30 September 2019 | 17 Comments
I had memorably bad experience at a bank recently that left me thinking about customer service from a business perspective, so I’d like to share it with you.
It’s incredibly rare that I actually walk into a bank. I bank online, and I rarely spend cash. I’m probably not alone in that experience, so I understand that a bank might want to take advantage of one of the few times a customer enters their doors.
The experience started off really, really great. As soon as I walked in, a greeter said hi to me and asked if she could help. I mentioned why I was there, and she directed me to the teller. She also noticed the parking ticket in my hand, and she said she would stamp it while I waited in line.
When a teller was available, she took my information and started processing my request. Things were moving so smoothly that I thought I would be finished within a few minutes. As someone who values time more than anything else, this was turning out to be an incredible gift.
It got even better from there, because the teller noticed that I was eligible for an account upgrade. No extra costs–just a better interest rate and the ability to avoid a fee I was going to incur that day. After confirming there was no downside, I told her she could apply the upgrade to my account.
What should have happened next was that the teller simply clicked the button to activate the upgrade, completed the original transaction (the reason I was at the bank), and sent me on my merry way. In multiple ways, I would have walked away enthusiastic about the visit. After all, so many elements went better than I could have imagined.
What actually happened was that the bank used the account upgrade as an opportunity to try to upsell me. They turned a moment of great customer service into a dismal sales pitch involving two separate offices and multiple bankers. I wanted to leave, but I was trapped because I had already accepted the waived fee that was contingent upon the account upgrade.
Fortunately, I was very clear with the second banker that I did not have time for these shenanigans, and he did what the teller should have done in the first place: He clicked a single button, and I was all set to leave.
As you can tell, though, the damage had already been done. I like to focus on the positive–I hope that’s clear from the good things I mentioned about this experience–but it was a great reminder that a good customer experience can so easily be tarnished. The bank was so close to getting it right.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurs and creators like you and me? Don’t use trust as a tool. Good customer service isn’t entrapment. It’s great if you’ve built up a loyal following through a series of customer-facing decisions. That’s enough. You don’t need to leverage that trust. Just earn it and keep earning it.
What’s your takeaway from this experience? Have you ever had a similar experience as a customer?
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