By Vernon Hill, Metro Bank Online
The experience of building Metro Bank has been nothing short of exhilarating. We’ve grown at an incredible rate since our launch in July 2010, and now have more than 1000 colleagues, 24 stores, over 250,000 business and personal customer accounts and more than a billion in deposits. As the only high street bank to launch from scratch in more than 100 years, we’ve had to break through a century of resistance in Britain’s financial environment. Now, three years on, we are often asked about the strategy and organisational challenges behind our rapid growth.
Converting customers into fans
Metro Bank is based on the hugely successful US-based Commerce Bank model and the ultimate realisation of everything I learned over my three decades of building the Commerce brand. Its success was based on the simple concept that customers should be the cornerstone of any business – if you treat your customers with the respect they deserve by providing the highest level of service and convenience, then you’ll turn them into fans of your brand.
At Metro Bank we offer banking that provides unparalleled levels of service and convenience to our customers. Through our unique customer-focused business we are reinventing the rules of retail banking, making every effort to remove all stupid bank rules from our services in order to make things
simpler and more convenient.
Three core pillars of success
Metro Bank’s success is built on three core pillars; a differentiated model, a strong workplace culture and relentless execution.
Metro Bank’s unique model has a singular vision – we exist to provide excellent customer service. Defining your vision is the first step for anyone, whether you’re a high street retailer or a professional services organisation. You must believe in your model in order to grow!
Our motto is “no stupid bank rules”, which means that we design every procedure around what works for our customers, rather than what suits us. Every business leader must ask themselves a key question: “Are my services designed to suit me or my customers?”
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of culture for Metro Bank – it’s our social fabric, our DNA. Our culture matches our model and is widespread through the organisation. It’s the spirit that enables our company to excel. It’s absolutely essential that culture supports the business model. We’ve all seen examples where an organisation says one thing, but the culture contradicts that model. Pretty much every bank in the UK says that it wants to give great customer service, yet frontline staff are incentivised with sales targets. This isn’t the case at Metro Bank and our staff are rewarded based on the service they provide to customers. We live or die by the service we provide.
Finally, model and culture must be supported by impeccable execution. To create fans, you have to build an emotional brand that you’re enthusiastic about. Service, delivery, design, look, appeal and the execution of the brand are our central focal points. Our cultural training is ongoing and our execution is relentless. Colleagues live and breathe our culture, and they’re empowered to offer great service to customers.
The important lessons that we learnt when building the Metro Bank model, and continue to learn every day, can be applied to any business. Successful businesses come from differentiated, value-added models. Great companies create business models that produce emotional brands and turn customers into followers or fans.
This article is an extract from a piece originally published in the autumn 2013 edition of Enterprise, a Smith & Williamson publication.
By necessity this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Article correct at time of writing.
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