Relationship Centricity

  • Dean posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 3 years, 9 months ago

    A long time ago I had a run-in with an old employer of mine. It’s a small bank in a suburban town in Wisconsin. They aren’t very big, and when I left the town they didn’t seem like they were doing too great. This was all before the recession, so I thought they were wiped out when the markets crashed. I went back home over the weekend and saw the…[Read more]

    • I’d say they probably had some pretty dedicated customers who were loyal to them. Small places like that can save a ton by cutting stuff and not having to pay for big expenses like insurance or anything like that. So small businesses have the advantage when it comes to cutting costs and only using the bare minimum on a daily basis.

    • Well, that’s quite a surprise to hear a small business stuck around through the recession. They must be doing well now if they survived! But that’s how it works, the strong will make it through and they’ll be there to get all the customers that are left behind when everyone else closes 😉

  • Do you think that an inherently customer oriented business, such as a social media site, possibly become more relationship centric? I couldn’t help but think of websites like Facebook and LinkedIn pumping more and more investment dollars into identifying how to better grasp their audience’s attention. Would it be better for these websites to move…[Read more]

    • But what good would it do to do that? Just curious how you think that would help

    • Well how much money can a company like that even make? It’s not like you make a ton of money from a free site like that, and even if you did, what good with new interface be? Usually it just throws people off and gets them angry because you change things up. No, you won’t see that happening anytime soon

  • Stanley posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 5 years ago

    I have to say that I have had a recent experience with a rental car company that was surprising to say the least. Many companies interject saying that they prioritize the customer and the experience that they create for them. Additionally, most will state that they aim to establish a relationship with their customers, yet simply regulate that duty…[Read more]

    • You are right in saying that the issue is the lack of followthrough on behalf of the company. Many are content to simply train their employees and trust that the job is being done appropriately. What must occur is consistent monitoring of the matter and improvement of the process. Rather that simply training, companies need to employ a system…[Read more]

    • So how do we do that? Have someone dedicated to making sure it all flows smoothly like you want? It sounds really expensive and doesn’t sound like something a business should do if they have lots of branches to watch over

      • Proper training is key to ensuring a smooth and consistent form of service. While you will have breakdowns, the best way to standardize the process is to provide consistent, effective training that will stick with the employees. It is more expensive and it does take time, but it does produce results.

    • I don’t think you’ll get perfection. That’s just the way it is. You train people, you leave, you come back and see them cutting corners. It happens. I’d say that if you train them and get them to at least do it a good chunk of the time then it all pays off. Just make sure to check up every once in a while to make sure it’s going the way you want.

    • People screw up. I don’t see why you think this is something new or a real problem. People are lazy, they screw up, they slack off and cut corners. Normal business issues that we can’t really get rid of. Deal with it because we won’t see it go away anytime soon.

  • As someone who isn’t as well versed in the business of CRM systems and customer retention, I find it interesting how it can be such an upcoming subject. There are articles detailing the proper implementation plans, the best systems, and best timings for when to apply them. However, my question is what would be the ideal time to implement such a…[Read more]

    • It is my personal belief that every company has their own critical point where implementing a customer experience strategy, and whether that may be before the company has started or when they have reached full market saturation is entirely dependent upon that company’s management. However, it is clear that building a customer experience foundation…[Read more]

      • But is there truly a turning point in any business where implementing a new system of culture would be best? In my mind, I cannot see there being a specific point in time where a business would gain the most benefit from changing their culture towards something more relationship centric. I feel that it has to be an internal change from the start…[Read more]

    • Well you heard the genius himself! Seems like there is no perfect time to implement things. I agree too! You need to let people do their thing and not go by some set schedule. When the time is right, the time is right 🙂

    • If you’ve got your business going strong is there really a need to go ahead and get a big change over to relationship centric stuff? I mean, if you’re already doing good how much can changing how you work help? I don’t see how it can make these huge improvement to a system that is working just fine.

      • I see it as keeping up with the industry and changes in customer expectations. As you become accustomed to a certain set of standards you realize that there is little that differentiates companies. All, in the end, strive to achieve the same standards, effectively commoditizing themselves. They need to establish a relationship in order to retain customers.

