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Breaking Banks by Brett King

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Chapter 7Moving from Personal Financial Management to Personal Financial Performance

The average customer walks into a branch to get a task completed. Whether that task is cashing a check, wiring funds overseas, looking at refinancing a home, or applying for a credit card, that task is generally the purpose and focus of a visit to a branch. When customers come in focused on a task, then they are not of the mindset where they are generally willing to hear unsolicited “advice” from the teller or banker, because they want to get in, execute, and get out.

Qualitatively, when customer interactions in-branch are researched and customers are asked when was the last time they received “advice” in their bank branch, 9 out of 10 customers can’t ever remember receiving any sort of advice in the branch space.1

This is counterintuitive for branch bankers who believe that this is what customers are getting in-branch. However, the metrics for the bank officer are to try to upsell or cross-sell a customer who comes in for a basic transactional interaction, and not to give unsolicited advice to help a customer with their money or financial health. In that respect, customers are very clear about advice that is caged or camouflaged as a cross-sell proposition—to them it’s an attempt at a sale, not advice.

What a banker might call advice—the cross-sell and upsell—is not advice from a customer perspective. True, unsolicited advice that helps the customer without expectation of revenue is very rare ...

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