The answer is simple. In the otherwise bland and pedestrian world of customer experiences that defines the vast majority of national and regional banks, it’s a matter of conceiving and delivering high perceived value, convenience (and memorability), offered in human terms. That’s how TD Bank sees it with benefits like instant debit/ATM card availability, and I agree. On their Internet help line, here’s the way Kristen, a rep, responded to a TD customer’s question about how long it takes to get a debit card:
“When opening a Checking or Savings account with us, if you do so at one of our Stores you’ll be able to leave with a Visa Debit card or ATM card in hand! We have instant-issue machines in all of our Stores for your convenience. This also applies if you already bank with us!
If you haven’t opened an account yet, we encourage you to review our Checking Accounts here: http://bit.ly/1oXjGgF, or use our Checking Selector at http://bit.ly/1vW1xnU. And our Savings products are listed here: http://bit.ly/1hzzhPT, or use our Savings Selector at http://bit.ly/1sxY9Rd.
We’re available by phone 24/7 at 888-751-9000 to open an account, online at http://bit.ly/1fN7u4i.or at any TD Bank Store found here: http://bit.ly/TDStores, You’ll just need your Social Security number and a valid personal identification such as a Driver’s license, State ID, or Passport to open it.”
That’s what I’d call great customer service. And, by the way, if you go to one of their stores to replace your ATM card, as I recently needed to do, they will provide a new one just as quickly. To it’s credit, TD Bank has long recognized that it can build trust and relationships by offering an array of business and retail customer benefits designed to positively distinguish itself from other financial institutions.
Last Fall, invited by a major U.S. business school, I presented on customer experience and customer-centric culture, and conducted a workshop, at a hotel in New York City for about twenty senior marketing executives from a large, multi-country European financial services organization. This was part of what was labeled their Global Leadership Program. The financial services company had identified six key strategic business levers, two of which were Improved Customer Experience and Customer Value and Our People Engaged and Empowered. These levers consisted of the following elements:
Improved Customer Experience and Customer Value
– Ensure stronger knowledge (e.g. insights, CRM, segmentation)
– Consistently deliver simpler, smarter, experience at each touchpoint
– Build long-term relationships with customers (e.g. more interactions, loyalty rewards)
Our People Engaged and Empowered
– Staff mindset towards customer-centricity
– Strengthen our leadership and talents
– Promote engagement and empowerment
– Build agile organization and new capabilities
High-minded words and ideas, reading like they are on the right track to reach greater customer focus and employee ambassadorship, right? Yet, when I described the several components of TD’s “Bank Human Again” program, identifying features like on-the-spot provision of ATM cards, extended business hours, and the like, the reaction from these execs was pretty much “Why would we want to do that?”. This was followed by about 20 minutes of them challenging the wisdom and viability of everything of value that TD has been providing to customers and how they have been leveraging employees. To sum up, the reaction to TD’s humanistic approach to value delivery was in real opposition to their “key levers.”
Conclusion: Some companies ‘get it’ where customer emotions and optimizing the stakeholder value proposition are concerned. Some companies are on their way to getting it, and have understood, and begun the journey toward, the financial and cultural benefits of customer-centricity, sincerely making an effort to reach these goals. Some companies never will even begin such an initiative. Since I saw these European execs keeping their company in the last category, my strong advice to them was, in essence: Get up from your comfortable chairs, leave the hotel, and visit any TD Bank branch in NYC, ASAP.