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Embracing Customer Service in Retail Banking: An Analysis of TD Canada Trust.

Byline: Moez Allidina

Banking has always played an important role in the personal, commercial and economic development of a country. Modern day banking of the 21st century is very competitive and different from the traditional banking of the yesteryears where banks were known only for their basic function of trade and credit. Today, as banks continue to innovate by providing new products and services, they face the challenge of embracing customer service into their day-to-day banking. The case study explores the challenges faced by TD Canada Trust, a division of Toronto-Dominion Bank Group, and how it evolved by remaining steadfast to its founding principles.

In times of economic recession where bankruptcy is on the rise, businesses are shutting down and most banks are struggling; it is not a wise decision to multiply business units and create new vacancies. Yet, TD Canada Trust chose to be different by emphasizing and reemphasizing its commitment to customer service. Further, the case analyzes how this bold move allowed TDCT to increase their market share and become one of the leading banks in Canada.

Keywords: TDCT, TD Canada Trust, Customer Service, Banking.

Introduction

The main purpose of this research is to explore the importance of customer service in retail banking as it applies to the competitive banking industry of Canada.

Company Overview

Toronto-Dominion Bank Financial Group is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario - Canada and has had its fair share of challenges, growth and opportunities. The Toronto-Dominion Bank is a chartered bank under the provisions of the Bank Act (Canada). It was formed on February 1, 1955 through the amalgamation of The Bank of Toronto, chartered in 1855, and The Dominion Bank, chartered in 1869 (TD, 2012). Both the amalgamated banks have their success factors and philosophy, allowing the bank to remain innovative and deliver the best in both products and services. Even before the amalgamation of the two banks, the ideology they believed in was to provide dedicated service and to contribute towards the development of society. Today, this ideology has become a reality and is found in every aspect of TD's business including all subsidiaries of TD Bank Financial Group.

Being amongst the top 10 bank in North America in terms of assets, deposits, employees and market capitalization (TD, 2012), the facts and figures of the bank are also overwhelming. In 2010, TD delivered $5.2 billion in adjusted profit and its retail operation posted $4.8 billion in adjusted earnings. TD offers a full range of financial products and services to approximately 21.5 million customers worldwide through four key business lines: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth and Insurance, Wholesale Banking and U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking (TD, 2012). TD Canada Trust is a division of Toronto- Dominion Bank's first business line, which serves more than 11 million customers nationally (TD, 2012). TD Green Machine, Telephone and Internet Banking, and both Personal and Commercial Retail Banking are just some of its many financial products and services that make TD Canada Trust one of the leading banks in Canada.

Literature Review

Several researches have been conducted on challenges of competitive banking, customer perceptions in the banking sector, determinants of customer satisfaction and service quality in retail banking. However, while trends exist within the banking sector and modern banking has evolved overtime, there is not much research that is pragmatic and concentrates on a particular bank such as TD Canada Trust.

Of several relevant literatures, the first is found in the domain of marketing, which suggests what banks must focus on to sustain business relationships and grow customer loyalty. Researchers have discussed the link between customer satisfaction, retention and service, which are determinants that lead to profitability. Conversely, the increasingly competitive environment poses challenges to bankers as many believe that the competition may threaten the business relationships (Boot and Schmetis, 1998). Relationships facilitate a continuous flow of information but have no obvious solution because an observation shows that the negative spiral might be self-inflicted when banks are cutting back on information acquisition as it may harm the relationship (Boot and Schmetis, 1998).

It is clear that there is a major need for transparency within banking to stir loyal customers. Since customer satisfaction and retention are critical for retail banks, existing evidence suggests that increases in customer satisfaction are likely to result from improvements in service quality, service features and customer complaint handling (Levesque and McDougal, 1996). Retail banking has transformed itself from traditional to modern but the challenge facing all banks and their management is to exceed customer expectations so it can not only increase customer loyalty but also profitability. Hence, it requires greater understanding of customer needs and increasing the service quality by offering fast and convenient banking solutions.

On the contrary, the second relevant literature is found in the service management domain and argues that by and large, retail banks are struggling with meeting customer needs and improving service quality. Problems such as telephone banking service, privacy and security of funds to provide peace of mind, long queue and wait-time at all branches, reduced banking hours and above all, accuracy of transactions are commonly found paradoxes that deters customers. Factors such as commitment, attention, friendliness, care, courtesy, responsiveness, flexibility, competence, comfort, communication, availability, access, cleanliness, security, reliability, functionality, integrity and aesthetics have a considerable impact on the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of customers (Johnston, 1997). To ensure that all of the above-mentioned factors are present in day-to-day business, retail banks must capitalize on empowering their employees.

