Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Tale of Two Banks: It's in the Details

For various reasons, I conduct transactions at two banks every payday, and the service provided at each couldn't be more different.

At the first bank I can go up to a little table, pull out a deposit slip and a pen, and write up my business before taking it to a teller. The teller greets me with a smile and, if they know me, my name. They ask how I am doing and engage in small talk while they are looking up my records. There is eye contact and the attire is business casual--although during the baseball playoffs they wore Cardinal red. I feel welcomed and really enjoy doing business there. In my whole time doing business with that bank--at four different branches--I've only come across one unfriendly teller. That's not a bad track record for a bank. What's more, this bank has ATMs all over the place--the gas station, the grocery store, even in my company's building. They make it easy and enjoyable to bank with them--rare for a bank. Heck, even their slogan is very customer-orientated!

The second bank I go to has a huge and intimidating lobby. There is a table to write up deposit slips, but no deposit slips and no pens (and it's not just that branch--it's all of them). When I approach the teller (dressed in full business attire) I may get a curt smile, but not much more. It's rare to get eye contact at this bank and there is no small talk. I leave feeling tense and frankly, unappreciated.

So we have an example of two banks--delivering the exact same service but in different ways. In one bank I feel welcomed and appreciated. The other is cold and indifferent--and it's all in the details. What does the lack of deposit slips or pens tell someone about that bank's attitude toward its customers? It says that either "we don't want to spend the money on you" or "we think you're going to waste or steal our deposit slips and pens." Not a positive message.

But the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. While I'm no financial expert, I do know that the second bank has very few "buy" recommendations for shares, mostly "hold," and quite a few "sell" recommendations. The first bank has as many "hold" recommendations, but has--get this--EIGHT TIMES AS MANY "BUY" RECOMMEDNATIONS and only TWO SELL recommendations. Again, I'm no financial expert, but I know the people who issue those ratings are and, in their collective opinion, one bank is one the way up and the other is one the way down.

Think about your own details--what messages are you sending your customers? Are you on the way up or on the way down? If you think you're sending the wrong message, what can you do to change that message? If you don't know what message you're sending, why not ask your customers?

Tashi Delek!

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