In many of our episodes on The Business Creators’ Radio Show, we feature guests who draw the map to success combining organizational culture, process efficiency, communication skills, and good ol’ customer service that grows your success.
So earlier today, I took a long, romantic walk to the bank to deposit a check – FUN!
But even there, I could not turn off my problem-solving mind for a minute.
I had barely gotten in the door before I found myself at the end of the line – lots of people were also at the bank waiting for a teller.
With a line out the door, I peered across the long, deep lobby to see only two of the seven teller stations open – one was being monopolized by a Chatty Cathy customer and the other, for some reason, had three bank employees helping one customer.
Meanwhile, a bank employee was going down the line asking each customer what they were at the bank for today.
This was the most common exchange:
CUSTOMER: I’m here to make a deposit today.
EMPLOYEE: Did you know you can make your deposit by using the ATM right there?
CUSTOMER: If I wanted to deposit by ATM, I would have used that ATM, one of the three other ATMs in your lobby, or the drive-through ATM outside. I need the teller.
Followed by this one:
CUSTOMER: I’m here to make a withdrawal today.
EMPLOYEE: Did you know you can make your withdrawal by using the ATM right there?
CUSTOMER: Your ATMs only give out 20s and 50s. I need $2 and $100 bills, along with some coins, which requires a teller.
Slow-forward 10 minutes and the line has only moved slightly.
Another employee comes down the line.
Asking the same people the same questions.
Getting the same answers.
A few minutes later, ANOTHER employee comes down the line, with a different mission – trying to sell mortgages and investments.
CUSTOMERS: I told the other two people I’m here for a (deposit/withdrawal). I’m not buying a house and I’m not moving my 401K. Thanks anyway. How much longer until I get to the teller?
NOBODY was getting out of the teller line to use the ATM or meet with a “banking advisor”.
Wrong target audience for that.
The sporadic sighs of frustration over how slow the line was moving were morphing into expressions of egregious exasperation: “What, did he think if he told me they do mortgages, I’d just spontaneously decide to buy a house today?”
Seems like a giant waste of time. What’s going on here?
When I worked in fast food, we were instructed to use saccharine, superfluous phrases that created the impression of going above and beyond.
No doubt, they were created by the same corporate hacks who had never set foot in an actual store and actually thought daily opening procedures only took 45 minutes, nothing ever went wrong, and year-old food projections were always accurate when they created their so-called “process flows” that we simply ignored.
At the counter, we greeted customers by saying “Welcome! What can we get started for you today?”
At the drive-through window, it was “What amazing meal can we prepare for you today?”
Either way, we sent them off with “See you tomorrow!”
How annoying are those sentiments when you’re at a fast-food joint and you have to wait 12 minutes because they’re behind on cooking enough burgers and fries?
I mean, I wanted the extra points (we got rewards for simply doing our jobs correctly) and to be assigned more shifts working cash register than the grill, so I used the phrases.
Give me those hours, put me in the relative cool air at the cash register, and let me get those overtime paychecks!
But come on; I struggled not to laugh.
How can the bank make dollars and sense out of customer service?
No matter how many times they ask, people are lined up out the door for a teller to do their simple deposits and withdrawals.
It doesn’t matter how many customers they think they can divert to the ATM or spontaneously persuade into transferring all their investments just by mentioning it.
The customers want tellers – that’s all.
There are three simple solutions, each easier than the other two to implement:
1) Stop pretending to care and actually GIVE CARE. Instead of having 3 employees pointlessly and fruitlessly asking the same questions over and over, have those same employees get behind the counter, open 3 more teller stations, and serve the customers. You’re a bank. If you have employees who can’t process a deposit or withdrawal, that’s sad. Train them and open the damn teller windows. Going back to my fast-food experience, I was trained and proficient in EVERY position, even the ones I didn’t like. I could do whatever was needed any time. As a result I got lots of hours, plum assignments, and some influence and input over what days I worked and what positions I got assigned.
2) Designate 2 or 3 teller windows as “EXPRESS: Deposits and Withdrawals Only”. Asking the questions repeatedly means you just got real-time, usable customer-behavior data from TODAY’S customers. The word EXPRESS says “Not here, not today, Chatty Cathy” (and makes it easy to just point to the sign if she nevertheless tries to start a gabfest) and the rest of the phrase directly appeals to 80% of the people in line, leaving the other windows available for complex requests that might take longer and require more than one employee.
3) Upgrade the technology and create trust. The ATM machines handle deposits based on scanning softwares. Customers depositing handwritten checks, like the one I had today, may struggle to make the deposit. They also are perceived to have a higher rate of deposit error – whether that’s the case or not, it’s what customers believe. For withdrawals, make all sizes of currency, including $2 bills, available in any combination by using the touch screen, and now customers don’t need to buy a can of pop to break the $20 into the 3 $5s they actually need.
Customer service at the bank could sure use a jumpstart!
We guide entrepreneurs, like you, in our Jumpstart Program to quickly zero in on ONE problem or opportunity, then draw a map for them that shortens the distance between where they are now and their revenues and profits.
Right now, you’re in the darkness of the tunnel, seeing that little pinpoint of light at the end.
I’m outside the tunnel, in the light, and can see whether your train is running smoothly or is about to be derailed.
If you’re not on the rails, I can get you on track quickly.
Click here and let’s get you on the EXPRESS to success!