Alexey

  • I can’t believe I never joined this group earlier! After all, when it comes to businesses my favorite part to manage and talk about is how we make customers comfortable and happy when they shop with us 🙂 That’s what keeps them coming back after all!

  • Dean posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 4 years 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 😉

  • Ever realize how theme parks make such great environments? You spend money just to be there like it’s an exclusive club. I think banks can do the same and make it feel like you really are a part of something special, like by net worth or income maybe. You can make the bank nicer with artwork and furniture to make it seem upscale. Maybe that can…[Read more]

    • I believe that this works because theme parks play on the concept of selling an experience and activities that go along with it. On the other hand, banks and financial institutions sell products and services directly associated with their trade – money. These are things that are maintained over long periods of time, and thus cannot necessarily be…[Read more]

      • Obviously I replied to the wrong post, but anyways, I don’t really think that it’s worth the investment. It’s a big charge just to make things a little nicer and maybe bring in new people. Personally, I wouldn’t see it as worth the expense or risk of implementation.

        • There are always situations where it may be more expensive to actually implement a new concept. However, if you can weigh out the costs and benefits then you can evaluate whether or not it is worth the risk. In this case, I agree that there is quite a bit on the line in terms of money that probably would not be worth it in most cases. I still…[Read more]

    • While I do agree that this is a novel way to attract customers, I must concur with James and point out that this is a strategy that has a great deal of upfront investment that may not generate a sufficient return. Physical presence for a business, while an important representation of the culture and face of the company, is an aspect of traditional…[Read more]

      • Dean replied 4 years ago

        So are you saying that it wouldn’t ever work for businesses to grow by making their stores more attractive? I was thinking it would be the same as a regular remodel.

        • There is potential that this will have a positive impact upon the business, but that impact is marginal compared to other methods that can be used. For the banking industry, it may be more worthwhile to invest in talent, personnel, and services. However, a traditional remodel can be effective, it just may have limited success.

    • Aaron replied 4 years ago

      Great idea, and while we’re at it we might as well hand them free products and services as well. Really, who would spend all that money to build up a nice bank when your customers don’t even come in the doors? The issue isn’t making the place nicer so that people come in – it’s about giving them a reason for them to be there in the first place. If…[Read more]

      • Dean replied 4 years ago

        Same as what I said above, I don’t get how it wouldn’t work. People would go see places that are new or interesting because it will catch their eye. I was thinking it would be the same sort of deal and people would come to the bank looking to see what’s new, then being sold on new products.

    • Not undermining you or anything, but I don’t think it can work that way. You go to a theme park because you want to be in that setting. A bank? You go there to do your business and then be done with it. You can make an atmosphere, but it’s like making a bathroom fancy. Yeah, it’s nice at first, but I think the appeal wears off over time. It’ll…[Read more]

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

    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]

    • Dean replied 5 years ago

      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

  • I want to share an experience I had with a themed store here in Las Vegas. Recently, I visited the aptly named Zombie Apocalypse Store that is just off of the Strip, and I have to say that it did have some interesting points that would help with improving a regular business’s model and environment. The service and actual business were somewhat…[Read more]

    • And how do you think a “zombie” shop is a good model for a bank? It makes no sense that we should take a tip from some retail store that bets on gimmicks instead of actual advantages. Who cares about some store that has to stay in business by using fads and tricks. That won’t work for a regular business

    • I’m still iffy on if this is something we would want to see for financial services though. Do you want a safari jungle themed bank? Would it make it much better? Aaron has a good point here. I want my bank to just be a bank, and how I think of a bank is how banks are right now. Maybe they can be better, but nothing wrong with it now

    • I don’t like forcing the bank to be something it’s not. It’s not a place for you to see everything that’s going on. It’s for security purposes. I’d say if you want to make the bank better, make it visually match a theme. Like a bank that would cater to high class would have classy art and all that jazz. Something more middle road would have…[Read more]

  • 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.

        • Dean replied 5 years ago

          I can see what you mean. I guess its just the owner’s decision as to whether its worth it.

    • 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.

  • So what would be a good experiential environment? Like, what would be an example of one? I want to have an idea of a model to follow if I try to come up with new ideas.

    • This is not one that I believe you will be able to gain a great deal of insight from, but I recently was at Six Flags and was pleasantly surprised by how well they were able to create this experience of being in a different themed area. In particular, I am speaking of Camp Snoopy. In addition to the rides (in this case, their services), they…[Read more]

      • You know, it doesn’t really make that much sense for the banking industry but I get the idea with what you’re talking about. In the end, we just want to immerse the customer and them to feel like they are actually part of the world we make. So, banking is profession, amusement park is childish.

        • That is the main goal. We want to be able to create a situation where we become immersed in the environment. This allows us to fully enjoy and feel what it is that we are experiencing. Rather than engaging a single sense, we are unconsciously feeling every single aspect of our environment.

    • An environment that I fondly remember is reminiscent of a museum – constantly changing but consistently flawless in presentation. There was a real estate office that I used when I purchased my first home that captured the idea of an experiential customer environment. It was similar to an Ikea in the way that their areas were furnished, but these…[Read more]

  • 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.

  • So I saw this article today and was thinking about how we talk about customer experience. Do we really have the chance to change someone’s experience or is it just meeting their expectations? I was getting around to the idea of us actually having that sort of influence, but this makes it seem like we are still far behind in that…[Read more]

    • Good thing I check this group daily for updates 🙂 I read the article and I think it’s fantastic! We do change experiences and make people happy. That’s why it works, you know 😉 It’s us making customer experience better

    • I wanna point out that expectations are part of the experience too! Who’s ever gone anywhere without expectations? No one, that’s who! 🙂 And its our job to make sure that those expectations are beat every time. That’s how we get loyal customers! 😀

    • I don’t get why you think meeting expectations is suddenly some sort of experiential thing. If you don’t make customers happy then you don’t stay in business, that’s that. Expectations are what you are trying to meet in the first place. This isn’t anything new. Meeting someone’s expectations isn’t suddenly a new experience. It’s expected.

