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Press Release

Top 5 banks' client experiences still heavily product-driven

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, Oct. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - The results from Dalbar's recently released Trends & Best Practices in the Retail Branch Client Experience report describe a respectable level of service offered in the branches of the top 5 banks.  The report finds that interactions between the client and branch representatives are still heavily product-driven, as opposed to assessing the client's needs.  All the foundations for a positive client experience were uncovered in the study, with the key being how to fine-tune the interaction to have the greatest impact on the client.

This study was the first truly all-encompassing survey of the retail bank branch landscape.  Dalbar mystery shoppers and analysts conducted 200 unique visits in different branches spanning across both urban and rural locations in Ontario.  This methodology, combining both the client perspective and Dalbar's objective 3rd party viewpoint, yielded 400 unique experiences.  The study looked to answer whether all the resources spent into upgrading the branches from a physical standpoint translated into an improved client experience.

The results of the study were:

Rank Financial Service Institution Score
1 TD Bank Financial Group 78.8
2 BMO Financial Group 75.7
3 Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 74.2
  Industry Benchmark 74.1
4 RBC Royal Bank 72.8
5 Scotiabank 69.1

How long are clients waiting?  Which bank is most knowledgeable with lending products?  What aspects of the branch interaction do clients appreciate most?  These were some of the questions the study answered.  The results, culled from the client interview as well as Dalbar analyst evaluations, revealed that bank branches are offering very respectable levels of service, but have yet to consistently engage clients in needs-based interactions.  David Fang, a Senior Research Analyst at Dalbar notes that, "We encountered a lot of pleasant interactions, but few that truly represented a holistic discussion around a client's financial plan.  Representatives were eager to promote certain products, but it is crucial that these products are appropriate in the spectrum of a client's investment strategy and portfolio.  Too often, representatives brought up products without conducting a needs assessment, coming off to the client as pushy and aggressive."

The study also charted each bank's performance across the various transactions clients conducted, such as applying for a bank account, or inquiring about a lending product. The overall industry rankings show that clients are satisfied with the service provided at branches.  However, it is critical to avoid complacency, and to continue to improve the client experience.  Anita Lo, Dalbar's Vice President of Canadian Strategy comments, "Banks are promoting that their experiences are superior, but the actual conversations are still product-driven, if you really listen to them.  Training needs to be more fine-tuned in putting the client first, and the product second."

To purchase a copy of Dalbar's 2011 Trends & Best Practices in the Retail Branch Client Experience complete with rankings, please contact Jody Bullen at 416.777.1103 ext 225 or

About Dalbar Inc.: As the world's premier financial services strategy and operations research firm, Dalbar, Inc. helps leading enterprises develop, build, and operate strong businesses that deliver sustained shareholder value growth.  Dalbar's proprietary business design techniques, combined with its specialized industry knowledge and behavioural research expertise, enable companies to anticipate changes in customer priorities and the competitive environment, and then design their businesses and improve operations to seize opportunities created by those changes.  The firm serves clients in the Americas and Europe.


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