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Superior Client Experience

The client experience is everything the client sees, hears, feels, touches and does when interacting with us, whether through in-branch client service representatives, banking, insurance, corporate, investment or brokerage representatives over the telephone or through online services. To deliver a truly superior client experience we seek to serve clients the way they want to be served while providing a consistent, proactive and valued experience across all distribution channels. We are transforming our processes to be simple, flexible and efficient while using technology to leverage the information clients have entrusted with us.

Our activities are focused on attracting a greater share of our clients’ business and building deeper client relationships to enhance our position in all markets. Deploying our strengths to create the best solutions for clients across our various businesses, geographies and products will help us generate additional value and leverage our infrastructure and portfolio of assets across North America.

Each of our business segments moved to enhance its clients’ experiences in 2003. A few examples are provided below.

An effective problem resolution process is necessary to build strong client relationships and lasting loyalty. With this in mind, RBC Royal Bank launched a new process across all Canadian branches, business centres and telephone banking contact centres designed to strengthen problem resolution and ensure clients receive a consistent level of service regardless of the channels they use or the business they have with us. Early results indicate that 70 per cent of problems are being resolved at the first point of contact.

Employees are also supported by a specialized client care team, with a mandate to resolve more complex client problems and undertake research to identify root causes. A key element of the problem resolution process includes tracking every client problem to proactively identify and resolve systemic issues.

We also introduced the use of digital imaging technology for tracing cheques. With over 1.2 million trace requests per year, employees in our Operations and Service Delivery Centres are now able to provide information to clients immediately, rather than in the days or weeks previously required. This capability will be expanded to branch and call centre employees during the first quarter 2004.

Client relationships are being further strengthened through an enhanced RBC Referrals program that brings access to services and products from all RBC companies to our clients. This cross-selling initiative introduces clients to financial specialists from across the organization to make it easy to do business across the enterprise, contributing to a superior client experience, better client retention and higher revenues. In 2003, the total number of referrals increased by 52 per cent. We referred $1.1 billion of business internally and, as a result, captured $2.8 billion of new business transactions from our competitors. That’s over $2.50 of new business for every dollar of business referred internally.

As a leading provider of travel insurance in North America, RBC Insurance is committed to ensuring that travel agents who distribute our products are provided with comprehensive product education through proprietary sales training programs.

Our sales and training professionals work with travel agents to enhance their knowledge of travel insurance and their ability to offer the product effectively. As a complement to these face-to-face training sessions, travel agents – and ultimately travellers – benefit from a new training package called RBC’s eLearning Reference Tool. This online training program is delivered by RBC Insurance through its Internet-based WorldProtect booking system and provides enhanced product and sales information for the travel agent on important issues that affect travellers. Travel agents who participated in the pilot launch scored the tool’s effectiveness and content very highly in a recent survey.

The past year was challenging for travellers and the travel industry, as a result of the war in Iraq, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and ongoing threats of terrorism. RBC Insurance demonstrated its commitment by meeting the needs of travellers from product sales to speedy processing of claims. Throughout these and other situations, we worked with our clients and travel agents on an individual basis to evaluate and develop solutions based on their specific needs. In fact, our Q2 client satisfaction survey indicated all aspects of the claims process were rated highly, including simplicity of process, quick response time and claim settlement time.

In July 2003, RBC Insurance launched a pilot of its Canadian tele-underwriting process for life insurance brokers. This telephone application process offers added benefits for our clients by eliminating the need for detailed medical information and longer applications and thus providing a faster process for application, reducing the time by a minimum of three to five days. While the program is being initially rolled out with a group of 135 business partners, we plan to expand this process to other insurance products and to all business partners by Q2 of 2004.

In early 2003, the RBC Insurance “Protection for the Big Things in Life” campaign described to clients the benefits of insuring mortgages and loans with life and disability insurance protection. Client surveys indicated the campaign material better explained the products, resulting in increased satisfaction: the key driver of satisfaction of written communication increased to 39 per cent in the second quarter of 2003 from 29 per cent a year earlier.

