Communication is Critical to Customer Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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Anyone have a decent business banker? I ask because I, like so many business owners, struggle to find the right match.

I’m frustrated. Let me tell you about my banking experience since starting my company.

I opened a business banking account with a nice enough banker at a local, independent bank I selected because they were known as a community leader and seemed, for lack of a better description, more “kind-hearted” than other banks.

I was not thrilled with their terrible online banking options, but they were local and kind and seemed to actually care about me.

ToobigbankingphobiaThen that bank was gobbled up by a big bank.

I no longer knew who to call, and then discovered some important paperwork had been neglected during the transition.

A very nice, extremely knowledgeable business banker called me to introduce herself. She invited me in for a meeting with the sole purpose of getting to know me. She waived fees and helped me gain access to a few tools reserved for the bigger players.

She made it a point to introduce me to the branch manager. I felt like they actually cared about me and my business! It was a banking miracle.

After several months of dealing with this specific banker, I called her directly as I had done several times. I got someone else’s voicemail. I decided to stop in the branch and see what was going on. Someone new was sitting in my banker’s seat.

Luckily, I knew the manager! He waved me into his office and we had a nice chat. He explained the banker had moved out of state. I mentioned that one of the fees that had been waived was appearing on my statement. He took care of it immediately, then handed me a card with his direct line. I was asked to call anytime.

They still cared about me! I felt like I had an ally at that branch.

One day I had a question and called my pal Mr. Manager. Someone else’s name was on his voicemail!

This was getting ridiculous. My allies and direct contacts kept leaving without explanation or communication. I was adrift. I called the general number, got connected to a business banker, and explained how I really didn’t know who to talk to. You see, my original banker had offered a service for a year without fees. I was trying to cancel the service and had already incurred fees she promised to waive.

The banker I spoke to assured me he could take care of my request.

I called a few days later and left a message. Was I still being charged?

No reply.

Why don't you call?I called back a few days after that. I’m getting concerned. What’s the update?

No reply.

Weeks went by, repeating this pattern.

Then, finally, inexplicably, I received a statement in the mail with the fees credited to me.

The problem was solved, and yet I never heard from this new banker.

I’m adrift. Again.

I no longer feel like they care about me. I feel they don’t.

Perhaps the original banker left for another state, as I was told. Perhaps she was the one who was supposed to call and and let me know she was leaving.

Perhaps the manager left for questionable reasons, which I really know nothing about. Perhaps he was the one who was supposed to call and let me know he was leaving.

Perhaps the next banker believed since he had resolved my issue, his work was done, and there was no need to call.

None of this makes me feel appreciated or valued. It makes me feel anxious and, frankly, alone.

I’m no longer working with people. I’m working with a faceless, soulless big bank. Their people are not taught to reach out when it’s necessary. I’m an afterthought.

In any customer experience, communication training – not just the how, but the why and the when – is critical to a happy experience for your customers.

Have you reached out to your customers lately? If not, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Photo credits: The Cyphers Agency and drewleavy via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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