Every Customer is a VIP

Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Every now and then, I’m reminded of how true it is. Promising or advertising a VIP experience is easy. Just claim to offer what you know people want. Backing up the promise with an authentic, customer-focused experience is a whole different thing altogether. And it’s in that difference that great companies are made. 

I was reminded recently of that difference. For Spring Break this year, my three beautiful daughters and I set off to Louisville, Kentucky, where we had tickets to see their first rock concert – with their favorite band, Maroon 5. As a parent, I knew that this first concert experience had to be special. The fact that we had tickets made me a hero to my girls, but it was the service we experienced in Louisville that we will all remember. 

We spent a few days zip lining through caves, touring Churchill Downs, being captivated by the history of Muhammad Ali and of course getting to watch Adam Levine at the KFC Yum! Center. Everywhere we went, we enjoyed great products. But it was the energy, passion and genuine enjoyment of the employees that made the trip unforgettable – these employees made each customer feel welcomed and valued.   

There’s no real secret here. These people are truly happy and passionate about their jobs. No false promises, no gimmicks or tricks, and no difference in how they treat each and every customer. The employees are their company – and they set out to create an atmosphere and experience that left us feeling like VIPs and wanting more.

Make your bank customers feel like VIPs

Cultivating and fulfilling an expectation of a special, personalized experience is an area of surprisingly untapped opportunity in the banking industry. The word “community” is closely associated with banking – but is it really felt in today’s banking industry?

Countless articles debate what the future holds for bank branches, and pressures are compounded by a growing consumer demand for mobile banking products. No doubt, technology is driving an insatiable desire for immediate gratification – but even offering on-demand services can’t really compete with cultivating a genuine VIP experience as a path to securing long-term customer relationships. After all, thanks to technology, we all have the ability to meet service demands – it’s your unique culture and environment that make the difference in how your customers feel. Products, services, interest rates and convenience are table stakes. Emotion drives buying behavior. 

In his article, Make Your Customer Feel like a VIP, Brian Williams does an excellent job of explaining that value is not in offering what you want to give; rather, it is in giving what your customer wants to receive. Especially as it relates to banking, I would add to it what I refer to as the TRUTH in the VIP customer experience:

Trust Every strong relationship is built on trust, and banking is a relationship business. Customers need to know that you will keep their confidential information secure and that you are genuinely interested in what is best for them.

Respect Customers want a relationship in which there is attentive listening, and an environment of importance and value. 

Understanding To provide truly customized service, you must first make the effort to understand the individual needs of your customers. 

Timeliness The relevance of your offering is critical to a successful customer experience. The banking industry deals with extensive regulatory guidance and oversight, but we can’t allow that burden to diminish customer service.

Honesty Trust and respect are impossible without honesty. Customers want the truth about what is possible for them, and sometimes that means your products and services are not the right fit for their needs. Loyalty and advocacy isn’t always about the products delivered – more often, it’s about the experience you delivered. 

Is your bank providing a VIP experience for each customer? Are you spending the time, training and resources necessary to ensure your front line is living your brand? 

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Topics: Community Banking, Culture

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