It’s Good to Talk
11.10.2016 , by John O'Connor

It’s Good to Talk. If you’re as old as I am, you’ll remember the British Telecom (as BT was then known) TV adverts with this tagline. It was an incredibly effective advertising campaign which helped change consumers’ perceptions of the organisation.

As it so happens, the same tagline is relevant to the sales and account management communities too. Let me explain by using an example from the corporate banking world.
 

Relationship Managers

Corporate banks don’t employ account managers to manage their major accounts. They employ Relationship Managers or RMs. Words are important. Banks tend to take business relationships more seriously than other industries. This is partly because an intimate knowledge of the customer is critical when making lending decisions.

One of our clients is a large European bank. The MD of the Corporate and Business Banking division prides himself on the level of service provided to his customers. For him, service begins with regular contact. The vast majority of corporate and business clients see their RM every three months or more frequently.

The MD asked us to test this, so we did. We asked his clients how frequently they saw their RM. A small percentage (4%) of the bank’s clients claim they never saw their RM and a similar number said they met the RM annually. 9% saw their RM every six months; 22% every 3 months and the majority (56%) said that their RM was in contact with them on a more frequent basis.

What we hadn’t predicted was that frequency of contact has a huge impact on the quality of the banking relationship. We call this Customer Relationship Quality. It also has a huge impact on the bank’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).


 

It really is good to talk

A quick analysis of Net Promoter Scores by frequency of contact is telling.

The bank’s overall Net Promoter Score is 28% which, for European B2B companies is good (see another blog here).

When RM visits are conducted only on an annual basis, or not at all, the Net Promoter Score is deeply negative – minus 70% for the 4% of clients who claim they never see their RM.

However, for the majority of clients who are in contact with their Relationship Manager every 1-2 months, the Net Promoter Score is a whopping +51%.

There is a very simple message here. If you want to have better relationships with your clients, go and talk to them more frequently than you currently do.

Get in touch with us today if you want to find out a little more about customer centricity.