls to bad phone numbers are costs that add up very quickly and waste your valuable operations and marketing dollars.

Consider this example:

Marketing or operational mailing pieces per month = 20,000
Cost per mailing piece (production and postage) = $1.25
Total monthly cost = $25,000
Total annual cost = $300,000

Month 1 bad/outdated addresses = 1,000 (5% of mailing)
Cost of month 1 bad/outdated addresses = $1,250

Add 1% growth of bad/outdated addresses per month = 16% annually

Even if half of the bad addresses at some point in the year update their addresses, that is still 8% annually or $2,000 per mailing and $24,000 per year.

If your bank/credit union is like most institutions, you could probably put that money to use somewhere else where you would see a return on it.

So, do you have a strategy in place to deal with the degrading quality of your customer data? Do you have a process to regularly audit and review customer data with those who know the data best, the customers themselves?

Quest Analytics works with clients on these very scenarios. As a result, we now offer our IQDataQuality(TM) solution. It puts a proven process in place to ensure your customer information is validated at routine intervals by your front line. Our solution works directly with all teller applications and core systems.

Click here for more information on IQDataQuality:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Four Steps to Increase Your Teller Referrals

One of the easiest ways to increase sales is by increasing your teller referrals. Wait, did I say easy? Do I know what I am talking about? The answer is absolutely yes.

Your tellers need to take care of your customers’ needs quickly in a friendly manner. What most tellers and managers fail to realize is the not-so-obvious needs that they need to serve – that is, the needs beyond the transactions. As the front-line of your institution, they have the face-to-face contact with your customers and are in a unique position to help your institution recognize and support their changing needs over time.

It all starts with these four steps at the teller line.

Train your tellers to listen for common phrases or observe behaviors that identify needs for your products, such as check cashing or a large deposit.

Encourage your tellers to not only listen for the cues but to act on them by creating appropriate referrals.

Let your tellers know you are watching and share their results to encourage quality leads.

Reward your top performers, both individually and as a team. Encourage and retrain under-performers.

It will take commitment throughout all levels of your organization to make this work, starting at the top. The difficult part is getting the organizational buy-in to get it started and stick with it. The actual process itself is easy.

Check out the full article at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How Your Bank can Benefit From Reg E Changes

Over the last several years, institutions have seen tremendous growth from fee income. Recent legislative changes will severely impact that income in the very near future. What’s worse, though, is how these changes designed to help the customer COULD potentially cost you many customers if you don’t have a plan.

The impending changes to Reg E requiring opt-in for overdraft protection could put many of your customers in a bad place by denying point of sale purchases and embarrassing them. They will most certainly blame your institution for their situation, and not the government or their failure to opt-in. So, do you have a plan to deal with these calls that will no doubt be coming your way?

Here are five things you should be doing right now:
  1. Contact your customers – Call your customers and explain the Reg E situation in terms they can understand by giving an example of what might happen in the grocery store should they overdraft their account. Use real life examples.
  2. Cross-sell Opportunity – Use this opportunity to have a discussion with the customer about their relationship with your bank and their financial needs.
  3. Educate your customer on the new regulation. In addition to calling your customers, put notifications in the branch, ATM, web banking as well as via direct mail.
  4. For banks not participating in Reg E, are you using this as an opportunity to call your customers? Call them and tell them that you are not participating in this Reg and what that means to them.
  5. Evaluate new technology to help your tellers manage Reg E. Quest’s Teller Referral Assistant® software was created specifically for banks running Fiserv, FIS, Metavante, Jack Henry and OSI and can help tellers view and update the Reg E indicators without leaving the teller application.

Check out the full article at