State Bank And Trust Pays It Forward

This past Friday I saw a very inspiring news report about State Bank and Trust in Fargo, N.D. In what it called the “Pay It Forward Challenge,” the bank gave each of its 500+ employees $1,000. The only stipulation, according State Bank’s chief operating officer Michael Solberg, was as follows:

There were three rules. You can’t give it to your family. You can’t give it to a co-worker. And you have to document your good deed. Other than that, the sky’s the limit.

The bank also gave every employee a video camera to document their gift.

When employees were asked what they hate about working at the bank, here were some of their responses:

  • What do I hate about management? They’re just too nice!”
  •  “I haven’t found anything yet.”
  • I have to go home.”

Why is this important for customer experience? According to COO Solberg:

That’s our mission statement: happy employees, happy customer.

My take: State Bank highlights a critical concept: Customer-centric DNA starts with employees.

The bottom line: Don’t you want to do business with a bank like State Bank?

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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