At Forrester's 2008 financial services forum for marketing & strategy professionals, Charles Schwab president and COO, Walt Bettinger, spoke to the audience about the key to the company's reversal of fortune since 2004: rebuilding customer loyalty.By 2004, Charles Schwab had lost 12% of its clients, Bettinger related. When Chuck Schwab returned to the helm of the company he founded, he pushed out a client-first philosophy to investment advisors.
Today, investment advisors and their interactions with clients are constantly evaluated in surveys. "If someone gets a 6 or below, a client will get a phone call from a manager within 24 hours or often the same day, asking what can we do?" said Bettinger, who was promoted to his current position in 2007.
The company also uses the Net Promoter Score, a customer loyalty metric and methodology aimed at driving profitable growth by focusing on the customer. It also gauges performance, establishes accountability, and prioritizes investments.
But it is the relationships with clients that are crucial, Bettinger noted. "For all the web and other technologies, we're human beings who need the guidance of someone we can trust."
"Tools, capabilities, information, that's our job, that's management's job. That's not a rep's job. A rep's job is the ability to put themselves in the client's shoes," he said at the event at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York.
As part of its client-first philosophy, Schwab now also provides free investment advice to every client.
"When I was first talking to our affluent clients, with $2m, $3m or $5m at Schwab, they'd say, I can't believe those account fees you guys have put in place! I'd say, those don't apply to you. They'd say, well of course they don't apply to me but I can't believe you'd do that to your other clients," Bettinger said of his early discussions with clients.
"These were such eye-opening conversations," he added. "These clients were evaluating whether they wanted to do business with us based on how we were treating clients who weren't quite as economically attractive to us as they thought they were."At Forrester's 2008 financial services forum for marketing & strategy professionals, Charles Schwab president and COO, Walt Bettinger, spoke to the audience about the key to the company's reversal of fortune since 2004: rebuilding customer loyalty. Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in April 2007, Melanie lived in Paris, where she worked for the International Herald ... View Full Bio