continued from Schwab Executive Summary Part Two
To meet this change in the customer, Schwab leveraged its Information Technology (IT) and provided tools that the new investor could use to obtain information for assessing their financial goals and develop a portfolio to meet those goals. While developing these tools, Schwab learned that different customers required different levels of service and were willing to pay for these added services.
This development transitioned Schwab’s value discipline to focus on “Customer Intimacy.” Firms who embrace the customer intimacy value discipline view the customer as having a lifetime value to the company and employees strive to delight the customer. The following phrases extracted from the case, highlighted the endeavor that may yet be realized:
“The ability for customers to select their channel, whether they are placing a trade or seeking information, is core to Schwab’s value proposition”
“Schwab held thousands of online investing seminars a year….for customers not comfortable with Internet technology. Schwab revamped its branch network, replacing teller-like counters by desks and private conference areas fro meeting with customers.”
“Schwab made premium services available to customers. Its Signature Services program offered tiered services for investors who had more than $ 100,000 in assets or traded more than 12 times a year. Signature clients did not get personal brokers, but each was assigned to a small team in one of the call centers. These teams helped clients develop an investment strategy and gave them special treatment…”
Schwab’s sophisticated development environment and state-of-the-art tools embody its innate product leadership qualities. By having a corporate structure emphasizing the strategic importance of IT, the firm is able to introduce products that met market needs while satisfying its corporate objectives. Schwab’s philosophy of “buy tools, build applications” further reflects its no-nonsense approach to providing technological innovation and introducing cutting edge service. The article also described how Schwab quickly responded to the demand generated by the Internet by creating its Electronic Brokerage Enterprise and providing the “Total Customer Access Promise” to ensure connection to the brokerage firm at all times.