  • It has been relatively quiet within the Community, but I still feel that this is a gathering place for great minds to share their input and perspective on all things banking, business, and customer experience related. Keeping that in mind, I want to pose a question related to the current times and see how situations may differ across the board. In…[Read more]

    • OK, another answer coming in hot! 😀 For Giving Tuesday I spent the day with my family volunteering at the local animal shelter. You should have seen how happy my daughter was to play with all the puppies that were there. It was adorable! We did it because we felt good about helping them out, and I’m pretty sure that companies feel the same. Who…[Read more]

      • That sounds like a great way to spend the day. I agree that if you are doing something to benefit society it is not terrible to benefit as well, but sometimes I question whether companies would contribute if they knew there was no strong tangible benefit.

  • I was on my way to deposit money in the bank, usually a pretty dull experience, when I was engaged in conversation with the bank teller. She asked me how my day was going and what my plans were for the upcoming weekend because I seemed to be smiling and happy, at least more so than the average customer in the bank. Over the course of my deposit we…[Read more]

    • While I do echo your sentiments, Ray, I do believe that at this point you are expecting more than your bank can provide to an individual customer. Yes, it would be wonderful to have interpersonal contact with significant figures in the bank, but you must understand the limitations of such interaction. A manager may not always be able to speak with…[Read more]

      • I am not saying that my relationship with that bank teller is a bad thing. As it turns out, she’s been a delightful person to interact with on a regular basis. What I am more concerned about is how the ranking of an individual can have such an impact upon your relationship with a company. We are naturally drawn to people, yet it is troubling to…[Read more]

        • Please allow me to try to address the concerns you are having. What I believe to be the issue here is that we associate individuals with their level of authority because modern society has conditioned us to understand how exactly individuals are able to influence our position in society. Take, for example, the significance of knowing a volunteer…[Read more]

      • You’re really a genius, you know that, Stan? You make things make sense when they don’t really seem like they can, plus you put such a great spin on things when they seem bad! 🙂 Teller or not, that person is still a pretty important face of the bank, and you’re showing us how that little bit of conversation matters in the long run. Maybe you…[Read more]

    • What difference is it between an accountant and a teller? People at the bank always seem like they’re doing the same tasks except for the manager sitting in the glass office with that serious look on their face. And how do you end up talking to the tellers? They always end up doing everything so fast that I can’t even get a word in.

      • Tellers are the individuals who you typically see at the windows doing the general transactions for the banks such as deposits and withdrawals. Accountants, however, are the individuals who end up sitting by the desks and help you open accounts, deal with account issues, etc. These individuals typically have greater responsibilities in the bank…[Read more]

    • Your story makes it seem like no one else in the bank ever wants to even talk to you. Maybe just a simple disconnect between what you are expecting and what the bank thinks they need to provide to keep you happy? Or maybe it has to do with employees not wanting to deal with customers? Either way, I think the banks need to take action and show to…[Read more]

      • I agree with you – banks need to be more of a human, rather than robotic, business. I think it is a blend of a lack of emphasis on the relationship by the bank as well as my high expectations. The human connection is what gives the relationship an anchor to hold the customer and root them to the business, and without that there really is not much…[Read more]

      • See, you make a lot of sense, James, and I knew you would be the one who actually has some reasoning. You talk to your people, and that’s all well and good, but you aren’t being picky and saying that it doesn’t matter since you’re not some senior VP. Ray over here thinks that people don’t matter unless they’re some top dog. Now that is what I call…[Read more]

    • What difference does it make when you’re talking to someone? You should be happy you’re making that connection regardless of who it is. You keep going on and on about how the bank needs to connect more with the customer, but now you’re complaining about who is making that connection? That person may be a lifetime employee for the bank and they’…[Read more]

      • You misunderstand me. I am not discounting my relationship with the bank teller, just merely stating that it would carry more value if the person had a greater influence on my actual banking activities. I am definitely glad that I was able to form a relationship with someone in the bank – that relationship does bring me into the bank more often…[Read more]

