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  • Ray Andrew posted an update in the group Group logo of Experiential Innovation Experiential Innovation 6 years, 3 months ago

    Being a young college student, I’m finally facing the fact that I have finances to manage. It is not a great experience, though. I go to the bank and I’m more often than not dealing with ATMs to conduct my transactions, maybe speaking a few words to access my safe deposit box. Honestly, when I’m at my bank it is usually to complain about some ridiculous fee that was incorrectly charged to my account. More recently, I was able to see how effective a personal touch can make an experience better: on campus, the career services coordinator has been keeping in contact with me, sending me personal emails and setting appointments so that I am keeping her updated with my career goals and plans following graduation. Is it a big change? No, but the contact that she is making has built a strong relationship where I am now thinking of long term goals, taking steps towards my career dreams, and maintaining regular contact with her to update changes in my plans. I can have a conversation with her on a regular basis, discussing ideas for how to reach out to students while also having her evaluate the steps I’ve taken towards a career after graduation.
    It’s these little things that make a relationship possible and improve my experience as a user/customer. Michael highlights these things in “Experiential Innovation for Bankers.” Just like how my experiences have changed from this, I ask you a similar question: What have you witnessed in your personal life that was a form of experiential innovation by a business?

    • Ray, from what you are saying it sounds like the relationship really was not reliant upon the conversations, but rather the emails and appointments were a catalyst for your own decision to maintain contact with the career services coordinator. While it may seem like she was the one who began engaging you in conversation, you were the one that continued to maintain that contact and alter your mindset to include those goals. That is what I find most interesting about your post: that the relationship blossomed because the contact enabled the evolution of your own mindset. This is what I believe Michael Ruckman refers to in his article “The Relationship Centric Bank.” Because of that relationship you were able to achieve growth and transformation where both you and your coordinator were able to rely upon each other for input in reaching your respective end goals.

      As for myself, the experiential innovation that I had the opportunity to experience dealt with my financial adviser, Jamie, and a trip that I was planning to take. This was not a simple decision; my plan was to take a sabbatical from work and travel around the globe, seeing the sights, experiencing cultures, and becoming grounded with global society and her issues. Previously, I had conveyed this desire to Jamie, telling him that this trip was a serious goal for me that I was not willing to compromise. Thinking that he would reallocate my investments accordingly, I thought nothing of my adviser and continued on with my regular life. However, a year prior to my sabbatical he called me, asking for details of where I was planning to go, where I would like to stay, and who else would accompany me. Each month I would receive calls asking for more details – preferred airlines and hotels, restaurants and sights that I wanted to experience – with our conversations becoming longer as my sabbatical neared. Six months prior, I received a package in the mail containing brochures and maps of different cities, many of them marked with specific places I had mentioned as well as sights I had overlooked. This continued up until three months before my leave, at which point Jamie had me join him in his office to outline my current finances, how much he had allocated for withdrawal to fund the trip, as well as an allowance for additional expenses I would occur. His thoroughness amazed me, but what really took me back was the amount of research he had put into this trip. Every time he called was to plan out which flights and hotel rooms would be affordable, and he had used this information to provide me booking options to select from. He had worked with his own travel agent to create a mock itinerary that I could take with me to outline which sights would be open and worth seeing. I was shocked by how much effort he had put into a trip that was not even his own. He had gone beyond what was required of him to ensure that I was able to take this trip and enjoy it without worry. I did not notice it at first, but his regular calls had brought me closer to him than anyone else I hired to assist me, and to this day I see him as my adviser, but also my friend.

      • I never considered that I was the one keeping contact with her, but it makes a lot of sense. After the first few emails, I was the one stopping by her office and asking her questions. I really didn’t think about my goals until she asked me, and after that I really kept it on my mind. She helped me realize what I needed in life to mature and grow.
        Your story makes Jamie seem like a normal person compared to other people in the financial services industry who are looking to make quick money. He went the distance for you and I find that pretty surprising. Most people wouldn’t do all of that work even for very close friends. That guy is definitely a keeper as an adviser, and I would say he makes that relationship more of a personal one than a business one.