      • The experiential aspect is not simply meeting the customer’s expectations – it is the process in which it occurs as well as how the customer’s expectations are exceeded. I believe it is important to note that in any business the customer’s expectations are the main measurement of whether or not the job or product was successful. While, yes, any…[Read more]

        • I understand it, but how do we apply it to the financial services industry? I’m not one to be going around making sandwiches with my clients. But I’m not about to show them the ins and outs of my business. We can’t just hold their hand and walk them through the process of managing their wealth, so how do we make it experiential?

          • The reason no one answered yet is because you can’t. You just can’t. Some things work out for some businesses, but for us there are limits. None of these guys get it and they’ll try to make it happen, but I don’t see that plan working anytime soon.

    • If you read the above comment I made in response to Aaron you will see that we still can create an experience while meeting expectations. From my work, I have seen that it is the delivery to the customer that creates the most lasting experience. While there are products that must be worked to create an experience, my work has shown that we…[Read more]

  • I am definitely being very active today in the Community, but that simply is because the year end is when all of the companies seem to be active and moving except for banks. When I was out shopping I noticed a trend in many of the stores I passed through, there were always things to browse and reasons to linger. Whether it was a bunch of sale…[Read more]

    • Well well well, look who finally weaseled his way back into the Community 😉 Good to see you back up and running, Ray. It was getting pretty quiet in here, but looks like that turkey last week made you wake up instead of fall asleep 🙂 I like the idea of throwing some fun little knickknacks to keep people entertained. I stick to my phone and…[Read more]

      • It is definitely good to be back in the swing of things. I had been bogged down by projects and other tasks, but this season sends my mind racing with ideas and questions to ask the Community. I just feel like adding to the decor and including interesting items creates conversation and buzz. Plants, pamphlets, and magazines are great, but not…[Read more]

  • 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 think someone said it a while back, but people want different things from their bank. So how is a bank supposed to know what to add? For services and for the building, how do they test what will work? It’s not like you can just throw something out there when it costs money, so who decides what happens in a bank and how they change the lobby around?

    • It seems like you really like this group, Dean 🙂 You’re always chock full of questions and I like that. I wanna say that banks make decisions the same way you and I do – they think about it, run through reasons why or why not it would be a good idea, then just go ahead and test it out. Maybe they’ll run a survey or they have a team research the…[Read more]

      • Well it wouldn’t make much sense to think about it all that much and not actually do anything. I guess testing it out is the only way to go really.

    • I do not work for a bank so I cannot say for sure what their processes may be, but in my experience with changes in institutions and businesses, change comes after a battery of tests and numerous considerations of the implications of the new changes. My best example would be my work with Relay for Life, an established, structured event that I had…[Read more]

      • Thanks for the really indepth answer. The step by step makes it easier to understand even though it’s not exactly what a bank would do. Maybe they’re doing something similar but with more specific bank stuff or more testing since they have lots of branches.

        • I can only imagine that their process is even more rigorous than ours was for our event. As a for-profit entity, I am sure banks are scrutinizing it to a greater extent than a group of volunteer leaders hosting a non-profit fundraiser. As such, they most likely are, and I would like to think definitely are, considering the financial implications…[Read more]

    • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I’m sure you know that phrase, and that’s exactly what banks look at. There’s no reason to change things if there isn’t anything that needs fixing. If there is something that needs to be fixed then you can tell, and they make the change because they know it’s broken. Do you need to run tests to figure out that…[Read more]

      • Even though everyone else isn’t saying the same thing as you, this still kinda make sense. It’s not like the banks change all that often, and alot do just make changes because something bad happened or they actually need to. The saying has it right. If it’s not broken the banks usually don’t change it.

        • No one wants to admit it but they know these banks are only making the changes they absolutely need to make. The bottom line is the bottom line, and that’s what they are working towards. Do not even think that they are not looking for where they can save a few bucks and maximize profits because they are and you know it.

    • See, I can’t say much because my business basically runs on how I make people want to buy my stuff, but I know when I want something new in the bank it’s because I saw it someplace else. Now that usually turns into me talking to somebody about not having it there. “You know that ATM check depositing they’re talking about at BoA? Would be really…[Read more]

      • So I guess it’s just trying to keep up with the competition. Sort of like when fast food started selling salads. One place starts selling a salad and now everyone in the area does too. Then they try fighting on price, so they come up with new things since they aren’t making as much money on stuff everyone else is offering.

    • As with any company, there has to be a set guideline for how renovations and large-scale improvements will take place. This may be through building redesign, maintenance overhauls, or equipment replacement, but the same sort of rigorous review is still required. Many of the larger companies source their requirements for improvement through the…[Read more]

      • So it’s sort of the slow roll with getting these new things out there? It makes a lot more sense than jumping into it and sinking all your money in something you aren’t sure about. I think I’m starting to really understand how this all works now. So according to everyone when they see that there can be improvements or changes, they review it, they…[Read more]

        • It might be a slow roll but do not forget that it only happens when they really need to make the changes. Who needs to put in new mood lighting when the old lights work just fine? Why do you need different teller stations when people are fine walking up to their tellers as it is? That’s the thing – they don’t need these new things. At least not…[Read more]

  • 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. 🙂

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