    • It’s great that you got to talk to someone at the bank and get to know them a little better. It’s like making a new friend 🙂 Or maybe she was flirting with you? 😉 Just kidding! You know, I think it would be better if you did get to talking with the manager or someone like that. This is someone you can discuss your personal matters with and kno…[Read more]

      • Well I do not believe that flirting with the customer would be appropriate at all, but I do appreciate the sentiment, Ronald. I do walk into the bank much more when Michelle (my regular bank teller) is working, but I do not have the ability to openly discuss my account with her. An account manager would have the flexibility to sit down and discuss…[Read more]

        • Hey, you never know what a girl is thinking 😉 Maybe she had her eye on you! But I know that someone with more power is always better to know. I mean hey, power gets you places, and someone in the bank with power can get you perks and all kinds of stuff. 🙂

  • Hello everyone! I am new to the community and this group. Actually, I found out about it from a BAI Article a few months back. I\’m no expert, so I hope to learn a lot from everyone here so I can use it to improve my financial advising skills. I know this is really focused on banks, but I think that it makes sense as long as you\’re dealing with customers.

    • I believe you will find what you are looking for in the Community. There is a variety of topics covered – everything from banking to food and travel – with everything tying back into the central idea of the overall customer experience and relationship. Many of the ideas discussed are from firsthand accounts by the Community members, and I bel…[Read more]

      • I’m looking forward to discussing all sorts of things with you guys. Hopefully you guys work a lot with financial stuff, that’s mainly what I’m here for. But I don’t mind some of the other things either, so maybe I’ll chime in for a few other topics too.

    • If you’re anything like me you’ll be learning something every time. I’m always the one asking questions, so if you’re thinking of asking something, trust me, I’m probably gonna end up asking too. But these are great people who point things out and make them clear. So you’re bound to have something to take away from here.

    • Great to have you James! 🙂 I think you’ll learn a lot from everyone here. Especially Michael, he’s the brains behind customer experience as far as I’m concerned! 😀 So stay tuned to Senteo and check out the other groups. You’ll find all sorts of great material. I recommend the articles that Michael writes. I’ve read all of them myself and I wou…[Read more]

      • Thanks! I’ll probably check them out once I’ve got time. Reading articles isn’t exactly my thing, so can’t promise you anything there. But maybe if I’ve got the time I’ll give them a once over.

    • Welcome to the Community, James. This is a place of discussion, insight, and learning for those experienced and inexperienced across the industry. There are times when the ideas presented may stray from the original goal of analyzing the banking industry, but there are still great insights to be had while applying theory to food, financial…[Read more]

      • Well I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me if I wanna learn about stuff here. I’ll go check out some of the older stuff I guess. Articles, maybe another time. But I’ll be sure to jump in and get my word out when I feel like I need to.

    • Don’t expect to get much out of these guys. Most of them are so convinced that this is the miracle cure for banking and almost any industry. Trust me, there’s some good stuff that’s thrown out there every once in a while, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one making sense most of the time.

      • I’ll keep it in mind, but I’m still gonna try to keep my eyes and ears open. Like you said, there’s some good stuff here and there, and that’s what I’ll be looking out for.

  • Dean posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 6 years ago

    If you’re like me, you shop at whatever store is most convenient for you. For me, that means shopping at my local Kroger store and using my loyalty card to rack up points. I get that the card gives me discounts and coupons, but I’ve always wondered why they don’t use the information about me to give me personalized ads. They know what I buy, they…[Read more]

    • Dean, this is a great point! With all of the money I’m spending at their store, I’ve always wondered why they don’t throw me a bone (like the ones I buy for my dogs at their store!) I would love to get free stuff and probably would shop there for even more things if they gave me a reason to. 🙂 As long as they’re not handing my contact info ou…[Read more]

      • I believe that the difficulty with grocery stores using customer data lies with how to utilize the data effectively without overstepping personal space. Implementing a system that harvests and targets specific customers can be expensive, and if it does not create a steady influx of regular customers then it will not be a profitable experience.…[Read more]

