Project Review: The B of A Way To Integrate

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2004-11-01 Print this article Print

What a project leader and CEO each should know when they set out on an integration effort.

What a Project Leader Should Know

  • TALK TO CUSTOMERS. Determine what services, features, and products customers value most, such as free online banking or comprehensive banking statements.

  • INVENTORY ASSETS. Make a complete checklist of systems in place. Determine which can best be reused–even if it's from an acquired company.

  • TEST YOUR CHOICES. Test all products and services offered online, including changes in fees or new methods of calculating loan payments. Test in small, controlled markets first.

  • THINK BIG. The "best" system must handle more than what customer wants now, but what may be offered in the foreseeable future. Allow for volumes of combined companies' business; and growth.

  • AVOID OVERLOAD. Don't present too many changes to customers all at once. Introduce a few at a time. This helps avoid the biggest turnoff: System overload or failure.

    What a Ceo Should Know

  • BE REALISTIC. Set goals for savings or revenue gains that are achievable. If you don't deliver them, the merger may be seen as failed.

  • SET DEADLINES. You have more credibility if you say when goals will be achieved. Bank of America says it's on track to save $250 million in 2004 and $1.1 billion in 2005 from the Fleet merger.

  • GET ON YOUR FEET FAST. 75% of companies that succeed at integration assign a full-time technology executive to the project, Accenture finds. Only 40% do in unsuccessful efforts.

  • DO YOUR OWN REVIEW. Don't rely solely on what your project managers say customers want. Commission your own research.

  • PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Bank of America saw its share of Florida market fall 8% after a fast switchover. Customers were angered by long lines and unexpected fees.

    Expert Assessment

    "In Bank of America mergers prior to 1998, goals were aimed at driving out costs and reaching economies of scale. Did they do a good job of measuring and improving the customer experience? The answer is no. They lost customers.

    "Now, they're going about it much differently. They're going out and collecting data on customer satisfaction. They're trying to show that they can grow the business organically."

    —Bryan Carey Executive VP, Deleeuw Associates, change management consulting firm, Wayne, N.J.

    Managing What You Measure
    MeasureWhat It IsExample
    Customer Experience IndexRating of each aspect of service from treatment on phone to wait timesOn a scale of 30, a good rating for a branch is 25
    Account openings, closingsA gauge of customer satisfaction with integration efforts.250,000 net new accounts opened in former Fleet branches
    Number of products per customerA gauge of customer loyalty (and salesmanship).Average number of products sold per customer is six
    Cross-footprint transactionsTransactions made by existing customers in newly acquired branches and other "cross-foot-edBank of America says 25,000 deposits print transactions" now being completed per week
    OnlineCost reduction measure service usageEach month, 45% of customers use an online bank service


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