Building a local retail strategy
A Yorkshire Building Society case study

Page 1: Introduction

In the 21st century, consumers really do matter and businesses that wish to prosper must address their needs. This case study illustrates the high level of modern forms of customer service by showing how the Yorkshire Building Society has reshaped its retail activities around customer requirements. The study focuses on the development of a retail strategy based on identifying different customer...
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Page 2: Creating a High Street retail environment

This new way of thinking includes providing the right sort of retail environment immediately a customer enters a branch. Until recently, the emphasis in the Yorkshire Building Society has not only been on providing a pleasant customer reception area, but also providing "office space" for staff to carry out administrative tasks. This often led to what looked like an office environment in which...
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Page 3: A retail strategy to make best use of existing branches

In order to create an effective customer service environment, Yorkshire Building Society needed to examine the ways in which it operated. One of the most important issues was to consider how it could make best use of its existing branches to meet the needs of existing and potential customers in the local market. In order to do this it needed to find out what types of customers used its...
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Page 4: Customer characteristics

Financial Acorn was used to profile each branch in terms of existing and potential opportunities. Yorkshire Building Society was not surprised to find that branches varied considerably. For example, some branches had a high percentage of "comfortable investors", while others had a comparatively high percentage of "younger spenders". The profile found that there was a mix of all of the different...
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Page 5: Identifying market share

The next step in the research exercise was to examine the market share held by individual branches. In particular, this involved identifying whether a branch had a greater or smaller share of the market than would be expected, given its customer profile. Some branches had a higher share of the market than would have been expected, which indicated their strength. Others, however, had a lesser...
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Page 6: Identifying categories of branches

The exercise identified three main categories of branches, according to their particular characteristics. Not all branches fitted a category perfectly, of course, some were 'a little bit of this, and rather more of that'. Some branches were found to have many existing customers, giving a higher market share than would be expected. Customers in these branches typically buy a wide range of products...
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Page 7: Choosing appropriate strategies for the different categories

Having identified different categories of branches, it was easier to identify strategies that best suited the types of customers using these branches. For example: In branches with high percentages of existing customers it is possible to build on existing relationships through staff training and through communications that reassure customers that they have chosen products wisely. Many of these...
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Page 8: A pilot programme

To make sure the strategy works, it is first being piloted in selected branches across the UK. The selected branches are representative of the main categories of branch, and are located in the North-East, London and on the South Coast. The pilot tests have involved:changing the branch layoutadjusting the roles of branch personnel away from administrationtesting new sales approaches and using...
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Page 9: Branch layout

All of the Yorkshire Building Society branch layouts have been redesigned to be more customer friendly, not just through their products, but also in design and facilities. Creating a retail environment within a building society is not just about selling more products. Branches in the pilot programme have adopted approaches to branch design and layout, which maximise their ability to meet...
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Page 10: Personnel

In order to achieve a more customer-focused approach, staff have been trained in new operational methods. This has largely been achieved through staff development programmes and management training. Empowering individual branch managers to make decisions concerning their clients has given employees ownership of the change programme and therefore, has contributed to its success.
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Page 11: Media

In addition, the effectiveness of various types of local media in attracting sales into the branches is being evaluated. It is important to pilot different media in this way because a national advertising campaign is very expensive and can run into millions of pounds. This will also help Yorkshire Building Society maximise the effectiveness of its expenditure on advertising and marketing in the...
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Page 12: Conclusion

Yorkshire Building Society recognises the importance of targeting its resources at better serving the needs of individual customers by creating more differentiation between branches, and by providing a more welcoming retail environment in which customers feel valued. This case study provides an interesting example of sophisticated marketing techniques that help an organisation to find out far more...
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Related: Yorkshire Building Society
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