Managing Staff Turnover

There was an article in American Banker last week titled “Big Ideas for Banks in 2014”, and one of the topics focused on the importance of retaining talented employees at bank branches. The article mentioned that high levels of employee turnover can hurt the ‘relationship’ between customers and the bank, which in turn can impact the bank’s ability to retain accounts.

This theme was also very evident in JD Power’s 2013 Small Business Banking Study (released in October 2013). Analysis of study data found that 43% of small business customers had their account manager changed during the past 12 months, and of those, 13% report that their account manager changed two or more times.The impact on satisfaction is significant, as shown in the chart below.

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More importantly, turnover of small business account managers can also have a significant impact on financial performance. Study data clearly shows that small business customers who experience account manager turnover report lower levels of intended loyalty and share of wallet held with the institution. Turnover of account managers also drives an increase in reported problems, which can also be costly for financial institutions through the allocation of valuable resources and labor time associated with problem resolution.

But while an ideal scenario is for financial institutions to keep account manager assignments stable over time, in reality, changes will occur for a variety of reasons. In those cases, there are some best practices that financial institutions can follow that may mitigate the negative impact of account manager changes:

First, it is important that institutions act quickly when account management changes. Customers who are affected by a change should be notified as soon as possible and introduced to their new account manager. Delaying the notification can ultimately have a negative impact on customers’ overall banking experience, especially customers who attempt to contact their account manager and learn they are no longer there.

Second, it is critical that newly assigned account managers reach out to their customers and schedule a time to meet with them. During this meeting, it is important for the new account manager to establish an understanding of the customer’s needs and expectations (e.g., how often customers want to meet, what communication method customers prefer).

Third, new account managers must ensure they are providing the most appropriate solutions based on the customer’s business needs. They must be responsive to customer contacts, responding on the same day of the contact, if possible, and proactively reaching out to customers at least once every three months.

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