In fact, there is concrete evidence that in service-based industries, satisfied employees make for satisfied customers (Malhotra and Mukherjee, 2004). Both literatures, namely, marketing and service management infer that customer satisfaction is essential for the growth and prosperity of retail banks.

Analysis

Competing Amongst "The Big Five"

TD Canada Trust is amongst the five of the leading banks in Canada known as "The Big Five." The others include Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal and Scotiabank. All banks have their own strengths, but what distinguishes TDCT from its competitors is consistency. TDCT has consistently delivered exceptional customer service and goes above and beyond to ensure the utmost satisfaction of customers. With fierce competition and similar line of business, it is always a challenge to offer a new product or service to the wide customer base.

According to TD Canada Trust's Annual Report 2011, TDCT posted record earnings of $3,611 million, which had increased 17% from 2010 (TD, 2012). It is no secret that heightened competition makes it difficult to sustain market share gains and distinctive competitive advantage over the long term (TD, 2012), but along with the growth of Net Income posted from 2009-2011, TDCT opened 24 new branches in 2011 and continues the momentum by achieving similar milestones and successes in 2012 by proving to be "The Better Bank," which has become more of a slogan for TDCT. Yet, the true challenge lies in maintaining the competitive advantage over "The Big Five."

What gives TDCT a competitive advantage is the fact that all new and upcoming branches are located in prime locations that are open longer than any other bank and where customers are guaranteed the best service. Another reason why TDCT has a competitive advantage is that it continues to reinvest by opening of new branches. Where most banks retrenched during the recession period in late-2000s, TDCT was still innovating with their branches and it continues to do so in 2012 by making banking attractive and comfortable. For TD Bank's CEO Ed Clarke and his leadership team, the TD shield has a strong commitment towards customers and shareholders and with new branches, better hours and consistent service, it is hard to see why a bank like TD Canada Trust cannot take market share (TD, 2012).

Traditional vs. Modern Day Banking

Today, as we know there are two types of banking realities prevailing in our society - traditional and modern. The dynamics of traditional banking is the age- old customer-banker relation that involves processing transaction. However, with changes and development of technology, it has become increasingly difficult to live in a box and follow the robot-like traditional way of banking that involves more paper and clutter but no convenience and peace of mind. Modern day banking, on the other hand, has to do with technology and the use of Internet, which has promoted a rather convenient way of banking. Many believe that modern day banking is similar to electronic (e-banking) banking due to its limitation of banking on-line, TDCT believes in making banking personal by remaining customer-focused.

Over the years, there have been many debates on the advantages and disadvantages of both the types of banking but an undeniable fact is that today, life has become more challenging. Contrary to the opinions and criticism of others about the problems of traditional and modern day banking, TDCT wanted to be different by proving itself to be "The Modern Bank" and not letting go of its roots from yesteryears. The Research and Development (RandD) division of TD Bank Financial Group has conducted a number of studies and surveys to learn that people, in general, would like to experience an easier way to banking. Customers loathe working around the traditionally short banking hours that caters to the banking staff alone and ignoring the importance of customers and their schedule.

TD Canada Trust has always been different and in its quest to be "The Modern Bank", TD Bank Financial Group has transitioned in every aspect of its business, especially retail banking. Moving with technology and vowing to be "The Modern Bank", TDCT has won many accolades but today, the bank wants to make its mark as "The Better Bank", and their promise of a legendary customer experiences speaks for itself.

For instance, in the mid-2000, TDCT was largely criticized by fellow-banks for making banking hours more flexible. Banks were accustomed to working short banking hours and enjoyed the extra leisure time, but with the concept of "extended banking hours" that catered to both employees and customers alike, TDCT made it clear why it was a better bank. Having extended banking hours was never a new concept for TD Canada Trust as before the amalgamation, Canada Trust was already open longer than other banks. Today, modern day banking has received a new meaning and the 'flexibility' factor has forced other banks to do the same in order to remain in competition. However, in spite of modified banking hours of other banks, TDCT is ahead of the competition by operating longer than any other bank in Canada. Apart from 24-hour on-line banking year round, TDCT is open for business on a 7-day basis, with the following hours of operation:

Importance of Customer Service

With intense competition in the Canadian banking industry, customer service plays the role of an "Ace of Spades." The significance of happy customers can be measured from their frequent visits to the bank, the level of comfort that customers feel in talking about their personal lives such as family and work, or simply referring their family and friends to the bank. In the case of TD Canada Trust, the legendary customer service that is offered at all levels of the bank is remarkable because every customer that walks into the branch is welcomed with a smile. This smile is genuine and all employees of TDCT make it a point to use body language to send signals to the customers that they are appreciated.