The creation of RBC Investments Financial Planning (a shared business between RBC Banking and RBC Investments) in November 2001 changed the way we serve financial planning clients by facilitating long-term relationships with trusted RBC advisors. Financial Planning differentiates itself by addressing clients’ investments, credit and banking needs while fully leveraging the capability of the whole organization. As a result, financial planners have an ability to meet clients’ needs and can develop professional and customized plans that align with clients’ objectives.

Through technology such as ClientLink, RBC Investments has further improved its ability to manage and strengthen client relationships. ClientLink is a contact and portfolio management application, which helps investment advisors deliver professional money management, accurate and customized reporting, regular portfolio reviews and ongoing contact with their clients.

In today’s online trading markets, institutional investors value ease of execution, speed of transactions and greater flexibility. RBC Capital Markets has pioneered online trading solutions, particularly in the areas of foreign exchange and fixed income products, to provide clients with flexible and efficient trading services.

RBC Capital Markets has taken online trading systems to a higher level with an enhanced version of FX Direct; an online trading system enabling corporate and institutional clients to trade and execute currency trades directly with the market on an around-the-clock basis.

FX Direct provides clients with the flexibility to customize their deal entry screen with the defaults they want to see. Deal entry gives competitive quotes in seconds in a format customized to clients’ requirements. In addition, the indicative rates window shows streaming rates on clients’ selected currency pairs. When the market level is reached, transactions can be efficiently executed right from the window. Finally, Deal Blotter offers both a real-time and historic record of all trading activity, tailored to the client’s individual view and is easily exported to a spreadsheet.

In providing clients with a superior experience, we don’t just focus on the trade. Client support is provided through every stage of the trade’s life-cycle – from initial research to execution to settlement. Recent enhancements allow foreign exchange orders to be sent directly to us via the Internet. Clients can also manage their own foreign exchange order book offline to store, add or amend any of their orders, which can then be easily resubmitted. RBC Capital Markets foreign exchange trading through electronic channels is rapidly approaching $1 billion daily.

The security, capacity and flexibility of the Internet make it the ideal channel for fixed income trading. In early 2003, we launched bondDirect, which provides institutional traders with the tools to self-execute trades right from their desktops.

The electronic edge provided by bondDirect provides clients with live pricing that updates automatically and ensures orders are priced and executed automatically. It provides clients with access to information on thousands of bond issues including bid offer pricing, ratings, security and security identification numbers. Clients also have the flexibility of directly ticketing a trade into one account or multiple accounts.

With ongoing market and competitive pressures, RBC Global Services recognizes the importance of providing clients with unique products, services and solutions to meet the growing complexity of their needs. Our Client Solutions Group partners with clients to identify the potential for process improvements and strategies for achieving them. Recommendations can range from internal restructuring of specific core functions to achieve process efficiencies, to acquisitions or outsourcing. This comprehensive service has contributed to enhancing the efficiency and financial performance of our institutional clients.

The drive for efficiency creates the need for electronic-based solutions such as RBC Express. This online transaction and information service combines the suite of cash management products offered by RBC Global Services and will soon provide access to products from other RBC businesses, such as FX Direct by RBC Capital Markets, through a single integrated Web portal. With RBC Express, our business clients’ cash management experience is fully integrated and seamless across the organization, making it more convenient for our business clients to manage daily financial operations. Since its introduction in November 2002, over 1,100 business clients have enrolled in the service, with half new to RBC Global Services. RBC Global Services will be adding other services and products to this online channel throughout 2004.

Our innovative online services, webdoxs and paytickets.ca, help us to maintain our leadership position with public sector clients by improving efficiencies in their operations. For example, paytickets.ca provides municipalities with a new payment channel for parking tickets. The consumer adoption rate is strong, with most municipalities experiencing a conversion of 15 per cent of payment volumes to this new channel within three months of implementation.

RBC Global Services regularly assesses client priorities and satisfaction levels through face-to-face interviews, internal reviews and objective third-party surveys. Our proprietary Client Consultation Survey is conducted every 18 months by an external research firm. The findings are analyzed internally and action plans are developed in response to specific suggestions. As a result of its findings, we have developed more robust investment analytics and enhanced our ability to service clients over the Internet.