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Solutions That Inspire Change

Have a project in mind? We take a comprehensive approach to marketing, strategic and financial planning. 

 

Explore these 15 select solutions to achieve your business goals and objectives.

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Business Planning

What Type of Strategic
Plan Do You Need?

What's the purpose? 

Who's the audience?

What resources do you have?

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Business Planning

What's Required for a Business Plan?

Historical and Projected Financials, Business and Industry Overview, and Management Evaluation

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Business Planning

Jump Start Your Business Planning Process

A detailed list of questions business owners should answer to help complete a business plan.

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Business Presentation

Pitch Your Business Idea to Lenders and Investors

Elevator Pitch, Executive Summary and Presentation Deck to tell your story.

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Income

Attract, Retain, and Grow Customer Relationships

Ways to figure out which customers may leave and how to save the relationship.

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Customer Experience

Great Customer Experiences = Real Money

Research shows delivering remarkable customer experiences builds business value.

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Customer Experience

Practice the Customer Service Golden Rules

Customer criteria to rate your using your products /services - Successful,

Easy, and Happy.

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Customer Onboarding

Win Customer Loyalty
from the Start

Customer criteria to rate your using your products /services - Successful,

Easy, and Happy.

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Customer Experience

Simpler Processes. More Smiles. In Action.

Distinguish your business from the competition through customer experience.

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Customer Service

Meet Your Money Maker Advertising Campaign

Focus on solving customer problems not product features and functions.

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Process Improvement

Customer Issue Resolution Process Execution

Define, analyze, and eliminate customer pain points.  Then prevent future issues.

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Operations

Help Desk Call Center Quality Improvement

Don't put your customers on hold while you search for a solution.  Create Quick Reference Guide.

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Operations

We Serve Colleagues Across the Organization

Breaking down the silos between the front line and back office improves customer experience.

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Operations

Frontline Employees
Make A Difference

Finding the right customer-first employees is key to building your business.

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Risk Management

Know Your Regulatory
Risk Profile

Develop processes to ensure compliance with industry regulations.

 

What Type of Business Plan Do You Need?

Whether you need a plan to raise capital or you want one as a strategic tool, Next Level Consulting efficiently guides you through the process of crafting a plan to fit your needs.

There are many things for you to consider when developing a business plan and financial projections. For example, you will need to factor the business plan purpose, audience, and your available resources to determine the level of effort and time commitment. Here are just a few of the things to think about.

The answers to these questions will determine whether your plan will be a two- to three-page summary or a comprehensive document well over twenty pages. Next Level Consulting will help you answer these questions and produce what you need.

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What is the purpose for putting together a business plan and projections?


It is to:

  • Apply for a loan

  • Obtain investor financing

  • Gain executive and board approval

  • Focus management team on strategic priorities

  • Measure financial and operating performance

  • Build value and position the company for sale




Who will be reviewing the business plan and projections? What are their expectations?


  • Lenders

  • Private equity firms, wealthy investors, friends and family

  • Board of Directors

  • Prospective employees

  • Potential buyers

  • Landlords




What internal resources do you have to complete the business plan and financial projections? Will you have to tap external resources to help you complete some parts of the plan?


Elements include:

  • Historical financials – income statement, balance sheet, cash flow, and tax returns
  • Ability to build three-, five-, or ten-year financial projections
  • Informational research on the industry, competitors, and trends
  • Management experience and competence in marketing, finance, operations, and production





 
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PROBLEM


Companies make banking complex for consumers and businesses. Bank language and terminology is confusing. Statements and letters make it hard to figure out what is happening with accounts and services. Delays in notifications don’t allow customers to be proactive. Disclosures and other information are not written in a friendly manner. Product and service descriptions are inconsistent. Systems are siloed and don’t easily share information across channels so customer facing employees don’t have a full picture of the relationship leading to misinformation and the customer having to repeat themselves.




SOLUTION


Gather managers and employees in the room and role-play the correct behaviors and the processes achieve. Then get them to brainstorm on how to change. Below are some examples of customer-centered principles in action.

Make It Simple

  • Cut the clutter and complexity to save the customer time and effort
  • Be straightforward, clear, and cut the industry speak – blah, blah, blah
  • Set clear expectations about what we are delivering

Make Them Smile

  • Make the customer feel welcome and taken care of
  • Be informal, friendly, and fun – sure don’t intimidate.
  • Do more than the customer expects to create a great experience

See It Through

  • Take personal responsibility to make sure a customer issue is taken care of – no saying its not my job
  • Work together no matter who you are or where you sit to make this happen – no finger pointing
  • See every customer issue as an opportunity for customer smiles




RESULT


Each manager across the organization used the elements to evaluate how well their team was executing “Simpler Banking, More Smiles” and was able to identify and prioritize initiatives to change policies, procedures and guidelines to align with the brand.