        • I would have to agree with Ray and his stance on this topic; customer data is sensitive and requires finesse when considering options for utilizing the data. While it may seem beneficial to have targeted contact from your grocery store, it can also be seen as an invasion of privacy. This is similar to the emails you sometimes receive from…[Read more]

          • Dean replied 6 years ago

            But can’t you just unsubscribe from this sort of stuff that way they don’t use your data? Kinda like with stores when they ask for your emails. Just tell them you don’t want to be marketed to personally and they won’t use your personal info. Wouldn’t that be an easy way to get some good marketing out there to get people to start shopping with you?

            • As much as I hate to admit it, unsubscribing from that sort of stuff is a total pain. 🙁 That’s probably why they don’t do it that way. It’s why people always use junk emails when they sign up at stores. It would be so much worse if they started using random addresses too. Think about it, you use a random address and then that person gets your…[Read more]

    • The ways that grocery stores use your information does not have to be as blatant as giving you a coupon for your favorite product. There are thousands of people who go to the grocery store and to cater to each person individually would be very expensive. Maybe you have noticed that instead of having three flavors of the chips you always buy, they…[Read more]

      • Dean replied 6 years ago

        Don’t you think it would be better to just give us coupons we want to use instead? I just want to get my groceries cheaper. Would you want to pick more features or anything like that over prices?

        • The thing with coupons is that you need to have them in order to use them. When you go to the grocery store you do not always have all of your trip planned out, and that might mean leaving coupons at home because you wanted to stop by and pick up some things on the way home from work. I highly doubt a second trip would be made because you can pick…[Read more]

    • What you most consider in this situation is how you want your grocery store, or whatever store for that matter, to use the information it has gathered about you. Usually, this information is gathered and aggregated to account for all customers in order to better understand overall buying behavior and tailor the store accordingly. While there is…[Read more]

      • Dean replied 6 years ago

        What if there were conditions that made it impossible to raise prices like that? Maybe if they tied the prices so all stores had to change them and not just individual ones, would that make it so we could use the purchasing activity?

        • Well it would remedy the situation a little, but you must consider how that would hamper the sales of the other products in the store. If one product – let’s say milk – was being sold at a a certain price and attracting huge amounts of traffic, then increasing the price of the milk to competitive levels would mean increasing the price of other…[Read more]

    • Aaron replied 6 years ago

      So you want the stores to abuse the information they have on you? You must be really naïve to think that this would be a good idea. These stores know everything about you – where you live, when you’re in their store, what you’re buying from them. Just based off the stuff you buy they can guess what your diet is like. Your parents couldn’t even tel…[Read more]

      • Dean replied 6 years ago

        Why wouldn’t you want the store to use it? They have the info already, might as well put it to use. Wouldn’t you want them to send you coupons on the stuff you buy most?

        • Aaron replied 6 years ago

          Unlike you, I prefer my privacy and like knowing that grocery stores aren’t using my info for no good reason. Is your privacy worth a dollar off a gallon of milk?

  • Hi everyone! Ron Hostetter here – consultant. Just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to the community :)I’ve been lurking in the community for a while, but I finally feel like I should poke my head out and share some insight. I love Senteo’s work and Michael’s articles because they are so true and match how banks have dropped the ball wh…[Read more]

    • The banking industry is an adamant industry that does not change its pace over the years. It is difficult to really clarify just how ingrained the banking industry is with its business practices. This is a beast that has withstood the test of time, needing very little in terms of operational overhaul since its inception, and likewise it is…[Read more]

      • Thanks for replying Stan! I didn’t notice that Svetlana already talked about banks and relationship centricity, so I’m glad you showed this to me (I’m always trying to find out more about Senteo and their views!). I guess Michael’s view of relationship centricity hasn’t been widely tested yet, so banks are not sure if they want to give it a shot.…[Read more]

        • Aaron replied 6 years ago

          They could not benefit because there’s a good chance they’ll lose money by doing it. It’s that simple. If it really was working as well as you say, they wouldn’t only try it in a few bank branches. Obviously something isn’t going well enough for them to want to make it large scale.

