Magazine article American Banker

No. 18: Karen Larrimer, PNC Financial Services Group

Magazine article American Banker

No. 18: Karen Larrimer, PNC Financial Services Group

Article excerpt

Karen Larrimer Chief Customer Officer, PNC Financial Services Group

When Karen Larrimer was named PNC's chief customer officer, she had one nagging question about the role: What, precisely, does a chief customer officer do?

She didn't know of any chief customer officers in banking, and certainly none at a company PNC's size, whom she could look to for guidance. So she studied companies outside the industry known for stellar customer experiences -- Disney, Amazon, Apple -- to figure out what might work.

In the end, that's probably just as well, if not better.

"Our competitors, in my mind, are not just the other banks," Larrimer says. The competition is any company setting the standards for customer experience, and "those standards are way higher than they were years ago."

Since taking the post 18 months ago, Larrimer launched programs to help PNC meet those expectations, and to help employees understand how their interactions affect individual customers. She's gotten the company to establish customer-specific goals for each of its 54,000 employees, and to assess them in annual performance reviews.

"What's really important to me is that every employee, even if they're in the back office and handling the same piece of paper every day, understands how their job connects to the customer," she says.

She's also started an initiative called "Just Fix It" to let employees know that they need to "raise their hand and let us know" when they see something that's not working. …

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