The Women to Watch: No. 19, TD Bank's Jane Russell

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Head of Customer Experience and Retail Sales Strategy, Delivery and Operations, TD Bank

TD Bank bills itself as America’s Most Convenient Bank, but even Jane Russell, its head of customer experience, admits that its service over the years has not always been consistent.

She said that’s because the U.S. unit of Toronto-based TD Bank Group is an amalgamation of more than a dozen bank acquisitions in the last 15 years, and many of those entities continued to do things their own way even after being integrated into TD.

“As we grew, this lack of consistency was evident,” said Russell, who was also one of our Women to Watch last year. “Our customer experience and sales results were not up to our standards.”

That’s beginning to change, thanks in large part to Russell, who, among other things, oversees all of TD’s 1,200 branches stretching from Maine to Florida, as well as its ATMs and call centers.

A longtime executive within the company’s Canadian ranks, Russell was asked by senior management to relocate to the U.S. in 2016 to help boost the performance of its retail operations here.

Since then, she has launched what she calls a “customer experience framework” designed to address gaps in its messaging and make customers’ lives easier through upgrades to its digital products, ATMs and call centers.

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She also began rolling out an in-store employee training program, dubbed #BeLegendary, that establishes routines, standards and criteria so that the way branch employees engage with customers is consistent across the footprint. The program has been fully launched in Pennsylvania and New Jersey — improving service in the mid-Atlantic region was a particularly high priority for Russell — and is currently being rolled out in Florida and New York.

The efforts are working. In J.D. Power’s most recent customer satisfaction rankings for retail banks, TD was ranked No. 4 in the mid-Atlantic region, up from No. 18 a year earlier, and No. 2 in the Southeast, up from No. 7 in 2017. It is now the top-rated bank in Florida, up from No. 2 last year.

Greg Braca, the president and CEO of the $312 billion-asset U.S. unit, said that Russell’s impact on service has been “wholly remarkable.”

“Not only are our customer satisfaction scores up, but she’s helped make it easier for colleagues to get things done,” Braca said. “Put simply, her leadership, innovation, determination and enthusiasm have helped make our organization better.”

See more on TD:
Top Teams 2018: TD Bank
Women to Watch 2018: Ellen Patterson
Lifetime Achievement 2017: TD's Linda Verba

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Customer experience Branch banking Jane Russell TD Bank Women in Banking