    • Welcome to the Community, Ron! I would say banks are having trouble playing a big part in people’s lives because they are not sure how to do it. You don’t know what makes people tick right off the bat – you have to get to know them first. That is where banks fail, though, because they are not willing to take that first step and try to find out w…[Read more]

      • Thanks Ray! 🙂 Banks sound like they’re just being shy and don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way, but they would do so much better if they just took risks. If banks don’t take risks and reach out to their customers then they will end up being forgotten and left behind.

    • Bankers are smart not to listen to what people like Michael think about the banking industry. Banks do fine with the strategy they use now, and they’ll keep doing fine if they just stick to their guns and keep doing what works. Why do they need to have a relationship with the customers if customer only goes there to get things done? Banks are p…[Read more]

      • I think you’re wrong, Aaron. Senteo makes it clear that the customer relationship is important for businesses to be successful. Communication and culture are just as important as the products that the banks offer to their customers. More customers will come to the banks if the banks are willing to speak with them and work towards their goals, and…[Read more]

        • Banks are in business to make a profit and the consumer knows that. If banks were out there to just help the consumer then they would give fair rates and act in the customer’s best interest. That’s not how it is, though, and that makes people question the banks. There is always a hidden motive for bankers to contact the customer, and if I was…[Read more]

          • That is why the way a bank reaches out to the customer is so important. Like you said, banks are in the business of making money so they need to make it clear that they are contacting you for mutual benefit. It may be hard to come off that way, but it is doable.

    • Hi Ron! I think banks don’t like engaging people because it costs money to have people spend that extra time with them. These guys are big business with the big bucks on their mind, so if you and I aren’t the biggest fish in the sea it’s basically just catch and release. I’m pretty sure if I was Bill Gates they’d be swooning over me, treating…[Read more]

      • Hi Dean 🙂 Banks do give special treatment to the really wealthy customers, but they would probably do just as well if they paid special attention to the regular Joe, too! Talking to my account manager would probably be enough to convince me to open up a new account or put more of my money away. Once they have a few people trained to talk to…[Read more]

        • Really it is all about field testing the system. I don’t think banks would be willing to go for a full overhaul of how they do business, but it should come in trial form before they make a decision. If you think about food there are restaurants that will roll out new products in limited locations, and if it does not do well they axe the product early.

          • Well said, Ray! Always gotta taste test it before you bring it to the table 🙂

  • Yes… yesterday was my birthday. Why am I posting about it ? Interestingly, I got a “happy birthday” e-mail from a hotel that I visited one time, for two nights, in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2008. Now, why is that interesting, and why is that relevant to relationship-centricity ? I am torn between how to dissect this incident…

    It would have…[Read more]

    • This is very in testing, Michael. So, Indonesian location has it’s own CRM system that “doesn’t talk” to other locations. I guess it would depend on their company structure, but it seems like they have a very decentralized approach. Do you think it would change customer’s perception if the message is sent by the corporate office?

      Personally, I…[Read more]

      • I agree with both of you, Michael and Svetlana. I think it only brings more attention to the opportunities that they missed by sending a birthday wish so late in the game. I would have like to see a message come for the upper management that said…. Wow! We notice we had not acknowledged your birthday in the past; however, we are trying to…[Read more]

    • Odd that they would do that to you. This is sort of a double-edged sword for the company: on one hand, they did well to send you a message, but on the other, this message should have been ongoing instead of just happening now. Possibly they just implemented this system and that is why you only received this message recently? Regardless, it is an…[Read more]

    • Michael, first off let me begin by saying “Belated happy birthday!” This is quite the interesting story. To think that a hotel chain, especially one that is multinational, could make such a mistake is shocking. Like everyone has already said, a more personal message would have been more appropriate in this case considering how you are a regular…[Read more]

    • Just curious, which hotel chain did you say at? Sounds like they aren’t treating you with respect. Was the email one of those generic ones where they just throw your name at the top and send it? I just junk those types of emails because they usually are sent by a computer instead of by someone who actually cares.