Further the information was shared with employees to gather their feedback on ways operations could be changed to support the brand.

Ideas continually popped in every employee and managers’ heads on how they could personally deliver on the brand promise. Change came about more quickly and messaging was consistent across the organization. Instead of the canned responses at every interaction, associates were able to customize their interactions to the customers wants and needs at the time.





What’s in the Business Plan?

Elements of a business plan and financial projections are generally the same. The level of detail is different depending on its intended use and audience.

Once you have evaluated your internal resources, contact us to work alongside your management team to fill any gaps and get the business plan and financial projections done in the required timeframe. Lists of the areas we can address in a business plan follows.

 

Jump Start Your Business Planning

Potential lenders and investors will need a good understanding of your business to make their decision.

To make sure the information you provide best describes your enterprise, prepare answers to these questions.

If you need help drafting answers, we’re here to help.

Next Level Consulting_Business Owner Questionnaire_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


Our branch operations team was tasked with updating the branch audit process to improve efficiency. Under the existing system each branch was reviewed annually. Audit teams reviewed 72 deposit activities and another 64 lending operations process performed daily in each branch. Each audit took several days to complete and a findings report was produced.




SOLUTION


To streamline the process and prioritize the audits, the team:

  • Reviewed existing audits to identify items that frequently received a fail or unacceptable rating and areas of the country that had the poorest ratings

  • Evaluated the relative importance of each item and developed a risk rating for each that reflected the likelihood of regulatory sanctions and fines, financial loss, negative reputational impact, and general operating risk

  • Developed a scorecard to provide more precise reporting and focus management attention on those items and areas of the country that posed the greatest risk




RESULT


Reduced the total number of annual branch audits each year and raised performance of high-risk locations. A new ratings system was developed and approved by internal audit and the regulators that created three branch classifications – “Good, Acceptable, and Poor.”

Those that received a ‘Good’ rating were moved to an 18-month review schedule. Acceptable rated branches continued to be reviewed on a 12-month basis with an action plan in place to move them to a Good rating. Poor performing branches were put on a 6-month review schedule and project team member was assigned to the branch to work with branch managers to institute best practices found in high performing banking centers.

The system allowed the auditors to focus on the greatest risk areas while providing much needed, targeted guidance to improve performance.





 
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Elevator Pitch. Executive Summary. Presentation Deck.

Now you have your detailed business plan.  It’s time to raise capital.  You’ll need a couple of documents based off the information in the business plan.  Each one is a more concise summary of the key elements and value proposition outlined in the plan. 

 

Most likely your initial contact will be the Elevator Pitch.  Think of a short elevator ride where you have the just a few moments, maybe minutes, to get an investor to consider your project or a referral partner to pass your project idea on to someone that has the capital you need. 

 

If they’re interested, you’ll probably be asked to send them an Executive Summary.  This two-page document is a very concise overview of key information contained in the business plan.

When they want to know more, you’ll be invited to make your in person pitch in front of one or more investment partners.  For that you’ll need a PowerPoint (or equivalent) presentation deck.  The essential elements of the presentation include one slide on each of the following:

  1. Introduction of the business

  2. Team Profiles highlighting how talent is aligned to business needs

  3. Product Description of key features, functions, and uses

  4. Market Analysis of trends and growth opportunities

  5. Business Model summarizing target customers, value proposition, delivery channels, go-to-market strategy, critical operations, strategic partnerships, major expenses, and revenue streams.

  6. Competitors and the business SWOT

  7. Financial Summary of historical and projected income, cash flow, and balance sheet, along with an estimated business valuation

  8. Conclusion and “The Ask”

 

We’re adept at extracting critical details from the business plan to craft an engaging Executive Summary and Presentation Deck.  We’ll also help you practice telling your story.

Pitch It!

 

Stop
Attrition

With average customer turnover estimated at 30%, finding a way to attract, retain, and build customer relationships is key to financial success and provides a competitive advantage.

Key Questions as recommended by Jeannie Bliss

PROBLEM


The current welcome experience was impersonal, didn’t provide information on how the company’s products and services met customer needs and sent inconsistent messages.




