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The Bottom Line - Banking on Service

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Banking On Service

Elevating service and customer experience as a strategic imperative

Every interaction with current and future customers presents a unique opportunity to leave a lasting, positive impression. In an increasingly digital and competitive marketplace, the need for personalized, emotionally engaging customer experiences has never been more critical.

Our offices and branches around the metro strive to deliver excellence in every interaction. It’s an essential part of our culture, and we talk about it often in meetings large and small. We remind our associates regularly that the strength of our brand in the community, guided by family leadership and a commitment to high standards, lays the foundation for trust and reliability, especially in banking.

We’ve found that customers want a provider and a partner who shares their values and ambitions. In this context, a compelling customer experience that aspires to gratitude and excellence in all interactions builds loyalty, improves retention, and cultivates long-term relationships, which are critical for sustainable results and new growth.

Looking to cultivate the best possible customer experience for your business? Here's a quick summary of the key fundamentals:

  1. Understand your customer. Conduct regular customer feedback and satisfaction surveys to understand their needs better. Implement a "voice of the customer" program to improve service offerings continuously.
  2. Own and hone your unique value proposition. Identify and articulate the differentiator or secret sauce that sets your brand apart from competitors. Ensure your UVP aligns with your customers' needs and goals.
  3. Assess your customer experience at all stages. Map out and understand your ideal customer experience at all stages—from brand discovery through purchase and post-purchase. Create a client-centric experience throughout the journey.
  4. Align core values and culture. Alignment is needed for both internal and external audiences. A strong culture attracts and retains employees and motivates them to deliver exceptional experiences.
  5. Synchronize sales and marketing. Ensure that sales and marketing strategies are aligned. Develop content and communications that educate, engage, and add value, enhancing customer relationships.

The value of service and a superb customer experience cannot be overstated. They are as crucial as our products and services, and we remain dedicated to learning, growing, and excelling in this area.

Thank you for choosing us as your trusted banking partner and joining us on this journey of continuous service improvement and customer experience excellence. Together, we look forward to learning more and establishing new service benchmarks that enhance our collective performance and contribute to our shared success.


Leigh Adams photo




— Leigh Adams, Executive Vice President - Marketing & Communications, Country Club Bank — Member FDIC



Economic Insights

Economic headwinds persist, but markets and sentiment remain resilient

With the first quarter of 2024 behind us, the U.S. economy still presents a mixed picture. Though persistent inflation, elevated interest rates, and now a modest GDP slowdown would generally be enough to warrant extreme caution, there are still signs of underlying optimism and strength in the markets.

Despite the challenging economic landscape marked by a 1.6% GDP growth rate—below the anticipated 2.4%—several sectors showed resilience, underscoring the economy's tenacity.

Yes, inflation has proven stubborn, with core inflation rates—excluding volatile food and energy prices—rising to 3.8% annually, surpassing expectations of 3.7% (but remaining on its monthly downward trajectory: 3.8% vs 3.8%, 3.9%, 3.9%, 4.0%, 4.0%, 4.1%, 4.3%, 4.7%). This suggests that price pressures remained strong into March, complicating the Fed's path to potentially lower interest rates, but they’ve not been taken off the table entirely for the year. And if you needed more tangible proof of the impact of elevated inflation rates, look no further than the U.S. Postal Service’s planned rate hike of first-class postage from 68 cents to 73 cents, an 8% increase expected to take effect in July.

The (somewhat expected) slowdown in GDP growth primarily resulted from reduced spending on durable goods like cars and gasoline and a decline in business investment (i.e. inventories). This trend reflects the broader impact of high interest rates and consumer caution in response to inflation. But it’s still positive economic growth that keeps us out of recession territory, characterized by two consecutive negative quarters.

Despite these challenges, there are clear indicators of economic resilience. Employment has continued to grow, exceeding expectations, buoyed by solid hiring across various sectors. Furthermore, consumer spending has shown vitality, particularly in the services sector, which continues to expand, driven by spending on healthcare, financial services and insurance.

Business optimism has also been notable, particularly in industries like automotive and defense. General Motors, for example, reported robust demand for trucks and SUVs, leading to an upgrade in its profit forecasts. Similarly, Lockheed Martin has seen increased production to meet the needs of ongoing conflicts, illustrating the defense sector's growth.

Bottom Line: While the U.S. economy faces challenges from persistent inflation and a slowdown in GDP growth, the underlying strengths in employment, consumer spending, and business optimism provide a solid foundation for ongoing economic resilience. The path forward will undoubtedly be complicated, but prevailing market expectations for progress and new growth remain positive.


