Gonzo tribemembers, this idea is like many others related to sales and service that have been put forth in recent years. Conceptually, you can’t argue with it. Who wouldn’t want customers who pay more because they value something in the relationship?
However, as is true for many ideas that are killer in theory, the execution of the concept with specific goals and focus and the right metrics is just a wee bit harder. You have to define it well, and you have to measure success equally well. Furthermore, it relies heavily on the execution ability of your front-line employees (branch, lending, call center, Internet support et al.) who have to deliver the value proposition.
So, this got me to thinking. What does the front line think customers value? What do they think customers are willing to pay for? How do you make a value proposition work?
As it happens, at Cornerstone we spend a lot of time with front-line employees, so over the last few months I have been asking them about this. It makes for some good listening, and their perspective carries some weight you don’t want to ignore. After all, aren’t they the ones who see customers every day?
Here’s what we heard your front-line folks say about the whole value issue:
One thing branches point out is that they sometimes do not get to reward and recognize the customer who has been there for many years. “New money” gets the focus instead. Relationship pricing is a very valid concept – branches just want to point out that maybe longevity should be part of the criteria in addition to size of relationship.
If this perspective and these messages are obvious and you already base your value proposition on them, good. But maybe we all need to take a moment, sit down with the branch, loan, call center and other customer delivery folks that will make the value proposition work or not, and make sure their point of view gets its due. Go out and visit with them on this topic. They are a pretty smart bunch of people.
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