Maybe it’s all the traveling I am doing these days, but customer loyalty is top of mind. From American Airlines' advantage program to Hyatt's guest rewards, sometimes the littlest of things add up to something big (e.g. 1,099,622 miles flown on AA as of this morning). So yes, customer loyalty and me have a special bond, one worth exploring in the context of today's financial community.
Case-in-point, I had the chance to watch PNC's president (and head of Retail Banking) Joe Guyaux share his hows and whys of focusing on customer loyalty for one of the nation's largest diversified financial services organizations. A keynoter at American Banker's recent Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium, he talked about PNC focusing on customer loyalty as a means to build a differentiated brand and grow customers while increasing (but not always maximizing) revenues. As a loyal PNC customer, I made a point of introducing myself to Joe after his talk concluded. You see, from slides on PNC's definition of customer loyalty ("an enduring emotional connection and bond beyond our customers, employees and the PNC brand") to the bank's approach to creating brand ambassadors through social media, I was impressed to hear "the message from the top." Indeed, what he shared with bank execs in Miami translated to the branches I regularly visit in Washington, D.C.
Truth be told, one slide really stood out: PNC's framework for winning loyal customers. Sure, we all know that loyal customers are integral to any business model. Still, interesting to note the elements that PNC defines to build and maintain that loyalty. Naturally, it starts with (and requires) engaged and empowered employees -- and extends to:
- A drive to deliver exceptional customer service;
- The challenge to protect and grow its payments business;
- A focus on earning a "share of a customer's wallet;"
- The discipline to maintain positive operating leverage;
- Managing risks; and
- Encouraging real and ongoing community involvement among staff.
While a number of banks espouse similar approaches to customer loyalty, PNC's rise to its current position in the marketplace reminds us all that customer service really is job one. Seeing a message like Joe's distributed and embraced across a national franchise? Impressive, to say the least.