SOLUTION


Customer experience team examined what happens in the first 90 days – each touch point for customer interaction – to design a better onboarding process. Multiple opportunities were identified to streamline and improve the welcome experience including:

  • Deliver more personalized welcome communication that used the customer’s name, product or service purchased, channel used, and a specific contact for questions or problems

  • Consolidate communications when multiple products or services are purchased

  • Create a welcome package that gives the customer an overview of the long-term relationship and plants the seed for future purchases – move from transaction to relationship communication

  • Establish set intervals to reach out to customers by specific relationship managers. Provide them with consistent messaging and prepare relationship managers to respond to any issues raised in the discussion.




RESULT


  • Eliminated unwanted, impersonal, and unnecessary “welcome” form letters for significant cost savings.

  • Gave the customer personal contact that opened the opportunity for cross-sell.

  • Allowed relationship manager to quickly resolve any onboarding issues before the customer even considered leaving.





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Who are your customers?


  • Research demographics, characteristics, and trends

  • Identify behaviors and preferences

  • Create an overview of existing segmentation

  • Prepare profitability analysis of customers by segment demographics




Which are you winning or losing?


  • Investigate characteristics of new, leaving, and those who choose competitors

  • Determine which segments you’re attracting

  • Uncover which segments and profit groups you’re losing

  • Ascertain if the competition acquiring different types of customers and why




Where are the opportunities?


  • Examine high-level anger-makers, concerns, and unmet needs

  • Compare product and channel usage trends

  • Study what’s driving customer desire for change?

  • Develop insights and hypotheses about potential target groups




How can we attract target customers?


  • Conduct a deep dive to discover customer needs in greater detail

  • Assess and align the needs with the company’s value proposition

  • Identify potential target groups with the most promising opportunities

  • Design a new marketing and promotions campaign messaging





 
Next Level Consulting_Customer Experience Equals Real Money_Desktop.jpg

Real Money

Extraordinary Customer Experiences = Real Money.

How are you outpacing the competition? Forrester Research correlation of its Customer Experience Index with stock market values found that over time delivering consistently good customer experiences generates higher multiples and greater enterprise value.

By starting with the simple fixes and later tackling the big, complex customer issues represents the greatest untapped source of revenue increase and expense reduction. By removing pain points, you:

  • Lower service costs by creating fewer problems

  • Reduce customer defections and increase incremental purchases

  • Grow sales by word-of-mouth and online referrals

  • Real money builds enterprise value.

 

All the cost savings and revenue growth produced by focusing on the customer translates into greater profitability and better returns. Plus a positive buzz from customers gets investor interest to find out just what management is up to.

 
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The Golden Rule

What’s the customer experience rating criteria?

Your customers are continuously evaluating all the interactions they have with your business.

In doing so they use these three measures to evaluate the customer experience.

Got It Done!

Customers want 24 x 7 x 365 omnichannel access to your products and services so they can start in one channel, continue to another, and finish where it is convenient.

Successful

It Was Simple.

Each customer interaction should be empowering by providing intuitive

self-service tools and

clear concise information to make informed decisions.

Easy

Made Me Smile

Hands down customers want consistent execution of the basics by engaged and excited employees that know what they are doing and take ownership of the customer experience.

Happy

 
Next Level Consulting_90 Day New Customer Onboarding_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


The current welcome experience was impersonal, didn’t provide information on how the company’s products and services met customer needs and sent inconsistent messages.




SOLUTION


Customer experience team examined what happens in the first 90 days – each touch point for customer interaction – to design a better onboarding process. Multiple opportunities were identified to streamline and improve the welcome experience including:

  • Deliver more personalized welcome communication that used the customer’s name, product or service purchased, channel used, and a specific contact for questions or problems

  • Consolidate communications when multiple products or services are purchased

  • Create a welcome package that gives the customer an overview of the long-term relationship and plants the seed for future purchases – move from transaction to relationship communication

  • Establish set intervals to reach out to customers by specific relationship managers. Provide them with consistent messaging and prepare relationship managers to respond to any issues raised in the discussion.




RESULT


  • Eliminated unwanted, impersonal, and unnecessary “welcome” form letters for significant cost savings.

  • Gave the customer personal contact that opened the opportunity for cross-sell.

  • Allowed relationship manager to quickly resolve any onboarding issues before the customer even considered leaving.





Welcome
Aboard!

What happens in the first 90 days of a customer experience with you often sets the tone for the relationship. So it is important to get off to a good start.

 

Simpler ProcessesMore Smiles.

There is not much difference in the products and services financial institutions offer. What distinguishes one from another is the customer experience.

 

Across industries, among various products and services, people’s lives are made simpler when firms excel in focusing on making it easy and enjoyable to do business with your company.

