Strategies for Tellers to Promote Interest in Your Credit Union’s Services

You’ve heard it a thousand times…”I can’t possibly cross-sell at the drive-up window!” “Everyone is in a rush.” “They’re always on their cellphones.” “If they wanted to talk about products and services they’d come inside.” Negative assumptions like these become all too commonly accepted in a branch environment. Once assumptions like these take root, they are incredibly difficult to overcome.

In truth, the assumption that “cross-selling through the drive-up is impossible” is costing financial institutions an incredible number of opportunities. Americans are using drive-ups now more than ever. An average branch’s drive-up accounts for a massive portion of its transaction totals. For instance, Jim Bishop, president of Barrington Bank and Trust in Barrington, IL, said that 40% of a teller’s total transactions occur at his bank’s drive-up (reference). When tellers fail to even try to cross-sell at the drive-up window, they are missing nearly 50% of the opportunities they are faced with!

The negative assumption about cross-selling through the drive-up causes additional issues as well. In our experience, tellers who are uncomfortable cross-selling products and services will regularly volunteer to work the drive-up so that they have an excuse for not reaching their goals. Afterall, if cross-selling at the drive-up is “impossible” and he/she always works the drive-up, how can he/she ever be held accountable for falling short of his/her cross-selling goals? Tellers we have spoken to about this issue have admitted that they’re willing to take on the additional transaction workload as long as they aren’t held to the same cross-selling goals as others. So, in addition to missing all important opportunities, employees may also be using the drive-up window as shelter from accountability, which could also cause tension in your branch (“Why does she always get to work the drive-up?!” says the employee who doesn’t like to cross-sell either…).

Why Drive-up Customers/Members May Be the Best to Cross-sell to:

Drive-up customers/members are typically always drive-up customers/members. In other words, they rarely, if ever, come into the branch. Meaning your employees have likely never attempted to cross-sell them anything. This is a huge opportunity! With few exceptions, all customers/members can benefit from at least one, if not many, of your financial institution’s products and services. If these customers/members have never been approached about any products/services since they opened their accounts, they present a huge opportunity to increase product referrals.

Further, many drive-up customers/members do not have accounts with your financial institution. They are simply using the drive-up to quickly cash a check drawn off of your institution. This is a great opportunity to tell them about the benefits of your institution and why they should bank with you. After all, you have them captive at this moment–this is the best time to talk to them!

So if the drive-up customers/members are prime candidates for product/service cross-selling, how can you do it successfully?

3 Proven Methods to Successfully Increase Cross-sales at the Drive-Up:


Focus on the auto.

One of the most common obstacles our clients tell us they face in cross-selling products and services is getting the conversation started. Truth be told, this is an even bigger problem through the drive-up, where tellers lack the face-to-face (without a window in between) interaction with a member. Conversations at the drive-up simply seem to be a bit cold.

That said, it is much easier to chat about things that are readily available. Tellers often tell us they feel comfortable talking to customers/members coming through the drive-up about their pets, their children, hobbies that are apparent by visible equipment, etc. These are conversations that are easy to get going because they come organically from what the teller can see in the customer’s/member’s vehicle.

What is the one thing that all customers/members that are coming through the drive-up have in common? An automobile! Discussing possible automobile solutions your institution can offer customers/members coming through the drive-up is an easy transition for tellers to make because it is organic. It doesn’t seem forced. Perhaps you have a special auto loan refinance rate. Or maybe you are partnered with or have an affiliated insurance company through your institution. This is the perfect time to mention how you might be able to save the member some money.

When the transition is easy, tellers are much more likely to start these all-important conversations. Instruct your tellers to focus on your auto-related products/services and they’ll be off and running in no time.

The power of buck slips.

Another common obstacle we hear from our clients is that people coming through the drive-up are “always in a rush.” Truth be told, oftentimes this is true. A major purpose of the drive-up is to help service those customers/members who don’t have the time to get out of their car. We want to be convenient for those customers/members. However, this isn’t an excuse to miss an opportunity to educate the customer/member about your products and services.

Buck slips provide your tellers the opportunity to start a conversation with a customer/member at the drive-up in a respectful manner. “Start” is the key word there because the representative only has the time to tell the customer/member that he/she is including the buck slip with the receipt and that the customer/member can look it over at his/her leisure. The buck slip will educate the customer/member when he/she isn’t in a rush. Tellers are setting themselves up for failure when they attempt to rush through a cross-sale and the features and benefits when a customer/member doesn’t have the time. By recognizing when a customer/member is in a rush, but still including an educational piece about a product or service that can be of benefit, your tellers are still taking advantage of the all-important opportunity.

Work with your marketing department (we can help with that too) on designing some professional looking buck slips for the products/services that you want to promote. You may have even more success if you offer some kind of incentive for people to sign up (i.e., a $25 gift card for anyone who opens a new checking account). Ideally, you’ll convince the person to pull around the building and come inside right there and then, and an incentive can help you do that.

When using buck slips, make sure your tellers are notifying the customer/member that they are including the buck slip with the receipt and why. Otherwise it will seem like marketing junk mail. However, if your tellers are telling the customer/member why they are including the buck slip, it will seem much more personal. For instance, a teller could say, “Thanks again for stopping by today to make this deposit to your savings account Mr. Smith. I did notice that you don’t currently have a checking account with us. I’m including some information about our checking account with your receipt. We’re running a special right now where you’ll get a $25 gift card if you open a checking account so I thought I’d let you know. Have a look at the information when you have a moment–I think it’d be a really great product for you. Have a great day!”

Roll up your sleeves and get behind the line yourself.

The most effective leaders lead by example. And any leader knows that you can’t ask your employees to do what you’d be unable or unwilling to do yourself. As they say, the proof is in the pudding–you may just need to prove to your employees that cross-selling through the drive-up is possible. Remember what we discussed earlier; the “cross-selling through the drive-up is impossible” assumption is genuinely pervasive. In our experience, it is widely accepted in retail banking as Truth. In the face of this assumption, your employees are much more likely to look to you to show them that it can be done.

Once you have the tools in place to help make your employees successful (i.e. buck slips), get behind the line and show them how it’s done. While your teller is processing the drive-up customer’s/member’s transaction, start a conversation regarding a product/service with the customer/member. Show your employee how easy it is to discuss auto loan refinances or auto insurance with a customer/member when he/she is sitting in a car. Show the teller how you would call attention to the buck slip you are including with the customer’s/member’s receipt. Ultimately, you want to show your tellers that this is possible and it is something you are comfortable doing. Seeing is believing!

Failure will undoubtedly be a part of this, and that’s OK too. It’s great for your team to see that even you get rejected when offering products and services. Show them how you are able to get past the rejection and keep on referring. Again, leading by example is one of the best tools you can use to get your team motivated.

Ultimately, compelling your tellers to cross-sell through the drive-up is a critical component of drastically increasing your branch’s performance. In failing to do so, you are missing an immeasurable opportunity. Just think of how many cars pass through your branch’s drive-up on a daily basis! As with most problems, successfully cross-selling at the drive-up just takes a little thinking outside of the box. Have your team brainstorm some of their own ideas–you’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

Source: FrontLine Service Solutions – Hinsdale MA