1. Identify the steps taken by Menton Bank to develop a stronger customer orientation in its retail branches. 2. Compare and contrast the jobs of CAR and CSR. How important is each (a) to bank operations and (b) to customer satisfaction? 3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Karen Mitchell and other candidates for head CSR. 4. What action do you recommend for filling the head CSR position? Problems and issues In this case, the manager and customer service director of Menton Bank’s Victory Square branch were selecting the new head CSR. Three candidates had their own strengths and weaknesses.
With previous promotion criteria for head CSR, Karen Mitchell with good operational skills would be the best choice. However, under the new banking policies and evaluation criteria, Jean Warshawski with excellent selling skills would fit the position. The main problem here was how to balance the operational skills and selling effectiveness for CSRs and head CSR, which would fit and implement the new bank policies. Analysis Menton bank, which was the largest bank in the region and used to focus on corporate business, started to emphasize its business at the retail banking level.
To develop a stronger customer orientation on selling financial products and services, the new CEO reorganized the management team, improved banking electronic system, trained employees with new responsibilities and so on. All above improvements lead to significant new account open, and also steadily increase the share of local deposits. All these changes were based on the environment in those days which the bank met the aggressive competition and declining market share. The CEO recognized that more sales on bank’s financial services and products would improve the profitability.
At the same time, new electronic innovations such as more ATMs, internet banking and 24/7 telephone banking reduced the work pressure of CSRs, but also gave CSRs new tasks. Both CSRs and CARs were trained with different sessions to improve the services and products knowledge and selling skills. Detail selling skills for CARs, and limited selling skills for CSRs. Actually, although CSRs were the first-line staffs to serve the customers, they were lack of sufficient knowledge to introduce these new financial services and products to customers.
Meanwhile, many incentive actions were applied to improve the selling, but some incentives led to negative impacts and were terminated. The employee evaluation criteria were also changed to stimulate the selling. Before selecting the head CSR, we should define and clear the job responsibilities of CSR, CAR and head CSR. Under the new bank policies, customer service representatives (CSRs, formerly known as tellers) were required to involve in some selling activities and have good relationship with customers.
However, in the past, tellers were just required to do the operational works with customers. While other jobs such as selling, serving customer’s requests and opening new accounts were referred to customer assistance representatives (CARs, formally known as new account assistants). The fast and accurate operation of CSRs was still an important factor for improving bank operations and customer satisfaction. CSRs’ services and products selling may increase the bank profits, but also may annoy and scare off some upset customers when waiting happened.
However, due to the application of ATMs and other electronic transaction systems, the work volume of CSRs had been reduced a lot. And when time was allowed (no waiting customers), CSRs can and must do some selling for better evaluation and also for more bonus. As a head CSR, besides the normal CSR jobs, he/she must be a good organizer, has good communication skills with both customers and CSRs, take more sense of responsibilities, has excellent job evaluations with both operations and selling, and follow the bank’s new policies firmly.
Alternatives There were 3 candidates—Karen Mitchell, Jean Warshawski and Curtis Richter, each candidates could be an alternative. Firstly, Karen Mitchell, who was the best choice based on the previous evaluation criteria, was challenging for selling skills and ranked the fourth with new criteria. Karen had excellent operational skills (Rank 1) with fast, accurate and professional performance. She had good relationship with fellow CSRs and customers. Three and half years teller experience was sufficient for promotion.
She also showed that she wanted to take more responsibilities. However, on the downside, Karen’s selling performance was poor and showed resistance for bank’s new policies. Although the managers had talked to her to improve the selling skills, she still thought that CSRs and tellers were nearly the same position to provide fast and accurate operation, not selling. If Karen was promoted to the head CSR, the assignment and operational works would be performed well, but the selling performance might decline.
The number of customers might be retained or even increased, but the profit might go down. Secondly, Jean Warshawski, who was ranked the second place under the new evaluation criteria, had excellent selling performance (Rank 1). She had strong ability to recognize and identify the customers and their needs. She had good relationship with fellow CSRs and customers. She had three year teller experience including the part-time period. Her work was also well organized. But her operational performance was not so good and was ranked in the middle of 7 full-time CSRs.
She also showed a little bit chatty, not fast and accurate enough as a CSR. And sometimes she was not so professional (maybe due to her son’s illness). If Jean was promoted as the head CSR, the selling performance of this branch would be improved a lot as well as the total profit, but they might lose some customers who didn’t want to waste time on waiting and scared by CSRs’ enthusiastic selling. Actually, CAR position might be more suitable for Jean. Thirdly, Curtis Richter, who was a young head CSR in a small branch, wanted to take more responsibilities.
He had good evaluation in his previous head CSR job and appeared personable and intelligent. But he had no reputation and relationship with current CSRs in the Victory Square Branch. He had minimum work experience with electronic based banking systems and less selling skills. His college degree was not completed yet. If Curtis was appointed as head CSR, the results would be unknown and might cause short-term chaos at the teller station. Thus, he had the least chance to be promoted. Maybe after some new system working experience, he would fit this job. Recommendations
Based on the above three alternatives, there would be no perfect candidates to fit the head CSR position. However, with the help of ATMs and other electronic systems, CSR’s operational ability was less and less important in the future. And the boundary between CSR and CAR was ill-defined especially on selling. But CSRs took insufficient training on products knowledge, which limited their selling performance. Bank should give CSRs more training and facilities to support their selling. Actually, there was another excellent candidate—Mary Bell, who ranked No. under new criteria with both outstanding operational skills and selling skills as well as 16 years teller experience. But she felt happy with current CSR job and didn’t want to take more responsibilities. Finally, I recommended Jean Warshawski as the head CSR, because her overall performance was better than Karen Mitchell. She also followed and implemented the bank’s new policies well. At the same time, manager can increase Karen Mitchell’s salary to relieve her dissatisfaction and depression or appointed her as vice head CSR to charge the operational works.
If Karen was really depressed and influenced other CSRs, manager could appoint her to other untested branch as head CSR. If Karen’s selling skills was well trained and improved, she can get back or go to other two tested branch as head CSR one or two years later. For Jean, she needed more training on operational skills and appeared more professional. In the early days of new position, when she met some important event such as handling larger amount deposit, she and Mary or Karen could do the job together.