By: Don Stokes
How does your financial institution approach customer service? Competition is stiff among banks, and many institutions use service as their key differentiator. Sure, through service you establish a stronger connection with your customers, but we often think that grand gestures make the biggest impact.
More often than not, though, it’s the small things that accumulate in your customers’ minds that comprise the big picture. As your bank considers ways to define—or redefine—the customer experience, here are a few examples of exceptional service:
- Offer educational seminars: Customers want to learn about the latest trends and opportunities in investments, fraud, Internet banking and mobile banking. Holding educational events allows you to engage customers and the community, while demonstrating your staff’s expertise.
- Always follow up with customers: When a customer has an issue that’s been resolved, you should have a manager or bank officer call him or her personally to verify the resolution was satisfactory.
- Host a Shred Day: Typically held on the weekend, these events allow customers to bring sensitive documents into the bank to be shredded. It’s added security for both you and them.
- Sponsor customer or community events: By helping cover the cost of such events as ballgames or scenic tours, you can build relationships with both current and prospective customers.
- Be active in the community: Your customers should see you as more than just a business, so don’t just sponsor events—participate in them. Enter a team in the next Relay for Life, encourage staff members to get involved with local charities or host a casual Friday in honor of a community event.
- Keep customers in the loop: We live in a connected world, and customers want to be a part of the conversation. You can use this as an opportunity to promote events, share new products or ask for feedback through your newsletter and on social media.
- Roll out the red carpet: The way the bank staff interacts with customers will be what they remember most. That said, don’t just point them in the right direction when they arrive for a meeting, escort customers to the appropriate office and offer them a beverage.
- Thank customers for their business: As we rush through the day, we sometimes forget the obvious. Always remember to let your customers know you appreciate their business and that the business relationship is important to you.
Every bank takes a different approach, but we all have the same goal in mind—to be known for consistent and professional customer service. After all, it is one of the best ways to distinguish your bank from others. You now have to compete with the “bank across the street,” online providers and other non-financial institutions. How you treat your customers—and how your customers feel when they interact with your institution—will make a big difference to them and to you.
Successful customer service requires you to think both inside and outside the branch. After all, a few small gestures pay large dividends in customer loyalty for financial institutions.
Don Stokes is a customer service manager with Computer Services, Inc. (CSI)’s NuPoint Division, which specializes in core banking technologies and platforms. Don may be reached at email@example.com.