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Customer Corner with Joe Gorman...

We Service What We Sell
We just received a directory of marketing services for financial institutions. This directory lists a variety of companies and their products or services.

It was interesting to read that a number of firms offered sales training-83 of them, to be exact. Immediately following that list was a list of firms offering service quality training-with only 23 company names on the list!

How come all 83 company names did not appear on both lists?

Sales and service for many companies are handled by separate departments. Automobile dealers and large department stores, for instance, have different people in each area. The fellow who sells you the car is not the person who services it.

We can't take the same approach in banking. We have to "service what we sell" utilizing the same customer service representatives. And the latest surveys show the reason people choose a certain financial institution is because of the service they get there.

Service can be a very subtle selling tool, part of what you might think of as "quiet quality."

How can you make "quiet quality" part of your service habits?

Suppose an individual walks into your institution and tells you that she wants to open an account. You follow your opening account procedures, asking questions and filling out forms.

Do you ask her to complete the forms?

Or do you complete the forms for her?

What's the difference?

When you complete the forms, you make the customer feel important.

When you complete the forms, the questions sometimes provide an opportunity to start a conversation...("What is your home address?"..."Oh, I have a friend who lives on that block"...etc.) and helps you to get to know your customer better.

When you complete the forms, you increase your opportunities to cross-sell products.

When it comes time for the opening deposit, do you say,

"I'll be glad to take that deposit to one of our tellers." Or is it,

"Thank you for doing business with us. Please see one of our friendly tellers to make your deposit...Next!"

It's pretty obvious which handling of the deposit exhibits "quiet quality", proving that you care about your customers.

A customer service representative that I know practices a very smart form of quiet quality. She always "sells" new customers on an ATM card when she opens an account. She then asks the customer to return to the branch after receipt of their ATM card through the mail. This provides her with the opportunity to demonstrate how the card is used. She shows interest in the customer. She cares! (She is also able to cross-sell savings products when she shows customers how easy it is to transfer funds using an ATM.)

"Quiet quality"...selling combined with service makes our industry different from others. Sales and service are both handled by the same person.

And our customers like it that way.

Copyright © 1991 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1/91

First published on 01/01/1991

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