        • Jamie really is a stellar individual and I value his advice as well as his friendship. It sounds like your coordinator is filling a similar role in your life as Jamie does in mine. When you start reaching out the other person, that is when you know the relationship is growing and becoming more than a business partnership. I am glad you posted this and hope that your relationship with her continues to grow.

    • I’m not too sure if this is the right response or even relevant considering how long ago this was, but I think of bartenders when I think of experiential innovation. I’m not talking about the guys who just serve you drinks and that’s that; I’m talking about the guy who calls you by name, knows your drink before you have to order, and will keep a tab running for you if you’re short one day. There is a bar that I used to go to all the time when I was living back home, and he would always call out to me “Dean! Stop stumbling in here alone and go get a girlfriend!” This was a guy who would talk to you when you sat down, got to know you on a personal basis, and would make sure that when you had enough you were cut off. I don’t think there was a day where he wasn’t looking out for everyone in the bar. He even drove me home one time after my buddies had left for the night, leaving my stranded. It doesn’t sound like much, but he just being a nice guy made it so much better from a classier, livelier bar scene.

      • Even though this does not directly deal with banking, I believe this is perfectly relevant. This is a man who, as a bartender, engages the customer, makes them feel welcome and trusted, and looks out for their greater interests. Yes, he is also making money off of them, but he does so while also trying to give them increased value. You went to this bar besides others (which were potentially livelier and more fun) because you knew this man. That is exactly what businesses should aim for – having repeat customers because of the relationship they have. The experience there brought you back, and he was part of the innovation that made it happen.

    • I don’t usually agree with those in this community, but in this case I cannot argue that banks are very straightforward, to-the-point institutions. Honestly, I would not want a bank to change, though, because they are efficient, effective, and established institutions that have been providing services that we want and need, and to change their system could cause untold problems. But this is about customer experience, and I can an odd instance where I was surprised by the level of engagement that the business had with their customer. On a winter business trip to New York, I had a great time having a late-night bite at a food vendor cart. Yes, a food vendor on the street does not sound like a person who would create a great experience for me, but it happened. The man greeted me as I walked up to him, shaking my hand and inviting me to stand closer to his cart because it shielded us from the cold wind. While I was deciding, he had me sample some meats and asked me about my trip, my job, and if I had ever been to the city. The entire time he was cooking my order, he was telling me of the sights to see at night, great bars to frequent if I had time, and which areas to avoid if I was late for any meetings. Even after I had paid him and was leaving to eat my food, he gave me a card with his location on it so that if I was ever hungry or had questions, I could make my way to his cart. Needless to say, I ate at his cart every day for the rest of my trip and ended up taking his suggestions on where to go at night. He probably was the highlight of my trip to New York.

      • That’s not a run-of-the-mill experience, especially out on the streets of New York. Sounds like a really great guy, though, and he makes the business better by being so involved. I still think that banks would benefit from giving a similar experience to their customers. Just like how the vendor made you feel welcome, banks can do the same to foster a relationship. If you were swayed into eating at a food cart during a business trip, I believe that banks who offer a great customer experience would be able to win over customers.

        • You can’t build a relationship with a bank so easily because what they provide isn’t something I can touch and feel. I can’t enjoy my account like I can enjoy the food I bought. This is a totally different situation because all banks can do is hold your money or lend you more.

    • It’s Senteo’s ideas in real life 🙂 Maybe she was reading up on Senteo’s work too, huh? She really was taking a play from one of my favorite Senteo playbooks, Experiential Innovation for Bankers. Keeping contact is a great way to build that relationship 😉
      My great experience was with my barista at Starbucks. Can’t start the morning without my mocha latte! I go there probably at least four times a week and my barista (her name is Crystal, really lively girl with a great smile, kind of like my niece) always knows my order. She knows I’m coming through the drive up and has my drink order ready when she sees my car, complete with little drawings on the cup. One time I stepped inside and she gave me a hug 🙂 Really makes me a happy customer and it’s probably why I always ask for her when I stop by

      • That’s really great that you have your barista that you know by name. It’s hard to find that sort of connection and experience without paying crazy amounts of money to hire your own personal barista – or any sort of person for that matter.
        I’ll have to introduce my coordinator to Senteo’s material. This really is good reading for everyone, and I think she would appreciate it as well.