SunTrust Bank ranked highest in the First Half 2007 O'Connor & Associates Industry Benchmark Report which measures the effectiveness of inbound sales agents. The agents are scored for their ability to handle prospective customers' inquiries about opening a checking account, a savings account/certificate of deposit or applying for a loan.
Comerica, Wells Fargo, Citibank and U.S. Bank rounded out the top five banks in the survey.
O'Connor & Associates conducts this survey of fifteen national and regional banks twice each year in March and August. The remaining banks in the survey are JPM Chase, Wachovia, Key Bank, Huntington Bank, Washington Mutual, National City, Amsouth, PNC, Wells Fargo and Commerce Bank (NJ).
The top five survey leaders saw SunTrust Bank and Comerica maintaining first and second place respectively. Bank of America and Huntington Bank dropped from 3rd and 5th place to 7th and 11th place from their previous rankings. Citibank dropped to 3rd place while Wells Fargo moved into 2nd place in the survey. U.S. Bank, replacing Fifth Third in the survey, placed 5th in the ranking.
The biggest drops in the surveys ranking were posted by Huntington Bank going from 5th place in the Second Half 2006 report to 11th place and PNC going from 7th place to 12th place in the First Half 2007 survey. Commerce Bank (NJ) had the biggest gain going from 15th place in the Second Half 2006 survey to 10th place for the First Half 2007 Industry Benchmark report.
The "Industry Benchmark" score of 65.33% represents a total of 23,519 "yes" answers of the possible 36,000 total "yes" answers in the survey.
Some key scores from the survey showed that only:
42% of the agents "Asked for Customer Name" and
Just 32% "Used Customer Name" once they captured it;
Only 11% "Mentioned Another Product or Service" (being offered by the bank); and
Just 7% "Offered Additional Information" (regarding that other product or service)
Only 59% "Offered Additional Assistance" to the prospect
Only 23% "Offered Future Availability" and
Only 39% of the agents actually "Asked for the Business."
The most significant drop in the survey was for cross selling capability. The score posted by the agents represented a downturn of over (-100%) from a Second Half 2006 posting of 17.50% to 8.57% for the current survey.
This score, according to O'Connor & Associates, represents a major shift in the ability of the inbound agent to assess the success of the call. When they suspect the prospect is not responding to the initial inquiry, they should use information from their initial ask probing questions exercise to shift the sales pitch to another product or service. If the agents are only trying to expand their sales initiative 8.5% of the time, then they are losing many opportunities for opening new accounts that are essential for organic growth. SunTrust posted a cross selling score of 54%.
Another major downturn in the current survey was the agent's inability to "ask for the business" at the conclusion of the sales presentation. This score dropped 25% from the previous survey. Survey leader SunTrust "asked for the business" 79% of the time.
The O'Connor & Associates Industry Benchmark rankings for the Second Half 2006 V.S. the First Half 2007 are shown below:
Each bank is monitored 100 times during a thirty-day period. O'Connor & Associates' service evaluators complete a twenty-four-question form in seven categories of measurement using "yes" or "no" answer format to ensure objectivity. The categories measured are: customer reception, customer rapport, needs identification, professionalism, product knowledge, cross selling capability and closing which are recognized as being the attributes customers regard as essential to creating a positive buying atmosphere.