Things are a little different now, aren't they?
Times are changing and with that comes new online digital ways to start or
even complete banking business. A few emails back and forth and we can have most of a deal wrapped-up. And in the case of a new customer, member or client, frequently we aren't meeting them until they come in to sign for the product they called-in asking about. People I talk to feel like they don't really get a chance to do the desired in-depth discovery discussion like they used to when email wasn't so widely used.
It's amazing to think of all the things we can do and stuff we can buy online that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Let me ask you this though: Can you think of an online purchase you have made in the past where you think you may have benefited from the guidance of a live person? I know I can think of a couple.
Now consider something as important as someone's financial health. Is this really the moment we should be shortcutting the process in an effort to save a little time? If you think about it, responding to a client's product/solution inquiry by suggesting we get the process started via email is just a different form of order taking.... "digi-order taking" if you will.
This form of order taking has all the same risks associated to it that makes it a bad idea for everyone involved when it is happening face to face:
Might be the wrong solution for them.
We might miss being able to help them with a bigger-picture issue, or with something coming down the road for them in the future.
We might convey to them that we are indifferent to their over financial success.
We might be eroding their confidence in us by not provided quality advice
Think about the last time you ended up in an email exchange to complete mostof a deal and missed a chance to learn more about the person or people you were serving. Who's idea was it that we get things started using email? Did you maybe make assumptions about their ability or desire to meet at the branch? It feels like we are being more efficient, but if we are still running into all those order taking risks, is it actually 'good service'?
Another myth about email led processes is that it's always a big time saver. Sometimes it might save some time, but I've experienced personally where incomplete information ended-up wasting time. This happening to you is an obvious risks to your professional image.
If it's still a good idea to conduct a discovery interview in the beginning of the engagement, then we need a plan on how we're going to lead with that instead of defaulting to email exchanges. Now, will some people need or want to get right to it and skip discovery? Sure. But many people will follow your lead when you convey the benefit in having a sit-down to update you on where they're at financially speaking prior to locking-in on a solution.
Offering a Higher Level of Service
For now on, when a responding to a product, service or solution inquiry, instead of falling into the trap of "digi-order taking", after you respond positively, ask for the appointment:
"When would be a good time for you to come by to get a closer look on how we might be able to help?" or
"I'm fairly open in the afternoons next week, would it work for you to come in then to get this going?"
What if they say "...can't we just do this all over email?"? If they can't come in, respond positively and ask if they have a few minutes now to answer a few questions to be certain we're going down the very best path for them.