Jim S Miller

Thoughts on the Client Experience and Banking

Kind and Friendly are the New Black in Customer Experience

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In the new book, Spend Shift: How The Post-Crisis Values Revolution is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio, the authors discuss findings from Young  & Rubicam’s ongoing BrandAsset Valuator survey. The results show that the attributes Americans find important has changed dramatically during the financial crisis.

Attributes that declined in importance from 2005 to 2009:

  • Exclusive – down 60 percent
  • Arrogant – down 41 percent
  • Sensuous – down 30 percent
  • Daring – down 20 percent
  • Trendy – down 13 percent

Attributes that increased in importance 2005 to 2009:

  • Kindness and Empathy – up 391 percent
  • Friendly – up 148 percent
  • High-quality – up 124 percent
  • Socially responsible – up 63 percent
  • Leader – up 40 percent

According to the authors, “The increase reported for ‘Kindness’ is not a typo. Between 2005 and 2009 American consumers expressed a nearly fourfold increase in their preference for companies that show kindness in both their operations and their encounters with customers.” Customers have always valued kindness and friendliness, but their importance has gotten higher in recent years. The research we have conducted at Prime Performance shows that bank customers are looking for more than just efficiency and accuracy. Those are important, but not enough to drive customer satisfaction. Customers care about how they are treated. They want to work with people and companies who care about their business and care about them as individuals. How do you show these traits?  It comes down to the basics. 

  • Welcome your customers with a warm smile (even on the phone) and a friendly greeting. 
  • Make it personal, use your customers’ names.
  • Thank your customers for doing business with you (they have a choice and they know it).
  • Ask them if there is anything else you can help them with.
  • If you make a mistake, don’t make excuses… apologize and fix it.
  • Be consistent. Most of the time is not good enough.  Every time, every customer!
  • Most important, treat your customers the way you would like to be treated (or better).

The little things go a long way, and have become more important in recent years. “Exclusive” and “Arrogant” are out.  “Kind” and “Friendly” are the new black!

As John Gerzema states in the video below, business will be “less about more, and more about better.”

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