Next Level Consluting_Simplier Processes More Smiles_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


Companies make banking complex for consumers and businesses. Bank language and terminology is confusing. Statements and letters make it hard to figure out what is happening with accounts and services. Delays in notifications don’t allow customers to be proactive. Disclosures and other information are not written in a friendly manner. Product and service descriptions are inconsistent. Systems are siloed and don’t easily share information across channels so customer facing employees don’t have a full picture of the relationship leading to misinformation and the customer having to repeat themselves.




SOLUTION


Gather managers and employees in the room and role-play the correct behaviors and the processes achieve. Then get them to brainstorm on how to change. Below are some examples of customer-centered principles in action.

Make It Simple

  • Cut the clutter and complexity to save the customer time and effort
  • Be straightforward, clear, and cut the industry speak – blah, blah, blah
  • Set clear expectations about what we are delivering

Make Them Smile

  • Make the customer feel welcome and taken care of
  • Be informal, friendly, and fun – sure don’t intimidate.
  • Do more than the customer expects to create a great experience

See It Through

  • Take personal responsibility to make sure a customer issue is taken care of – no saying its not my job
  • Work together no matter who you are or where you sit to make this happen – no finger pointing
  • See every customer issue as an opportunity for customer smiles




RESULT


Each manager across the organization used the elements to evaluate how well their team was executing “Simpler Banking, More Smiles” and was able to identify and prioritize initiatives to change policies, procedures and guidelines to align with the brand.

Further the information was shared with employees to gather their feedback on ways operations could be changed to support the brand.

Ideas continually popped in every employee and managers’ heads on how they could personally deliver on the brand promise. Change came about more quickly and messaging was consistent across the organization. Instead of the canned responses at every interaction, associates were able to customize their interactions to the customers wants and needs at the time.





 

Meet Your Money Maker

Instead of selling

product and service benefits,

solve customer problems.

Next Level Consulting_Meet Your Money Maker_Desktop.jpg

Who are your customers?


  • Research demographics, characteristics, and trends

  • Identify behaviors and preferences

  • Create an overview of existing segmentation

  • Prepare profitability analysis of customers by segment demographics




Which are you winning or losing?


  • Investigate characteristics of new, leaving, and those who choose competitors

  • Determine which segments you’re attracting

  • Uncover which segments and profit groups you’re losing

  • Ascertain if the competition acquiring different types of customers and why




Where are the opportunities?


  • Examine high-level anger-makers, concerns, and unmet needs

  • Compare product and channel usage trends

  • Study what’s driving customer desire for change?

  • Develop insights and hypotheses about potential target groups




How can we attract target customers?


  • Conduct a deep dive to discover customer needs in greater detail

  • Assess and align the needs with the company’s value proposition

  • Identify potential target groups with the most promising opportunities

  • Design a new marketing and promotions campaign messaging





 

Customer Issue Resolution

Issues are going to come up. How you respond to them can make all the difference.

Next Level Consulting_Customer Issue Resolution_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


Information about problems is siloed in different departments. Resolving the issues often required coordination of multiple stakeholders including legal, accounting, technology, and compliance.




SOLUTION


Develop a central repository to report all problems as they arise, an issue resolution process and a way for stakeholders to work together to correct the problem and communicate the results to the customer. The Customer Issue Resolution process spanned these five phases.

  1. Define Issue – Identify, describe and escalate. Complete CIR form and submit it to the database.

  2. Analyze Impact – Determine which customers are impacted and the severity of the situation.

  3. Resolve Problem – Designate what stakeholders should be involved and jointly develop a resolution plan. Where appropriate, pilot and test the recommended solution. Implement the plan.

  4. Build Controls – Investigate the root cause(s) of the initial problem and institute controls to prevent it from happening again.

  5. Validate and Close – Review customer feedback (surveys, calls, letters, emails, social media, etc.) to determine if issue has been resolved to the customers’ satisfaction, if there are recurring incidents or if the solution had unintended consequences. When issue is clearly resolved, prepare wrap-up documentation and remove issue from active CIR list.




RESULT


The company had fewer management surprises, recovered from their mistakes more quickly and was able to provide a consistent customer focused response that preserved relationships and built customer loyalty.





 

Help Desk Call Center Quality

Technology is great, but sometimes you just want to get an answer and move on. Don’t put customers on hold.

Next Level Consulting_Help Desk Call Center Quality_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


The current welcome experience was impersonal, didn’t provide information on how the company’s products and services met customer needs and sent inconsistent messages.