Marcus Scott photo





— Marcus Scott, CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for Country Club Trust Company

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Country Club Trust Company, a division of Country Club Bank, or any affiliate thereof. Information provided is for illustrative and discussion purposes only; should not be considered a recommendation; and is subject to change. Some information provided above may be obtained from outside sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please note that investments involve risk, and that past performance does not guarantee future results.


Client Success Story

Wayside Waifs delivers brighter futures for pets and people with treasury support from Country Club Bank

Kathryn Mahoney and dog imageAt Wayside Waifs in south Kansas City, more than 27,000 pets and people receive services each year, making it one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country.

Set on a 50-acre campus, this haven for animals features a climate-controlled 68,000 sq ft main facility where dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, ferrets, hamsters, and guinea pigs enjoy comfortable accommodations as they await their new adoptive families.

Kathryn Mahoney, CPA, CAWA, the president of Wayside Waifs, is grateful for the opportunity to weave her professional vocation with her passion for animal welfare.

“It’s a great feeling to come to work daily knowing that we’re helping so many people find joy and companionship with their new pets. We're also continuing to expand our education and outreach programs so pet owners can keep pets in homes where they belong," Mahoney said. “It’s easy to have a good day when you see happy animals and families together.”

dog holding food bowl imageWith a staff of 90 and an annual budget of $8 million, Wayside Waifs relies on treasury tools and services from Country Club Bank to collect fees and donations.

Mahoney appreciates the services and support provided by Country Club Bank, especially the convenience of online banking, merchant account management, and sweep account interest-earning opportunities. These tools allow her and her staff to track and manage finances efficiently from their desks, but they also know that answers to their most pressing questions are only a phone call away.

“The people at Country Club Bank are a pleasure to work with,” Mahoney said. "They check on us often, update us on new solutions, and make sure we always have what we need.”

Wayside Waifs logoCurrently celebrating “80 years of saving lives,” Wayside Waifs continues to expand operations and services to rescue and care for more animals and look for ways to serve families and pets in need of each other. Mahoney said the partnership with Country Club Bank is crucial to their future.

“They help us with our money, but they also help us with our mission,” Mahoney said. “It’s terrific to work with a bank as responsive and committed to the community as we are.”


Customer Service Insights

Mastering the Art of Customer Service: Essential Strategies and Best Practices

women shaking hands photoCustomer service is a crucial pillar of the overall customer experience, impacting brand reputation, customer loyalty, and revenue growth. As you think about ways to enhance customer interactions, consider these five best practices to raise awareness and performance:

  1. Watch and listen. Understanding and meeting customers' expectations is at the core of excellent customer service. This involves actively listening to their needs and preferences, responding promptly, and always aiming to exceed their expectations.
  2. Empower your team. Confident and well-trained employees are likelier to make customer-pleasing decisions during critical moments. Providing staff with the necessary resources and authority to solve problems can lead to more efficient customer service and boost morale.
  3. Leverage technology. Incorporating technology like CRM systems, chatbots, and self-service portals can streamline customer service processes and provide multiple communication channels for the customer.
  4. Personalize interactions. Customized experiences make customers feel valued and build stronger emotional connections with the brand. Personalization can range from addressing customers by name in communications to tailoring offers and recommendations based on their business, industry, or purchase history.
  5. Measure performance. Establishing clear metrics to evaluate your success is crucial. Metrics like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and support response times can provide insights into how well your team is performing and where improvements are needed.

Excellence doesn’t happen overnight, but with time and focus, better outcomes and happier customers will follow.


Mergers & Acquisitions

The state of M&A in Kansas City: CC Capital Advisors releases the latest report for the region

M&A Report cover page imageFollowing a record year in 2022, Kansas City M&A faced a decline in transaction count in 2023, mirroring trends experienced across the U.S. and globally. Despite the challenged market, there were industries with robust M&A activity; the Technology/Media/Telecom and Financial Institution sectors were especially active. Here are highlights from The Report:

  • Kansas City-area companies participated in 216 transactions, a year-over-year decrease of 21%.
  • Mega deal activity continued to be muted, with only one transaction exceeding $1 billion in transaction value: the sale of Hostess Brands to the J.M. Smucker Company.
  • The Financial Institutions sector was well represented, with Creative Planning and Mariner Wealth Advisors ranking in the Top 5.
  • Local private equity firms also had a strong showing, as Great Range Capital and CPC made the Top 5.
  • Other notable transactions included the sale of Schenck Process Food and Performance Materials Business to Hillenbrand for $730 million and the $350 million reverse merger between TortoiseEcofin Acquisition Corp. III and One Energy Enterprises.

Download the complete Report here.

CC Capital Advisors, Inc.  Member FINRA, SIPC



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