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What are your customers saying about you?

July 20th, 2014
Words can spread, they hurt, and they can be difficult to take back.

Our customer’s opinions of us can spread, they are difficult to take back and they can hurt. Our customer’s words can dissolve our credibility not only with our customers, but also our potential future customers.

Some of our loyal bank customers might have enough respect for us to raise issues to our face, but too often, armed with a smart remark, a social media soap box and a quick-firing keyboard, customers can and will use their power to lay waste to the reputation of any company by whom they have been wronged.

Take a look at some of the comments we’ve recently received from banking customers:

SAMPLE VERBATIM,  feedback from a new account interaction

“I came to [name removed] because I was tired of overdraft fees.  The account I opened seemed to be less expensive, so that will be good.  I liked that the branch offered Sat. hours.  Since you asked, however, I will tell you that the person that helped me spoke  too loudly.  The branch was really busy, and there were other people sitting close by.  Anything that we discussed, [MSR name removed] seemed to repeat/shout to those around us.  She didn’t pick up on my signals that it was bothering me, and it made me feel less secure.”

SAMPLE VERBATIM, feedback from a phone center interaction

 “I know everyone has those voice response units these days, but I cannot get yours to work, and it makes me nuts.  Could you please change your phone system so I can ask for a phone banker if I need one?  I didn’t expect it to be difficult to get through with my home-town bank.  Once I got through, the service was fine, but I was really frustrated by the time I got to [employee name removed].”

SAMPLE VERBATIM, feedback after using internet banking

 “I opened a new business account 6 months ago because I wanted more flexible online and cash management services.  I haven’t been disappointed in your product offerings.  What has been disappointing, however is your response time.  There is a link to “contact us” or “email us” (can’t remember what it says), and I’ve entered questions on two occasions.  I’ve received a mass email back that I’ll be contacted, but then I never am, and I end up having to call someone.  This needs to be fixed.  If there isn’t really anyone there to answer my request, the feature should be removed.”

SAMPLE VERBATIM, CU client, feedback from teller interaction

 “The service was good.  I didn’t have to wait too long for help even though it was pay day.  I didn’t feel like I could ask about a CD, though, while I was there since the line was too long.  Can you pass on that I want to get a 2-year CD?” 

What do best in class organizations do?

Too many organizations take the ostrich approach to managing customer feedback.

Let’s face it. Even the best organizations make mistakes sometimes. There is no perfect organization, and there is no spotless reputation in the banking industry. Customers will say what they want to say and it’s a huge mistake to act on the defensive. “Best in Class Organizations” follow the two “BE’s” of managing customer complaints (“be responsive” and “be proactive”). While we might not have the ability to control our customer’s message, we do have the ability to seek their input, offer solutions, and in the process funnel those complaints through a channel where we can control the response more effectively.

By doing this, we demonstrate to our customers that communicating with us directly can be more productive and satisfying than laying waste to our reputation… even though they may have the power to do so.