I recently relocated from the East Coast to the West Coast and began my search for a new bank. In my search, I found what’s traditionally thought of as great service in each of the three banks I visited.
In every case the staff was very friendly and welcoming. I was greeted as soon as I entered the office and on two occasions I was offered coffee. After being quickly introduced to a representative at each office, I explained that I was new to the area, needed a new bank, wanted a checking account and had just purchased a home.
In most cases the banker asked about the balances I would keep in my checking account, explained several account options, and provided me a brochure.
If I had to rate the service I received at these offices, I probably would say it was great – in the traditional sense. After all, I didn’t have to wait and everyone was friendly, and who doesn’t like a nice cup of coffee in the morning? But, in truth, the service was far from great; in fact it was quite disappointing. Sure the bankers were pleasant, but I actually left with less than I requested. All I got were a few brochures, a little information, and nothing more. I needed a new bank. I wanted to open a checking account – but I didn’t.
Why? Because none of the bankers, at any of the three banks I visited, asked whether I wanted to open an account now! That’s right – I visited three different banks in a relatively affluent community in the course of one morning and the result was the same at each bank! Not only did they fail to ask me to open an account, but not one of the bankers bothered to discuss any of the other services I would logically need just to manage my daily financial life – a debit card, online and mobile banking, or overdraft protection. Not a single banker took the time to ask any questions about my family, my plans or even what brought me to the area. If they had they would have discovered I have a wide range of additional financial needs and could use their assistance in meeting those needs. All I got was a stack of brochures.
In my opinion that is the very definition of poor service. And, let’s face it, my experiences in these three offices could have happened in any banking office, anywhere in the world. Despite years of focus on sales and cross-selling to new and existing customers, the results for the banking industry are absolutely appalling! Take these statistics:
- The industry average cross-sell per existing household is just 2.6 products and for a new client it’s just 1.3!
- In fact, more than 66% of new clients visiting a bank open only the account they came in to open and not a single additional service!
As bad as those statistics sound, the reality is even worse because those statistics don’t include the people like me, who enter your bank planning to do business with you, and leave because the banker didn’t ask one simple question – “May I open that account for you now?” Great service? I don’t think so.
Cynthia Leverich is Director of Global Business Development for Cohen Brown Management Group. She is recognised for her expertise in implementing successful sales and service culture-change programmes. Her areas of consulting specialisation include retail banking as well as coaching senior executives to lead their teams to maximum results.
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