    • Sounds like they blew you off for a few years and want you back now. Agree with Ray that they might just have set up the system, but still they should have said something every year.

    • Happy birthday Michael! I love your work and think that what you’re doing with relationship centricity is great for banks and for consumers!
      I don’t think that hotel chain is doing the right thing for it’s customers. They need to be more customer centric and create a more innovative customer experience if they want to get better. Maybe you need to…[Read more]

  • After reading The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld, it is clear that customers are at the heart of all business success due to their influence in both referring and refuting a business. One company in particular is one we deal with on a regular basis: Apple. Within the book, Fred talks about how the company emphasizes the Net Promoter Score…[Read more]

    • I’m not convinced by Apple’s methods for earning a customer’s trust and building their loyalty to the brand through the relationship experience. Even though it was years ago, I can still remember when I first bought the iPhone 4 back in 2010. Touted as a top-of-the-line product, right off the bat I was hit by a host of issues, namely the signa…[Read more]

      • I think you’re missing the point in your own argument though. Apple heard the grievances and responded! Big companies, especially ones as big as Apple, can hush the media and try to sweep issues like this under the rug, but they responded. Giving out free cases or replacing phones may have been a solution made after the problem appeared, but they…[Read more]

        • While I do not doubt that Apple’s response was great, I have to side with Aaron and his displeasure. A company as large and successful as Apple should not have made such a mistake in the first place. In hindsight, I am sure that Apple executives were frustrated because the technological gaffe that they made probably resulted in a loss of customers…[Read more]

          • I worked during the iPhone 4S issues and I can say firsthand that it really made us scramble. There were lots of angry customers, but just as many were happy we were fixing the issue, even if it was just replacing their phone. I don’t have the numbers, but I think that Apple still gained more customers than lost.

      • Thank you for responding, Aaron. It sounds like your experience with Apple was less than pleasurable, and it seems like Apple’s customer service and methods are not always as impeccable as they are portrayed to be. I am sure others share your emotions and perception of Apple as a brand, but this makes me wonder why there are those who would stand…[Read more]

    • Avid Apple user here. I liked Apple for product design and how easy it was to use. That was the first baby step. My real first experience was when I bought my phone at the Apple Store. The people there were helpful and taught me how to use my device. The place looked open and bright, too. All those computers and iPads around the room, pretty cool…[Read more]

      • I’m glad to see someone who uses Apple on a regular basis was able to respond. Your insight is invaluable; since I do not use any Apple products nor do I frequent their stores, it is intriguing to hear that the Apple employees play such a big role in their company’s success. Little details like the lighting within the physical stores is also a…[Read more]

        • I don’t know if they planned any of it. The room just looked clean and simple. I think the products just looked cool because it was just a table and the iPhone or whatever they had. Do you think the layout of the room helps?

    • For me, Apple seems to get most of its luster from the way people feel about the products, and I can say that because I worked in tech support for them at one point – people just feel like they’re better because they use Apple. For me, I remember when the iPhone first came out and my friend was one of the few people who ended up buying it (he was…[Read more]

      • Not only did you have the opportunity to interact with someone who was an original iPhone user, but you also had the pleasure of being employed by Apple! I can only imagine what thoughts and emotions went through your head as your friend’s purchase went from merely a new phone to the “it” product of the decade. I can see that you echo my thoughts…[Read more]

        • Honestly, as someone who was troubleshooting iPhones and iPads, I can really say that I just don’t like how cocky some people are because they own Apple. I wasn’t really jealous of my friend’s iPhone, but I did think it was pretty cool. I doubt many people are jealous because there are other devices that are just as good. So jealousy – no, not…[Read more]

    • Agree with Stan that it’s all about the culture. You look cool with an iPhone. You can talk about apps and how to use the phone better with other people. I think we just like being with similar people, and when you have an iPhone you get to join the club and mingle with other users.

      • It really is just human nature to be with people that are like us, so when you have millions of users that have the iPhone, having one of your own brings that mentality that you are part of the “it” crowd. Thank you for responding, Dan.

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