Craig Metz, the marketing chief at United Community Banks (UCBI), admits that until a few years ago, his bank's staff was doing only a "so-so" job of listening to its customers. Employees were not properly trained to pick up cues, so opportunities to cross-sell products and services were often missed.

"We just didn't say to customers 'here's a solution to consider,' or 'can we set that up for you today?'" Metz says. "There was no closing. The customers just didn't feel like we were connecting the dots."

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