Does Your Bank Make You Smile?

nwbankposter

This morning I presented at Digital Insight’s user conference in San Diego. After I discussed why customer experience is important for banks (especially small and mid-sized banks) and explained how to apply the principles of Experience-Based Differentiation (EBD), Doug Zernow told the story about Northwestern Bank.

ICDT webIt turns out that everyone in the bank wears a button that says “I can do that!” But it’s not a slogan, it’s the essence of the bank; they’ve infused a sense of ownership and accountability to customers in everything that they do.

Doug described the four values that underlie “I can do that!:”

  • Customer focus (the customer is the boss)
  • It’s about “I/we” not them (keep silos from getting in the way)
  • Energy givers, not energy takers (engaged employees)
  • Minimal policies and rules (employees are empowered to waive fees, negotiate rates, and spend money to make the customers happy)

What has “I can do that!” meant for Northwestern Bank?

Growth! When the bank started the program in 2002, it had 7.2% market share in its geographic footprint. Since then, it’s market share has grown steadily — hitting nearly 13% in 2008. During that time it has also grown larger than three of its main competitors in the region: Citizens, Huntington, and BankOne.

My take: Northwestern Bank’s “I can do that!” program is a great example of EBD’s Principle #2: Reinforce the brand with every interaction.

The bottom line: Make your customers smile.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey.

Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum.

My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers.

I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 thoughts on “Does Your Bank Make You Smile?”

  1. Umpqua Bank (Oregon) puts customer experience in their “stores” (not branches) front and center. They may have been the first to go that route. They’re doing well, too; just a few days ago the bank announced it’s voluntarily returning its stimulus money.

    As an aside, it appears the picture on Northwestern Bank’s is a stock photo. Rivermark Community Credit Union (Oregon) has been putting its employees in their advertising. Even better, why not use images of the actual smiling customers?

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