Whether it is because of a long queue of customers waiting for their turn or because a customer happens to pass by an associate or an office in the branch; every customer is treated with respect and appreciation for choosing TDCT as their bank. TDCT along with TD Bank Financial Group follow seven guiding principles (TD, 2012):

1. Deliver Legendary Customer Experiences

2. Be an Extraordinary Place to Work

3. Operate with Excellence

4. Understand TD's Business

5. Take Only Risks that TD Understands and Can Manage

6. Enhance TD's Brand

7. Increase Shareholder Value

Based on the above guiding principles, TD Canada Trust strives to exceed customers' expectations in service and convenience (TD, 2012). TDCT believes in inspiring customers to trust banking with TD Bank Financial Group because every customer is guaranteed service that is the best in the banking industry. Every part of the business and every employee are measured on the contribution they make to the customer experience because TDCT has a promise that they have to fulfill with each customer every time they walk into the bank. The approach that TDCT uses is to treat all customers fairly, support them when they go through difficult times and consistently deliver on their goal to be "The Better Bank."

Fulfilling this promise is not easy, which is why TD Canada Trust tries to stay connected with all customers by arranging cultural celebrations at all their branches, having customer appreciation days, and use ways to interact with their stakeholders, who can be classified into two categories: primary stakeholders and secondary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders include customers, employees, shareholders and investors and government regulators (TD, 2012). On the other hand, the secondary stakeholders include community organizations, industry associations, suppliers and non-governmental organizations (TD, 2012).

In order to consistently deliver legendary customer service, TDCT has always taken the responsibility to be customer-driven in every aspect of their business; and to uphold their reputation of trust and convenience, TD Canada Trust uses the "Customer Experience Index (CEI)" as a self-assessment tool to evaluate their service. CEI is simply a type of a scorecard used to rate the business based on the opinions gathered from customers (Trichur, 2009). TDCT evaluates their performance through the CEI, which consists of indices that helps TDCT set targets and drive improvements; and the results have an impact on employee compensation.

TD Canada Trust values customer feedback, which is why they have rigorous communication strategies to identify specific areas of improvement. Using regular polling, surveys, focus groups and mystery shoppers, the branch managers at TDCT is able to identify what service and convenience means to their customers and what measures need to be taken to go above and beyond in every customer interaction (TD, 2012).

According to the charts above, TD Canada Trust contracted over 700,000 customers in 2011 to determine customer experience levels and the results were overwhelming as TDCT exceeded their targets across all TD Bank Financial Group subsidiaries with a year-over-year increase of almost 10% in CEI (TD, 2012). TDCT is very particular about their scores and in order to avoid any bias results, it conducts a third-party survey throughout the year to measure how likely a customer is to recommend the bank to a friend, colleague or another family member. The CEI is measured using a Net Promoter Score,(tm) which is calculated based on the response to a question, one example is: "Thinking about the entire experience you had during your most recent visit to the branch, how likely are you to recommend TDCT to a friend or colleague?" (TD, 2012).

The above clearly shows TD Canada Trust's craft and commitment to customer service but it involves more than just customers, employees and CEI system to consistently be recognized as the bank of choice year-after-year. TDCT continues to offer an open-door policy across the bank to maintain and grow relationships beyond profitability. It involves having a strong risk discipline to fit the overall business strategy, qualified and experience leadership profile, rigorous and continuous training for employees, top-notch research and development, corporate social responsibility, and the willingness and ability to think and be different. The fact is that people have never liked banks because they know one thing and feel something complete different. They know that banks are regulated by the Central Bank but it does not add any value to them as customers.

This hard reality of banking is uncomfortable for the customers and TDCT is aware of the perceptions and misconceptions that people have about all banks. At the core of every customer 's story is a very common idea: people know that money, and especially banking is complicated and time-consuming. It can even be intimidating and painful, which is why TD Bank Financial Group strives to change this generalized perception forever by making banking comfortable.