SOLUTION


Customer experience team examined what happens in the first 90 days – each touch point for customer interaction – to design a better onboarding process. Multiple opportunities were identified to streamline and improve the welcome experience including:

  • Deliver more personalized welcome communication that used the customer’s name, product or service purchased, channel used, and a specific contact for questions or problems

  • Consolidate communications when multiple products or services are purchased

  • Create a welcome package that gives the customer an overview of the long-term relationship and plants the seed for future purchases – move from transaction to relationship communication

  • Establish set intervals to reach out to customers by specific relationship managers. Provide them with consistent messaging and prepare relationship managers to respond to any issues raised in the discussion.




RESULT


  • Eliminated unwanted, impersonal, and unnecessary “welcome” form letters for significant cost savings.

  • Gave the customer personal contact that opened the opportunity for cross-sell.

  • Allowed relationship manager to quickly resolve any onboarding issues before the customer even considered leaving.





 

We Serve Colleagues Across the Organization

Great customer experiences are often the result of everyone being on the same page and working together to get things done.

Next Level Consulting_Frontline Back Office Coordination_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


Companies make banking complex for consumers and businesses. Bank language and terminology is confusing. Statements and letters make it hard to figure out what is happening with accounts and services. Delays in notifications don’t allow customers to be proactive. Disclosures and other information are not written in a friendly manner. Product and service descriptions are inconsistent. Systems are siloed and don’t easily share information across channels so customer facing employees don’t have a full picture of the relationship leading to misinformation and the customer having to repeat themselves.




SOLUTION


Gather managers and employees in the room and role-play the correct behaviors and the processes achieve. Then get them to brainstorm on how to change. Below are some examples of customer-centered principles in action.

Make It Simple

  • Cut the clutter and complexity to save the customer time and effort
  • Be straightforward, clear, and cut the industry speak – blah, blah, blah
  • Set clear expectations about what we are delivering

Make Them Smile

  • Make the customer feel welcome and taken care of
  • Be informal, friendly, and fun – sure don’t intimidate.
  • Do more than the customer expects to create a great experience

See It Through

  • Take personal responsibility to make sure a customer issue is taken care of – no saying its not my job
  • Work together no matter who you are or where you sit to make this happen – no finger pointing
  • See every customer issue as an opportunity for customer smiles




RESULT


Each manager across the organization used the elements to evaluate how well their team was executing “Simpler Banking, More Smiles” and was able to identify and prioritize initiatives to change policies, procedures and guidelines to align with the brand.

Further the information was shared with employees to gather their feedback on ways operations could be changed to support the brand.

Ideas continually popped in every employee and managers’ heads on how they could personally deliver on the brand promise. Change came about more quickly and messaging was consistent across the organization. Instead of the canned responses at every interaction, associates were able to customize their interactions to the customers wants and needs at the time.





 
Next Level Consulting_Employee Engagement_Desktop.jpg

Empowering employees takes considerable effort, but is worth getting right because employees are often the primary point of customer contact, employment costs are typically one of the largest business expenses, and experienced, productive employees are valuable assets.

By selecting employees with the right temperament, providing them with the knowledge, skills and techniques to perform to their full potential, and performance goals and incentives you build employee excitement and desire to deliver extraordinary customer experience with each interaction.

Let us help you find the right person for the job!

Fearsome Front Line

 

Calculated Risk

Compliance with regulatory requirements is a key priority for financial institutions.  When you have over 2,500 branches across the country offering multiple products and services over several platforms through many channels, risk is complex.

Next Level Consulting_Regulatory Compliance Audit_Desktop.jpg

PROBLEM


Our branch operations team was tasked with updating the branch audit process to improve efficiency. Under the existing system each branch was reviewed annually. Audit teams reviewed 72 deposit activities and another 64 lending operations process performed daily in each branch. Each audit took several days to complete and a findings report was produced.




SOLUTION


To streamline the process and prioritize the audits, the team:

  • Reviewed existing audits to identify items that frequently received a fail or unacceptable rating and areas of the country that had the poorest ratings

  • Evaluated the relative importance of each item and developed a risk rating for each that reflected the likelihood of regulatory sanctions and fines, financial loss, negative reputational impact, and general operating risk

  • Developed a scorecard to provide more precise reporting and focus management attention on those items and areas of the country that posed the greatest risk




RESULT


Reduced the total number of annual branch audits each year and raised performance of high-risk locations. A new ratings system was developed and approved by internal audit and the regulators that created three branch classifications – “Good, Acceptable, and Poor.”

Those that received a ‘Good’ rating were moved to an 18-month review schedule. Acceptable rated branches continued to be reviewed on a 12-month basis with an action plan in place to move them to a Good rating. Poor performing branches were put on a 6-month review schedule and project team member was assigned to the branch to work with branch managers to institute best practices found in high performing banking centers.

The system allowed the auditors to focus on the greatest risk areas while providing much needed, targeted guidance to improve performance.