The 2nd and 3rd Rule of Delivering Fanatical Customer Service in Banking

Bank Customer Service

In our journey to finding out what “relationship banking” is all about, we explored the need to define what great customer service looks like (HERE) and highlighted the first rule of fanatical customer service. We covered the challenge of the first rule and discussed how finding out what the customer is missing lays the foundation to build towards being a true relationship banker. In this article, we pick up where we left off and cover Rules Two and Three.


The Fulfillment of What is Missing


As we defined it, after figuring out what the customer truly wants, banks can set a course to fulfill that stated or unstated need. Here, the second rule comes into play which is fulfilling the customer’s needs accurately, efficiently and with enthusiasm.


3 Rules of Great Bank Service 

Like the first step, fulfillment of a banking need is easily said but more difficult to do. The good news here is that most banks that we mystery shop get the second rule largely right. Most bankers are accurate, polite, friendly and efficient. Compared to other industries, banking gets high marks in our opinion.


The Nuance of Enthusiasm


When it comes to enthusiasm, bankers also do well. However, we met a banker in Wisconsin that taught us this definition of what enthusiasm is all about – “We want our customer to leave our bank feeling as though they were the best thing that happened to us that day.”


Go back and re-read that sentence as when our banker friend first taught us this, we missed her point. It is not that the customer needs to be the best part of our day, nor is it that we have to be the best part of the customer’s day, but the customer has to FEEL that THEY were the best part of our day.


That’s some nuanced customer service magic right there.


The second rule in great customer service starts by hiring and training the right people and then imbuing them with a sense of purpose around trying to make the customer feel special.


Bankers that are truly curious about the lives of the customers and have a passion for banking tend to naturally show a high level of enthusiasm for banking clients be it retail or commercial. By defining the goal of trying to make customers feel that they are the best thing that happens to us on any given day we now can train to that standard.


This Wisconsin banker teaches her staff to keep ramping up the enthusiasm until you make a difference in the customer’s day. Can you be too enthusiastic? Not a chance. We have searched for the last decade and know of no customer that has complained that a banker was too enthusiastic.


Something Unexpected


While Rule Two is to satisfy the customer’s spoken or unspoken need, Rule Three is what set great banks apart – “Creating that feeling of “Wow.””


If any business got you what you needed, in an efficient and polite manner, with enthusiasm, you would be pretty happy. If you could just pull steps One and Two off, most of your customers would walk out of your bank and give you a “10 out of 10” on your customer satisfaction survey.


However, if you read this far, you are not interested in a good bank, you want a great bank. A bank that people will still talk about after you are gone. To do that, you now have to have your staff do something unexpected. Something that stops the customer in their tracks and makes the customer think to themselves – “Wow, that was really special.”


The goal is to not only make the customer give you a 10 out of 10 on your customer satisfaction survey but tell ten of their friends about your great service.


From an execution standpoint, this is the easiest rule to pull off as once this culture is started, it is difficult to stop - Stories abound, creativity gets pushed, and fun ensues. Employees look forward to doing something special for the customer and seeing the look of delight on their face.


From a management standpoint, all this takes is a little budget, some delegated authority and a training session on thinking creatively to Wow your customer and the process is set in motion. You then go around catching employees Wowing customers and reporting back in staff meetings, newsletters, and press releases. Your bank will soon be known for their customer wowing.


Here are just a few of the many things we have tried or heard about from other bankers:


  • Providing a Hershey’s chocolate Kiss with every transaction on the teller platform
  • Giving the option of having your car washed after using the drive-up teller
  • Providing a lucite “tombstone” to commemorate a loan closing
  • Sending a handwritten “thank you” note about something
  • Sending an offer of tickets to a community event
  • Feature a customer on social media
  • A gift certificate for a dinner for a customer’s 100th debit card transaction
  • Singing the customer happy birthday on a video and then sending it to them
  • Sending welcoming flowers or a small gift basket for switching banks
  • Providing a “Get out of fee free” card that allows the customer a $25 credit on any fee
  • Giving away bank umbrellas on a rainy day
  • Giving bank logo’ed sunscreen on a hot day
  • Send a birthday and/or anniversary card
  • Having a free lemonade stand, with paid kids handing out free homemade lemonade
  • Having the CEO or board member call every new customer thanking them for their trust
  • Provide a small gift connected with a customer’s hobby that they just happened to mention – special fly fishing lures, an article about an art opening, a new book on their topic, spa vouchers, a membership to the Dollar Shave Club, Yoga classes, a magazine subscription, etc. 

There are an infinite amount of ideas that are only limited by your creativity. It doesn’t have to be expensive but the more personal you can make the gift, the better. The trick is to make it personal, spontaneous and a surprise to the customer.


Sometimes it does take a budget but consider what it would cost you to get ten referrals. You would have to put in several hours of time at a minimum at a cost of $150+. Spending $20 on a customer to delight them is nothing compared to what it will do for you in employee happiness, word of mouth and customer loyalty.


We pitched this idea to one management team and the CEO shot back – “I can’t have my staff running around buying candy, singing songs and taking video. What happens if all my employees did that?” 


“Yes,” we said. “What happens if all your employees did that? Can you imagine what that would look like - Employees collaborating on ideas, having fun being creative; customers being delighted at every turn, telling their friends and other businesses about you? Why you would be the stuff of legend.”


The reality is, those three simple rules take effort and they are not for every bank. A bank needs to decide proactively if that is the type of bank they want to be and then be able to hire, train and execute on that vision.


There is no shame in not wowing your customers, there is just no strategic advantage in it either.