TD Canada Trust uses innovative marketing strategies to evolve and resonating with customers such that in 2001, a big easy-chair was introduced as part of a marketing strategy to build TDCT's brand as the ultimate symbol of comfort and convenience (TD, 2012). "Marketing comfort and convenience has worked in very different markets, market conditions, media and applications, especially in uncomfortable times like today", says Craig Alexander, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of TD Bank Financial Group. He further adds that "marketing a company that has over 650 billion dollars in assets, millions of customers, thousands of branches, and hundreds of products and services; and wrapping that under the all-embracing banners of "comfort" and "convenience" is a case study in classic brand strategy." Clearly, the above marketing strategy has proven to be successful as TDCT has been the recipient of various awards to acknowledge their commitment to customer service.

If a bank can make the experience of dealing with customers as friendly, quick, simple, and straight-forward, it will stand out from others because it is not only authentic and lasting, but nearly impossible to replicate (TD, 2012). The unnoticed factor behind the legendary customer service of TDCT at every occasion is their willingness to "listen", which is something that can never be taught but rather has to come from the heart because of sheer passion of service.

Awards and Accomplishments

Awards are not only a symbol of recognition for delivering service but also to make a bold statement. In Canada, J.D. Power and Associates conducts a proprietary survey by studying customer perceptions and experiences at all banks. TDCT has been consistent with their quality of service because this year marks their seventh reign of being ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction" amongst the Big Five Retail Banks operating in Canada (TD, 2012). Furthermore, the bank has been ranked number 1 by Synovate for 3rd year in a row, ranked as one of Financial Post's 100 Best Companies to Work For, ranked as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, and ranked as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers for 2008 by Mediacorp.

The reason behind their continued success is their philosophy and committed service to customers and business by staying open longer, offering helpful advice, being open Sundays, and providing convenient ATM, online and phone access. Their regular studies based on Customer Satisfaction amongst Canadian Retail Banking have allowed them to curb their weaknesses and evolve into a dynamic bank that puts customers first. Recently, TDCT acquired MBNA MasterCard and modified the security feature of their debit card. TD customers can now have the peace of mind because with the new visa debit card with advanced chip technology, TD customers are now more protected against fraud than before.

Due to growing importance of web -based technologies, in 2011, TD Bank Financial Group launched social media as a means to engage in direct dialogue and feedback with customers to help identify and resolve problems more quickly using Facebook or Twitter (TD, 2012). TDCT believes in embracing technology and the increases of mobile-based technologies have only added a new meaning to comfort and convenience. Both J.D. Power and Associates and Synovate Awards have chosen TDCT as the leader amongst the Big Five retail banks in Canada, which could not have been possible without the valued customers.

TD Canada Trust set the highest benchmark scores across six major drivers of customer satisfaction: account activities, account information and security, product offerings, facility, account-related fees, and problem resolution (TD, 2012). For the sixth consecutive year, J.D. Power and Associates awarded TDCT with the highest ranking in customer service, and overall, TDCT leads other banks by a significant margin - a 30 point gap over the Big Five Bank average (TD, 2012). Synovate, a leading market research firm also awarded TDCT with the Customer Service Excellence Award for the seventh consecutive year (TD, 2012). With all banks including the Big Five competing for the top prize of receiving the "Best Banking Awards", it is clear that TDCT is a leader and a force to be reckoned with.

Redefining Banking

TD Canada Trust has proved time and again why it is the better bank not only in the line of products and services it has to offer but also in providing comfort and flexibility. Having achieved the milestone of being "The Modern Bank", TD Canada Trust has vowed to redefine banking once again. By introducing the new concept of "Bravo Branch" in 2011, TD Canada Trust has made a paradigm shift towards innovative banking.

"Bravo" was a new branch concept launched as an experiment but it soon caused a vibe across Canada. While all banks including TD Canada Trust have a conventional design for all its branches, the new Bravo Branches boast a taste of modernism that will change banking completely. Bravo Branches are designed to be trendy by offering a more lavish touch to the ambience and structure.

It is a fusion of traditional and modern day banking that is both attractive yet comfortable with the customary Help and Advice Counter and Teller Wickets for personal and small business banking, together with an open-concept of cubical offices with contemporary furniture, an elegant lounge area, similar to that of Starbucks Coffee Shop for customers to network or wait, reading area for the children to stay busy, and the same culture of delivering legendary customer service. To critics and rival-banks this may be an unusual way of conducting day- to-day banking, but it is another milestone that leaves TDCT's mark as being "The Better Bank."

