Communication is Critical to Customer Experience

Anyone have a decent business banker? I ask because I, like so many business owners, struggle to find the right match.

I’m frustrated. Let me tell you about my banking experience since starting my company.

I opened a business banking account with a nice enough banker at a local, independent bank I selected because they were known as a community leader and seemed, for lack of a better description, more “kind-hearted” than other banks.

I was not thrilled with their terrible online banking options, but they were local and kind and seemed to actually care about me.

ToobigbankingphobiaThen that bank was gobbled up by a big bank.

I no longer knew who to call, and then discovered some important paperwork had been neglected during the transition.

A very nice, extremely knowledgeable business banker called me to introduce herself. She invited me in for a meeting with the sole purpose of getting to know me. She waived fees and helped me gain access to a few tools reserved for the bigger players.

She made it a point to introduce me to the branch manager. I felt like they actually cared about me and my business! It was a banking miracle.

After several months of dealing with this specific banker, I called her directly as I had done several times. I got someone else’s voicemail. I decided to stop in the branch and see what was going on. Someone new was sitting in my banker’s seat.

Luckily, I knew the manager! He waved me into his office and we had a nice chat. He explained the banker had moved out of state. I mentioned that one of the fees that had been waived was appearing on my statement. He took care of it immediately, then handed me a card with his direct line. I was asked to call anytime.

They still cared about me! I felt like I had an ally at that branch.

One day I had a question and called my pal Mr. Manager. Someone else’s name was on his voicemail!

This was getting ridiculous. My allies and direct contacts kept leaving without explanation or communication. I was adrift. I called the general number, got connected to a business banker, and explained how I really didn’t know who to talk to. You see, my original banker had offered a service for a year without fees. I was trying to cancel the service and had already incurred fees she promised to waive.

The banker I spoke to assured me he could take care of my request.

I called a few days later and left a message. Was I still being charged?

No reply.

Why don't you call?I called back a few days after that. I’m getting concerned. What’s the update?

No reply.

Weeks went by, repeating this pattern.

Then, finally, inexplicably, I received a statement in the mail with the fees credited to me.

The problem was solved, and yet I never heard from this new banker.

I’m adrift. Again.

I no longer feel like they care about me. I feel they don’t.

Perhaps the original banker left for another state, as I was told. Perhaps she was the one who was supposed to call and and let me know she was leaving.

Perhaps the manager left for questionable reasons, which I really know nothing about. Perhaps he was the one who was supposed to call and let me know he was leaving.

Perhaps the next banker believed since he had resolved my issue, his work was done, and there was no need to call.

None of this makes me feel appreciated or valued. It makes me feel anxious and, frankly, alone.

I’m no longer working with people. I’m working with a faceless, soulless big bank. Their people are not taught to reach out when it’s necessary. I’m an afterthought.

In any customer experience, communication training – not just the how, but the why and the when – is critical to a happy experience for your customers.

Have you reached out to your customers lately? If not, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Photo credits: The Cyphers Agency and drewleavy via Creative Commons license

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator™ and founder of 360Connext, a global consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. 360Connext serves mid-market companies and larger by helping them evaluate their true customer experience. The evaluations always lead to improvements which then lead to results like increased online conversions or loyalty.

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3 comments
AnneReuss
AnneReuss

I'll be going undercover this week when I switch to Charles Schwab (my brother can't get enough of the fact all of his ATM fees are reimbursed, even internationally) and the checkbooks are unlimited. Hope this bank doesn't disappoint and I'll report my experience! ;-) 

Sue Reddel
Sue Reddel

Great article Jeannie. I've had the same experience with several banks both large and small. Please do let us know if you ever find one that's actually interested in  your business and your business. 

jeanniecw
jeanniecw moderator

 @Sue Reddel It's amazing to me how many business owners have this complaint. You'd think banks would realize small fish grow up to be big ones, so creating a reason for loyalty early on in the relationship would be so, so valuable!

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