After reading several posts by Judith Ellis on the ubiquitous decline of service these days, I was reminded of my ongoing complaints with my own bank in the Boston area—against which I previously railed in a post at TomPeters.com.
I decided to reprise it below because it still fits two years later!
This bank epitomizes the lack of imagination and spirit that I see in many businesses—and most banks.
I plan to take my business soon to a newly merged bank—TD Bank and Commerce Bank—because of the fanatical customer focus and innovative service that New Jersey-based Commerce Bank has long been known for. (It's no coincidence that its former CEO, Dennis Diflorio, was once a rock & roll drummer from Philly who helped to instill a rock & roll energy in the enterprise for many years.)
My bank has a policy that if you spend more than five minutes in a teller line, they give you five dollars. Imagine my excitement when, on one of my rare visits to a local branch in Chestnut Hill, I happened to notice the policy (posted on the wall, in fine print) while I was, well, waiting in line.
When I finally reached a teller, seven minutes later, my eager request for the five bucks was greeted by confusion then disdain by the teller. (Perhaps no one had ever stooped so low as to actually ask for the five bucks before!)
I cheerfully told him that now that I knew of the policy—and of the long waits in the bank—I'd be dropping by regularly to pick up my five dollars. (He didn't think that was nearly as funny as I did.)
Of course I eventually made the complex calculus to determine that taking twenty minutes out of my work day to earn a probable five dollars might not make great business sense. (But, then again, there is something to be said for doing things just for entertainment value.)
It's ironic that the first "positive customer experience" I've had at this bank was at their expense. I'd switch banks, but the local competition appears to be depressingly similar.