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

With the commitment to all stakeholders comes great responsibility for an organization of TD Bank Financial Group's grandeur. TD Bank Financial Group makes every effort to be ethical in all business dealings and giving back to the community, environment, and all stakeholders. TDCT's contributions can be categorized under five broad areas: Customers, Workplace, Diversity, Community and Environment.

Customers: Since customers are the reason why TDCT is in business, they remain the focal point of the bank and one of the primary stakeholders. In Canada, TDCT offers low cost banking options and transparent product information. Further efforts are made to work with the customers collectively to support the environment and community through charity drives such as the partnership with The United Way and Children's Miracle Network, planting trees, walk for a cause events, and save the environment initiatives such as the partnership with TD - Friends of the Environment.

Every advice given to the customers is based on "Know Your Customer" policies and the understanding of the client's investment objectives, risk tolerance, time period they are willing to invest for, and above all their needs. In 2011, TDCT funded 144 loans totaling $1.3 million through helping hands, a loan program which enables moderate- income customers to finance home improvements at a discounted rate (TD, 2012). Additionally, TD Bank hosts free educational seminars for beginner and experienced investors to grow their wealth.

Workplace: TDCT takes the responsibility of building an extra-ordinary workplace that focuses on recruitment and retention, health and safety at work, compliance training to support learning, performance and leadership development, and 360 degree communication and recognition. TDCT is known to be different and an example of this can also be seen from the employees who come from non-banking backgrounds. Some of these employees are also students' who cannot commit to a full-time schedule. TDCT offers them the flexibility of working casual and part-time hours, and also options to fund their education while enjoy the staff benefits.

TDCT uses the Employee Experience Index (EEI) to calculate employees' feelings of accomplishment, pride in the TD brand and their plans to be with the bank in one year, the results of which can be seen in the chart above. TDCT was named one of the best workplaces in Canada by the Great Place to Work Institute as statistics showed that 88% of the employees surveyed stated that TD Bank Financial Group was a great place to work (TD, 2012).

Diversity: TDCT has the most diverse employees and customers that are multilingual and come from different ethnic backgrounds. All stakeholders are treated with respect as diversity remains a top priority for TDCT. The diversity and inclusion activities of TDCT are organized primarily into six areas of focus: Visible Minorities, Aboriginal People, Women in Leadership, People with Disabilities, Serving Diverse Communities and LGBTA - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies (TD, 2012). In 2011, TD Bank Financial Group was the recipient of the first ever Canadian Board Diversity Council Corporate Governance Award that recognizes companies in the corporate sector for their excellence in the area of broad diversity (TD, 2012). That same year, TD Bank Financial Group donated $7.3 million to support diversity-related programs and organizations across Canada (TD, 2012).

Community: TD Bank Financial Group believes in giving back to the community by making a positive impact towards social and economic development. The chart below shows the percentage of donations focused in areas such as Education, Environment, Creating Opportunities for the Youth, and Others such as donations and affordable housing as all of the investments are geared towards promoting and supporting these areas (TD, 2012).

In 2011, TD Bank Financial Group gave over $4 Million to post-secondary education across Canada to support a range of bursaries and scholarships (TD, 2012). There is a lot that TDCT does behind the scenes also to support communities by working on individual, school-based and partnership projects such as raising cancer awareness.

Environment: TD Bank Financial Group is aware of the many threats to the environments such as contaminated lake, cleared forests, an endangered species and more (TD, 2012). TD Bank Financial Group works in areas of promoting energy conversion, environmental education, and enhancing biodiversity and plant trees to urbanize the environment (TD, 2012). Friends of the Environment collects funds and works on educating the masses about the environment and many of TDCT customers and employees work together to contribute to nature. TD Bank Financial Group is the largest corporate sponsor in Canada and statistics show that last year, $4.7 million was distributed to community environmental projects (TD, 2012).

Training and Workforce Development

In any dynamic organization, training and workforce development play an essential role in contributing to success as it is tied directly to the results produced and performance measured. However, the economic, social and legal implications associated with the way day-to-day business is conducted are abundant. In the case of TD Canada Trust, training and development is the key driving factor to delivering a legendary customer experience for which there are effective learning systems such as Learning and Management Systems (LMS) in place. Utilizing the LMS and hands-on training allows the employees to be knowledgeable about products and services offered along with updates about the current state of the industry.

