NEEDHAM, Mass. (11/16/09)--Retail financial institutions are struggling to reconcile their self-service, multichannel world with their sales culture, according to a new study from TowerGroup. Self-service channels in retail financial institutions have exploded since 2005, with an impact on the roles and responsibilities of staff on the front lines--those who face customer-members, said the Needham, Mass.-based financial services research and consulting firm. In "The Sales Culture in Retail Banking: Getting to Sales 2.0 in the Self-Service Era," Kathleen Khirallah of TowerGroup's retail banking division evaluates the efficacy of retail banks' sales capabilities during a time of continued rapid transition to self-service channels. Among the findings:
* The new era of sales culture--dubbed Sales 2.0--balances sales and service priorities with a focus on fulfilling member/customer expectations for the customer experience; * Sales 2.0 demands a cross-functional management approach that recognizes that sales and service priorities are enterprise issues and that executives throughout the financial institution are responsible for its success; * The explosion in the number of transactions occurring in the self-service channels is forcing financial institutions to readdress the limitations of their existing sales culture; * The sales culture of the vast majority of banks has two major flaws: focusing on sales rather than service, and being limited to interactions that take place in the contact center and the branches; * Consumers continue to demand channel integration policies that facilitate moving among channels for complex sales and service transactions; and * Financial institutions that have started the process of adapting Sales 2.0 are acknowledged leaders in customer/member experience management.