Retaining or Restraining Customers?

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I absolutely cringe every time I have to walk inside a bank. Come to think of it, I used to work in a bank. Back in the day, I got my start working as a bank teller at Home Savings and Loan in Studio City. You could see this bank miles away, it stood on the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon – it’s mosaic front sparkled and the tall stained-glass windows looked majestic. When you walked in this enormous bank, you felt official, important and rich. 

Today, when I walk into my bank, my defenses are up (maybe because I don’t feel  rich these days) or that I just don’t want to cooperate. I am usually greeted by a  bunch of guys wearing their father’s grey suit who all look up from their empty desks and say, “Welcome to Wells Fargo.”  I throw an annoyed glance their way and keep walking up to the teller line, which has a few people waiting. I watch the large flat screen TV- tuned in to either the food or the financial channels.

When I finally get to the teller, a very nice twenty-something year old greets me and asks what my plans are for the weekend and adds that she is so happy it’s Friday. I mumble and give her my deposit. She takes it and asks me if I’m aware of this new account/program which I qualify for. I respond by saying, “I’m fine, I’m set.” Then she mentions that someone from her bank will randomly call me in the next few days to inquire about the level of service I have just received and what would I rate them on a scale of 1-5. What am I supposed to say, how do I respond? I just met her 18 seconds ago.

I skake my head and refuse to respond to her question. She becomes offended, gets super quiet, looks down with embarassment and puts her hand on something (my guess its the security button for bank robbers that doubles as the button for uncooperative, arrogant and beligerant customers) and now everyone in the branch is staring down in my direction looking me over, even the woman on the food channel looks up from her cheese fondue with disapproval.

No, this isn’t a rant on the demise of the banking industry but more about the demise of customer retention strategies. We all know that keeping customers is critical to anyone’s survival but retention tactics need a full upgrade. How aboout if they put money in my meter (the one that only takes quarters and gives you a maximum of 8 minutes) or if they could whip up a chai latte for me? And since you’ve got the weekend on the brain, how about a couple Giants tickets for a Sunday day game, I’ll open up that new account with you.

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