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  • Ray Andrew posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 6 years, 1 month ago

    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 talked about topics from restaurants to movies, but I could not help but consider something that really has been itching in the back of my mind. We have been discussing banks and our connection to them through the employees we deal with, but is that really a connection to the bank itself? Bank tellers are not the most stable positions, boasting relatively high turnover and usually not making a big impact with the bank itself. I thought about it and realized that I had been bonding with the bank to a certain extent, but mainly, I was bonding with the individual. If this person left, would I still be so dedicated to the bank? Rather, I found myself truly asking this: “If she were the manager or the accounts specialist, would I be more loyal to my bank?” I want to say yes. When it is someone who is tied more closely to the bank and operations I see them more as a facet of the bank’s image and personality whereas a teller is more of an employee who is virtually interchangeable and replaceable to a certain extent. I am not trying to be rude, but it is hard to build a relationship with my bank knowing that the person I deal with the most has the least influence and say in terms of my banking future. What I am trying to say is that I believe that the relationship is best formed with someone who has a significant impact in the bank itself and greater control over your financial position.

    • 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 you or help you with your issues. In this case, a bank teller, someone much more customer facing and more accessible, will provide you with the opportunity to interact closely with the bank and grow in your relationship with them.
      I do not believe your relationship will be as simple as a dead-end position, though. What I do believe you have is the budding relationship with your bank that will expand over time. You have made the connection with one of the bank tellers, but that just gives you an avenue to pursue further. Maybe you will grow to interact more closely with other tellers or one of the main accountants who oversees the consumer accounts. Possibly you will meet the manager of the bank and get to know them better. In the process you will come to strengthen the bond you have with your bank. I am not condemning you to a relationship that you have to toil through just to find some value. There is value at having some sort of bond with your bank, be it with a teller or the branch head manager. What I am trying to say is that you should be happy to make that initial connection, find solace in the fact that you now have a familiar face to get to know, and look forward to future interactions with your bank. Hopefully this positive experience will get you through the door and into the branch itself more often, and over time you will be more regularly interacting with all of the bank employees.

      • 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 see that a person’s rank can influence our decisions to such an extent rather than the level of relationship we have with those individuals. It could be that the level of influence and affinity to the company that the person carries is then conveyed to those with whom they hold relationships.

        • 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 at a large non-profit firm versus the director of community relations or of giving. There is a major discrepancy in terms of power and prestige, yes, but the more significant factor is the value of their networking and influence. While seemingly inconsiderate, it is normal for us to consider ourselves and how we benefit from relationships with others. We may not know much about the individuals at first, so our perceptions may change over time, but it is key to note that we may jump to conclusions when we first meet individuals. This may play into why we may be more or less inclined to be close to a company; knowing a lower-level individual may have a limited positive impact on our interactions with the company whereas knowing a senior official may provide more opportunities.

      • 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 should start working as a promoter for banks and businesses, huh? 😉 Haha, that would be quite a sight to see – a smart guy like you just talking about how great places are!

    • 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 and can access individual accounts as necessary to dispute fees and manage activity. I had a particularly complex transaction so the teller had to take a few extra minutes to assist me. During this process we struck up conversation and it all went from there.

    • 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 the customers that they’re not a bunch of living ATMs. It’s why I like to meet with my clients regularly and not just talk to them over the phone or through email. That personal touch makes sure that they know me and feel comfortable doing business with me. Probably is something the banks can pick up.

      • 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 of a relationship at all.

      • Aaron replied 6 years ago

        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 shallow and pathetic. People are people, and they matter when you talk to them.

    • Aaron replied 6 years ago

      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’ll be your connection in the future. You really can’t be picky about who you bond with, just be happy that it happened.

      • 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 than before. I am just concerned about the fact that as an individual, I am more inclined to want to form a relationship with a person of higher authority. I do not know if this means that I am biased towards individuals with power or not. What I believe is the case is that having an influence on my banking activities will make me want to get to know the individual better because they have a much more intimate understanding of my accounts.

    • 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 know that they can try to make a difference. A teller, not so much – they basically are stuck with helping you with deposits and the like. Maybe they’ll get you to walk into the bank more maybe? That would be a good start, and maybe you’ll be able to meet someone higher up down the line too! 😀

      • 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 my concerns and issues regarding my account, as well as having the knowledge to direct me towards better options for me as a consumer. All I am looking for is more freedom and flexibility with my account, and that entails building a relationship with the individuals who have discrete control over accounts and their functions.

        • 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. 🙂