Properly Training Staff Benefits the Customer and the Company
Alliance & Leicester was a UK-based bank. The bank was acquired by Santander Group and rebranded as Santander in 2013.
The bank learned the importance of investing in employee training and development programs when it rolled out two separate products targeted for different customers. After the initial product launches had some missteps, they brought in David Couper to work with them to develop and execute programs to effectively educate the staff on the new programs and train them to effectively identify their customers and sell the programs.
Know Your Customer is Both Internal and External
The Alliance & Leicester was introducing travel insurance as a new product. This was a natural add-on, and the bank was confident about results. However, the bank employees were unclear about how this new product aligned with the bank and they needed to be educated on how to sell the product to customers.
David worked with bank leaders and the insurance team to assess their issues and needs. The assessment resulted in an interactive training program which looked at how to identify a customer, how to establish needs and match them to the benefits of the product, and how to effectively sell insurance to a customer who would benefit from the account.
The program was rolled out to all branches supported by the training department. Each branch was able to use the program to surface concerns and frustrations and resolve them both with their employees and with the customers.
The Business Apology Goes a Long Way
Alliance & Leicester faced another challenge when they launched a new savings account product. When the product was launched, the Bank staff wasn’t properly trained on the demographics of the customers or the benefits of the new product, so they didn’t fully understand the product's purpose and were targeting the wrong customer. Customers were opening accounts only to be frustrated and close them when the account wasn’t serving their needs, and bank branches were frustrated with the unhappy customers and the new product.
As David Couper analyzed the current situation, it was clear that there had been some miscommunication. As a result of this feedback, leadership realized that they had not been clear in their messaging to bank staff. The result was that the employees had been confused in their sales.
David designed a program that resolved two key issues: the miscommunication from bank leadership and the training needed for the bank staff to be successful at doing their jobs to sell the new savings account product. An interactive training was developed which looked at how to qualify a customer, how to establish needs and match them to the benefits of the account, and how to effectively sell the account to a customer who would benefit from it.
More important was an apology to the bank staff from the Marketing and Sales leadership accepting responsibility, acknowledging that they had not been clear in giving them the proper training, and apologizing for the misinformation.
Employees were impressed that Marketing had acknowledged they had not done enough to prepare the branches. This was a key step in bringing operations and marketing closer together. What was important, if not more important to the employees as the training, was the apology. It showed that the leaders listened to them, respected them, and valued them.
As a result, sales for this savings account went up by 40%.
At David Couper Consulting, we know that if people don’t feel valued, it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to develop them. Inner unhappiness can block external results, and when you can properly listen to employees, make them feel valued and accept accountability when necessary, the impact can be a happy culture and happy customers.