TD + Commerce = Better Experiences (hopefully)

Yesterday, Canada’s TD Bank agreed to buy Commerce Bancorp for about $8.5 billion. I won’t spend any time discussing the merits of the deal (we’ll leave that to the financial analysts), but I do think that this will have an impact on customer experiences with banks — hopefully.

Commerce Bank, centered in New Jersey, has distinguished itself with a unique approach to branch banking —  convenience. The bank describes itself as “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” I can’t say whether or not it lives up to that slogan, but it’s branches (which stay open 7 days/week) do provide a level of service that is well beyond most other banks.

My take: It really helps to have a single-minded focus on a customer-centric attribute like convenience when you’re trying to improve customer experience. Think about Staples’ single-minded focus on delivering interactions that make customers think “that was easy.” Every Commerce employee can ask him/herself: “Is what I’m doing now, or the decision that I am about to make, going to make customers think we are convenient?” This type of focus can be powerfully aligning!

So here’s where hopefully comes into play. Hopefully TD will provide the scale to expand Commerce Bank’s customer-centric approach into a wider geographic footprint. Is this because I want Commerce Bank to take over the world? No. I just want it to create enough of a threat to get other banks (BofA, Citi, Wells Fargo — are you listening?) more serious about their customer experience efforts.

For more context on the customer experience issues with banks, take a look a previous post called: Banks Prepare For Customer Experience Wars.

The bottom line: An expansion of Commerce Bank could mean better customer experiences for all consumers — hopefully!

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey.

Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum.

My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers.

I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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