TD Canada Trust has always been proactive when it comes to training and development of the workforce because employees are evaluated on their knowledge and delivery of service at every interaction with customers. TDCT does not believe in trial-and-error where it waits for the employee to make an error before providing them with adequate training. Nick Blanchard and James Thacker in their book, "Effective Training - Systems, Strategies and Practices" say that effective training uses a systematic method of Training Needs Analysis (TNA), which slows organizations to determine what caused their performance to be less than expected (Blanchard and Thacker, 2007). According to TDCT, performance improvement should be the real focus of training and to execute this, the bank conducts workshops, seminars, and compliance training by reinforcing learning through simulations, role play situations, and discussions. TDCT has always set targets that are realistic and invests heavily in training to eradicate performance gaps.

For instance, when a new tellers are hired into the role of "Customer Service Representative", they are given formal orientation to the culture and business of TDCT. In order to foster learning, they are provided with both on-line and on-the- job training that equips them with the tools to connect with customers and provide them with the best banking experience possible. What is intriguing is the fact that the Research and Development (RandD) team of TD Bank Financial Group strives to identify new ways improve performance. First they study the workplace environment and resources available after which they study the factors that can influence the employee's performance.

Training needs are then conducted followed by determining the employee's fit with organizational goals and objectives. Rummler in his book, "Determining Needs - Training and Development Handbook" introduces two types of performance indicators: Expected Performance and Actual Performance (Rummler, 1987), which was later renamed as Targeted Performance and Achieved Performance. Rummler believes that performance gaps occur when organizations fail to develop effective strategies.

TD Canada Trust is aware of the employee turnover but considers having a conducive work environment that motivates employees to perform well. However, modern day training involves refresher training sessions, evaluation and feedback of team efforts, alignment of systems, procedures, and organizational design to the team approach, and above all, training equity that provides equal access to training and resources for all employees (TD, 2012). This relates to the principle of reward and recognition because TD Bank Financial Group promotes from within, which can be a motivating factor for employees by raising employee satisfaction and commitment.

Dr. Don Baucum in his book "Psychology" says that learning, motivation and performance are inter-related as it relates to self-efficacy (Baucum, 1996). His research supports the belief that the higher the self-efficacy, the better the performance because individuals with low self-efficacy remain pre-occupied with concerns about failure and can never perform well (Baucum, 1996). TDCT offers flexibility at all levels of the business where the employees can chose between job rotation, lateral transfers and internal promotions. It is no secret why TDCT has been successful in recruiting and retaining their employees. Training and Workforce Development have been the premise of providing successful customer experiences.

Present and Future Challenges in Retail Banking

While the affects of global recession on interest rates and slow growth appears to be the toughest challenge for most banks, Tim Hockey, the President and CEO of TD Canada Trust thinks otherwise. According to him, "The real test of customer service is how you respond in difficult times." Challenges will continue to blow its trumpet but it is the risk discipline and overall business strategy that will eventually turn the tide. Despite the impact of historically lower interest rates combined with a convalescing economy, TDCT continues the momentum of growth by continuing to reach the masses where other banks would think twice and meet their goal of increasing market share. The Management's Discussion and Analysis of 2011 reports that heading into the New Year, TD Bank Financial Group would be focusing on the following key priorities (TD, 2012):

1. Extend leadership position in customer service and convenience;

2. Create an integrated customer service experience across all channels;

3. Mitigate impact from slower growth operating environment by improving efficiency through streamlining, and simplifying technology, processes and controls, and;

4. Continue to grow under-represented businesses and identify new sources of revenue.

Conclusion

This research has provided banks with a key determinant "Customer Service" to sustain itself. At a time when the headlines are full of stories about bank failures and lost trust in the financial services industry, it is important to realize that not all banks are struggling because TD Canada Trust have continued to grow by opening 170 new branches since 2006, with 24 new branches in 2011 alone. Apart from the exceptional customer service and offering a wide range of products to both Canada and the United States, TD Bank Group knows that people do not like banks. Henceforth, investing resources towards customer service is the only way to create a memorable experience for customers. In the case of Canada, there is a wide pool of customers who are either international students or new immigrants, while more are coming each year.

To cater banking solutions to every client, TDCT has been leading the pact with diverse employees that speak multiple languages and offering financial services that allow clients to be "Bank Customers" and not "Branch Customers." Ipso facto, TD Bank Group has consistently enjoyed the hard-earned reputation of being number one in customer service experience. Why? The answer is simple... TD listens to its customers by offering need-based solution to them at comfort and convenience. Indeed, as their slogan states, TDCT is "The Better Bank Today and Tomorrow" because "Banking can be this comfortable..." (TD, 2012).

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