In April, we launched our new field team structure, through which every branch now has a named contact if they ever need to help, have a question or need support to grow their business.
This week, we share the story of Stuart Oliver from Chester Road West branch, in Sunderland, North East England and his Area Manager Richard Fleetwood.
They have been working together over the last few months and Stuart is now starting to see banking services success at the branch.
“I’ve been working with my Area Manager Richard since April.
Before I started working with Richard, everything felt like a challenge. I’d been to some Post Office meetings over the years since taking the branch on. We’ve had it in the family for around 50 years all in all.
It just felt like we were being told what we were doing wrong and just to sell, sell, sell. I couldn’t get the products I wanted to sell initially, like lottery (which I have now managed to get) and passports which I haven’t yet.
But I knew the branch had a lot of potential, it is in a good position on the main road on the edge of Sunderland town centre.
So when Richard my new Area Manager got in touch, I was keen to hear his ideas on how to expand the business and boost our income.
We had a couple of meetings and looked at our sales reports. Then I went to the
Quarterly Business Planning Event with Richard, Craig Perrins our Regional Manager and my assistant branch manager, Louise Thorne.
Afterwards, we got straight onto putting the advice from the event into action and visited local stores and businesses.
All four businesses we contacted when doing our prospecting have started using us immediately, and were really impressed with the service, saying how much easier it was and that they will definitely be back again.
Each business banked £2-3k and took roughly £300 in change. I should see £1000 in additional remuneration by the end of the year which is great.
I have plans to speak to another 6 businesses soon. I want to do it in phases so I can manage demand and increase it steadily.
The business I’ve picked up from local taxi drivers has been crazy, I love it! It’s so easy. There’s no forms to fill out, it’s quick, we earn good money from it, and we are getting busier already!
Assistant manager Louise is brand new to Post Office, previously she worked for Spar. So the Quarterly business planning was her first training event she had been to with Post Office.
She said the workshop was great, she was really energized by it, but she was more excited about the success she had visiting local businesses.
Louise went out a couple of days after the workshop while it was quiet in branch to six local businesses, from the local chemist to the dentist. She couldn’t believe the reception she got. Every business thought the banking services offered at Chester Road West were fantastic and couldn’t believe how easy it was.
One customer said “Why has no one told me about this before?! I’ll be in next week!”
Another customer regularly leaves her business early to do a 14 mile round trip (losing an hour of time she could be working in her business), to bank at her nearest bank branch in a shopping centre! So she said she would be in too. This customer even said to Louise “I think this is a fantastic idea! Is it new?”
“Stuart is the Postmaster at Chester Road West. When I met him in April as part of my new role, he’d had his branch up for sale for a long time.
After a couple of good branch visits where we highlighted some opportunities to develop Mails capability, he and his brand new member of staff, Louise, attended a Quarterly business planning (QBP) event in Durham in August.
The meeting was on the theme ‘back to basics’, and focused on the areas to prioritise in their branches. Namely, Mails, Banking and Travel.
We had a dedicated session on banking, about the increases to remuneration, and how this was a great news for them. We also discussed the lack of customer awareness for both business and personal banking at Post Office and how we can make more customers aware.
I shared some observations from my experience in the previous few months, talking to customers in branch, but also going to banks and business on our local high streets to generate higher levels of awareness. Word of mouth is still the best of form of advertising!
We covered what materials they would need (just two leaflets and a smile), and how they too, could increase awareness of this potentially huge footfall driver and boost income.
We also covered some quick tips, like how to set customers up with a change card, what ‘change giving LITE’ is and how it works, and mentioned the note counters available through the NFSP.
Have you had success with prospecting at your branch? Share your story and tips in the comments, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.