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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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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