Ways Frontline Team Reps Can Adapt During COVID-19

Being nice isn’t enough to bring in new business; you have to show customers why your products are a good fit for their needs. What should your frontline staff say about your product in-the-moment? Will they hand over a few brochures or send you links, and hope for the best?

Yes, it is hard to deliver consistent, positive customer experience journeys. After all, your relationship managers are human, and moreover, every interaction is different!

Being considered an essential industry by the federal government, banks in the United States have largely been excluded from shutdowns. Meaning, most bank branches, call-centers, and trading floors have stayed open. U.S. Bank announced a 20% Premium Pay Program for employees and $30M commitment to support individual & small business recovery. The major supplier of driving customer value in the banking sector are frontline reps.

The mobile app market will generate a revenue of $581.9 billion in 2020. (Statista). With over 6.93% of millennials and GenZ having used mobile banking in 2019, the scope for customer acquisition is on a high rise.

To engage customers with personalized services, banks should first recognize customer similarities. The consumers in Accenture’s survey can be divided into four broad personas based on how they perceive and engage with banks and insurers.

What makes GenZ different?

They’re more fiscally conservative, they want to avoid debt, they appreciate accountability and services that help them stay financially sound. GenZ controls $45 billion in annual spending. The growing population is pushing the BigTech sector to raise their profiles in financial services.

Relationship managers are the ones answering customers’ questions, helping find what they seek, and enabling their needs. An empowered rep with quick and precise decision-making capabilities, by proxy, makes a better first impression on the customer. Don’t you agree?

Empowering frontline bank employee recognition, and how it impacts customer value is an important issue for the banking industry to solve, especially now with everything going #Digital. If you’re able to identify the perceived value created by your frontline employees, banks can re-generate that positive impact on perceived customer value too!

What do banking and insurance consumers most want from their providers? Banking and insurance customers are more willing than ever to share data—if their needs are met in return. They like seamless integration across channels. And they want all of it to be trustworthy.

Successfully maximizing frontline sales greatly depends on the extent to which banks can adhere to three key principles: frontline sales staff proficiency; a disciplined sales process; and close monitoring and skilled leadership of sales efforts. Changes in marketing strategy, staff turnover, new products, market evolution, and other factors demand consistent attention in the form of ongoing coaching, hands-on workshops, and updated development plans.

4 things we think will help enable your frontline reps:

  • Listening to your Customers
  • Develop Empathy While Keeping Conversations Focused
  • Educate. Communicate. Focus on Learning, not Pressure
  • Communicate Consistently with an Agenda

Listening to your Customers

Relationship managers teams are the eyes and ears of your operations, whether or not a pandemic. Given that we are in one now, agents need to pay closer attention to conversations at every level and listen intently to existing customers and prospects. Listening, recording, and documenting enables teams to better understand broader impacts, implications, or trends developing within specific/multiple scenarios. That’s when your solution steps in, your bank’s advice and guidance. And now’s the time to actually drive that customer engagement, and be there for them when they need it most.

In 2016, the leadership team of a national retail organization asked ‘company X’ to help boost their frontline performance. They wanted to improve revenue, cost, risk, and customer satisfaction all at the same time, and also wanted to see how it would be applied in-store. ‘Company X’ fully transformed the operating model of four stores (which employed around 60 people) for one year and then compared their performance with that of the other 750+ U.S. stores. As predicted, the performance of experimental stores increased significantly.

Productivity increased by 20% year over year; customer satisfaction increased by 11% and sales increased by 8%.

Develop Empathy While Keeping Conversations Focused

With regulations changing each day, companies are forced to close doors or change their approach to work – implementing mandatory WFH requirements to comply with the CDC and state-specific guidelines.

One of the worst-hit departments in finance, banking, retail, and tech companies are the frontline sales teams – they face an urgent need to generate revenue to keep businesses in operation.

It’s easy to get drifted away, and while the whole world is working from home, they have to onboard this new technology for multiple purposes. Yes, it can be a bit much at first glance, but it does get easier.

Enable your reps adequately so every activity conducted is within your purview, and that managers are able to intervene as and when needed. Important insights can then be funneled up to leadership teams to help gauge the situation and provide the next best steps.

Educate. Communicate. Focus on Learning, not Pressure.

The way higher-ups communicate and interact with agents immensely impacts morale and adaptability. It’s challenging enough to not feel isolated in quarantine – to keep teams engaged, leaders should make it a top priority to keep communication and company culture alive throughout remote work.

In line with the sales team, teams across Vymo have been utilizing Slack and Zoom for daily communication. It’s important to take into consideration the challenges agents may face while closing deals or pulling back on pushed deals.

At Vymo, our sales and customer-facing teams have three immediate priorities:

  • Continuing to deliver value for existing customers
  • Proving to potential customers that our product provides significant enough ROI to justify the purchase when money is tight
  • Providing timely nudges and educating customers about recent developments within their working business market

For sales prospecting, new opportunities may be scarce, but prioritizing these key messages and ensuring they are pulled through in all communications will help sales and customer teams stay on track in uncertain times.

Communicate Consistently with an Agenda

For sales managers with a team of agents, balancing time between administrative duties, direct selling, and coaching can be challenging. Too often managers divert their attention to other needs that, at a given moment, seem more urgent. But with banks, the importance of ongoing digital sales training and coaching is being now better understood and implemented.

The most striking sales performance improvements occur when branches involve their entire frontline staff in the process, effectively viewing each team member as a sales representative. (McKinsey). The essence of rigorous sales management lies in the establishment of aspirational goals against which performance can be measured at frequent intervals (typically weekly). Teams achieve maximum effectiveness when goals are clearly communicated, metrics are simple and the objectives are perceived as obtainable.

Just remember though. Whilst dealing with consumers’ financial interests and assets, continual engagement is what keeps their loyalty and trust intact. If you don’t get to know your consumers now, you’re only setting yourself back in this digital race, or revolution – what’s your plan of action?

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