Change Agent

How Tangerine Bank CEO Peter Aceto gets his whole company to pitch in

A company-wide “bat phone” can rally everyone to customer service

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President and CEO of Tangerine Bank Peter Aceto

(Portrait by Thomas Dagg)

Peter Aceto has been the president and chief executive officer of Tangerine Bank for nearly seven years. He led the financial institution through its acquisition by Scotiabank in 2012 and its rebranding from ING Direct to Tangerine Bank in April 2014. Here he tells us how he rallied his whole team into action to field customer questions about the takeover.

“Because we had been sold and ended up with another shareholder, we had 18 months to change our name. It’s not a thing we preferred to do, but we had to for legal reasons.

“We did staff up our call centre and our contact centre, but for about three weeks, we were overwhelmed with volume. Fortunately, we have a figurative ‘red button‘ or ‘bat phone,’ where we can get hundreds of people throughout the organization to help with e-mails and click-to-chat sessions online. I think it’s wonderful to have that flexibility and nimbleness. Sometimes we need it on a rough day, but in this case we really had to mobilize a lot of people for a longer period of time. And we did.

“A lot of people in our organization started in our contact centre, so they have the systems knowledge and product knowledge. But we also have a lot of staff who are just good people and good communicators. Even though they may not have the systems knowledge, they can still help, and customers appreciate that. We say, ‘Look, if we need two days of assistance from people who are working on projects, we can allow project dates to slip a little bit, because there’s nothing more important than our clients.’”