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TD Bank and Social Business! Revolutionizing the World with 5 Lessons! #ibmsocialbiz #socbiz #ibm

I traveled to Toronto Canada last week and met with Wendy Arnott, VP Social Media and Digital Communications at TD Bank.

Wendy is so dynamic!  Her story at TD Bank equally dynamic!  She told me her story!    Wendy and TD Bank set out on their internal Social Business journey by focusing on /three key imperatives:  1.  aligning to TD’s core values,  2. delivering real business outcomes, and 3. acknowledging and facing the risks head on.

Their story started while they were trying to decide if they should keep their branches open on Sundays – a big step in the Canadian marketplace. It made sense to provide a competitive advantage.   However, their employees were a little less keen on the idea.

 They leveraged Social to listen and act.  How did TD get 25,000 people to warm to the idea of working on Sundays?    They made their employees part of a highly transparent decision making process.  She told me, “Believe me, our employees didn’t hold back their opinions – but we were able to surface and address their concerns early on.  In fact, through social, many employees joined in the conversation, advocating the change – very helpful. And by the time we launched seven-day banking, the sentiment had shifted to pride and excitement about being open on Sundays for our customers a fantastic business outcome, achieved by encouraging transparency and asking for feedback.”

Focus on business outcomes. But the aim was not merely to communicate more clearly with the employees.  It is to create and improve business outcomes — and embedding social capabilities in the business processes makes that possible – and maybe even expected.  For exampke, their Customer Experience.  Everyone knows what a suggestion box is, and they always used that approach to find out from front-line employees how to improve processes   

For example.  We added social to the suggestion-box to address a long-time pain-point. A customer service rep, in a small town miles, from head-office shared an idea to transfer a paper-based process to online. He got hundreds of supporting votes from across the country. Before you knew it, that idea was on the radar of senior executives. It’s now implemented and is delivering impressive productivity gains and most important, a much better customer experience.  The idea wasn’t revolutionary, it had come up before, but until social amplified it, there was no business case.  And this is just one example of the opportunities we anticipate by embedding social in business process.

 Another good example happened when TD was  introducing a TD mobile banking app –they first launched it to the employees. They tested it and rapidly leveraging social, identified opportunities. Their feedback allowed us perfect the app before it app reached customers.

Another example Wendy showed me was their Women in Leadership work, and their WOW Board, where their employees post their best stories helping clients out!

Wendy shared her 5 practical things learned from my social business experience at TD:

  1.  Leadership commitment is crucial.  Without strong support at the top, this can’t be done. In our case, the entire Senior Executive Team believed in and supported IBM Connections from the very beginning.
  2. Dedicated social business team.  Someone should be waking up every morning  thinking about how to make this a success.
  3. Great partnerships. Things don’t just “happen” at a large organization.  Many groups need to be at the table — including Legal, Compliance, HR, Communications, Privacy and Marketing.   And one of the biggest and most important partners is IT
  4. Know it is about transformational change. It will rock the boat, you can expect resistance. To build support and foster lasting adoption devote resources. Get into the weeds with some business teams – help them discover how social will address business challenges and how to get started. Then showcase their success – so it can be leveraged by others.
  5. Leverage your employees. They get it and they can advocate on a larger scale more quickly. TD Bank created a volunteer Connections Genius team and provided them with special resources. They helped lead the change.


  1. christophe chagnot (@cchagnot)

    Great experience and great illustration of what can social business serves for a bank – It also requires organisation (as always)

  2. Leslie Gornig

    Great post and story – besides the 5 Practical ideas; this point “The idea wasn’t revolutionary, it had come up before, but until social amplified it, there was no business case.” really resonated for me. Social helps engage a broad base so that great ideas rise to the top efficiently .

  3. Canada's Boomergirl

    I sure hope TD service is better via SM. Local TD branch in our ‘hood AWFUL enough for us to pull out.

  4. Sandy Carter

    Thank you for this comment. I totally agree! Thanks for reminding us.

  5. Sandy Carter

    I totally agree. The Sr team is really behind this and the leadership of Wendy and Glenda is exceptional.

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