October 03, 2013

Matt Chevalier has served in a number of positions in his 25-year career at TD Bank (headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine; $228 billion in assets), working as a teller, a technology systems analyst and a product manager. The common thread that runs through his many roles at TD, including his current job as senior VP of retail strategy and marketing, is a continual focus on improving the customer experience.

"For me, I always look for a challenge, and do I have the opportunity to impact the customer experience better in any kind of role?" Chevalier says.

Chevalier has brought that focus on customer experience to his role in the retail strategy and marketing group. In the past year, he has led a new effort by TD Bank to better align its sales goals for each branch with customer demand. While many banks are closing branches, TD plans to continue to open new ones, Chevalier says, and is balancing investments in its various retail delivery channels.

"You want to make sure that you have as much information as you can to make sure that you are really addressing those customer needs … to be able to align that with our activities and how we goal our employees. It puts customer experience in concert with how we measure employees and track goals," Chevalier explains.

To improve TD Bank's model for measuring sales performance, Chevalier started by gathering the necessary data to give the bank a better picture of its customers' needs. Chevalier and his team examined historical data on branch performance, then brought in a number of other data points, such as customers' commuting patterns, neighborhood demographics and competition in the area. TD also partnered with Novantas, a management consulting firm, to support the project's data needs, he says.

"We looked at the opportunity that each store location has by product to have a very prescribed goal that is aligned with the customers' needs," Chevalier says. "If I find out that I have a store where customers really need small-business accounts, then I'm going to ensure that I have the personnel there to serve that need, and we will adjust the goals for that branch accordingly."

Chevalier and his team built a new model for determining sales performance targets specifically for the branch channel based on their data inputs and analysis, and took the model to pilot last May. They selected a number of branches from a cross-section of markets across the country for the pilot, and then created a control group of branches with similar characteristics. The pilot lasted one quarter, and Chevalier says the results were promising.

"Employees were telling us, 'Wow, the goals just feel right.' And when the goals feel right, the employees who had goals that were too high feel like they have a fighting chance. Those that had goals that were too low have to push a little harder to ensure they respond to customer needs," Chevalier notes.

All of TD Bank's more than 1,300 U.S. branches adopted the new model at the beginning of August. "Although it's still early [since the project launch], we're seeing a pretty consistent lift [in sales] across the board," Chevalier shares. TD Canada Trust is already reviewing the new sales targets model for TD's Canadian branches, he adds.