Major NZ bank ditches sales targets

John Hilton
by |

ANZ Bank New Zealand has announced it will remove all its frontline retail sales incentives from 1 October 2018.

The company has been trailing no sales targets in parts of their call centre this year and have been happy with the results.

This means that the “balanced scorecard” approach to frontline staff incentives, which included about 25% based on sales, will be changed, according to ANZ’s managing director retail and business banking Antonia Watson.

“In 2017 we changed our staff incentives to a ‘balanced scorecard’ with a mix of measures such as customer feedback, service, product knowledge and sales,” said Watson.

“People have about 75% of their incentive around non-sales targets and can get a bonus without meeting sales targets.

“As we’ve seen this financial year under the ‘balanced scorecard’ approach, most staff have embraced the cultural change away from sales targets while still ensuring the bank continues to be a high performing organisation.”

Watson added that there was some concern that sales targets might cause retail staff to sell products that don’t meet customers’ needs.

“We trust our staff to do the right thing by our customers and we know they consider customers’ genuine needs when they talk with them,” said Watson.

“Removing sales targets altogether will give our customers total confidence that we’re focused on doing the right thing by them.

“The environment is clearly changing and the feedback we’re getting and what we’re seeing in Australia suggests this is the right approach, regardless of how direct or indirect our sales targets were or how minimal.”

Watson said it was important that all customers who had ANZ New Zealand financial products had them for the right reasons and not because any staff member felt pressured – real or otherwise - to sell them to meet any targets.

“From the new financial year on 1 October 2018 frontline retail staff will still be incentivised around good customer service and other aspects of banking such as product knowledge but there will be no sales component,” said Watson.

“We have a culture in ANZ New Zealand where staff are focused on the well-being of our customers. If our customers are satisfied and get ahead in their lives because of the products we’ve given them then it’s in our long term interests too.

“But most importantly, we want our customers to know they can depend on us to do the right thing for them and that this is the absolute focus of our employees."

The news followed heated debate around sales targets in the banking sector in recent months, and years of campaigning by Union members.

FIRST Union National Finance Sector Organiser, Stephen Parry, said that a “toxic sales culture is rife in the New Zealand banking sector”, and is pleased to see that ANZ has signalled a major move in the right direction by removing sales targets.


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