Bank Customer Service Story
This awesome customer service story was shared on The Financial Brand website by Ron Shevlin. The story shows how much of an impact one employee going the extra mile can have on customer loyalty, and the advantage it can have on the career of a customer service professional. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did.
The incident happened 18 years ago, and I only heard it for the first time yesterday. What makes that worth mentioning is that the story was from my father.
I was in Florida yesterday for a conference that was 45 minutes from where my parents live, so they drove down and joined me for lunch.
Here’s the lunch conversation:
Mom: So what did you talk about in your speech?
Mom: What kind of stuff?
Me: Bank stuff.
Mom: What kind of bank stuff?
Me: Bank customer loyalty stuff.
Mom: What kind of bank customer loyalty stuff?
Then it hit me. Thirty+ years past my teenage years, and my conversations with my parents haven’t changed one bit. (Where you going? Out. With who? People. What kind of people? Friends. What are you going to do? Stuff. Where are you going to do “stuff”? Out.)
So I told my parents that my presentation was about the stories that loyal customers tell. And my father says “oh, like the story I told you about our bank.” To which I replied, “you’ve never me told me that story.” (Which is incredulous, because my parents have ~10 stories, all of which I have to hear every time I see them. My people know what I’m talking about).
So he told me this story:
“We had been in Florida for no more than two or three months when late on a Friday afternoon I got a call from your uncle telling me that your grandmother had passed away. I started making arrangements to fly up to NY to take care of everything, and realizing that I needed a lot of cash, asked your mother to call the bank to see what time they’d be open until.”
Now, at this point in the story, he has to pass the storytelling baton over to my mother, because God forbid he should mess up even one small iota of the story that involves her:
“So I called the bank and talked to the branch manager and told her what happened, and that your father was on his way down to the bank. She said “oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, but the branch is closing in a few minutes and the vault is already closed, and it can’t be re-opened because it’s on a timer. Can you get in touch with your husband?” I told her I couldn’t and she said “OK, then I’ll wait here for him.”
With my mother’s piece done, the storytelling shifts back to my dad:
“So I got to the bank, and found it was locked, but knocked on the door, hoping someone would still be there. A woman came to the door, unlocked it, let me in, and told me that she spoke to your mother. She said she was sorry about your grandmother and that the vault was locked so she couldn’t get any cash. But she told me to come in, asked me to sit down, and said “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.” She went back to the front door, went out, and locked me in the bank. There I was, locked inside a bank branch by myself on a late Friday afternoon. A few minutes later she came back to the front door, unlocked it, and came back in. She then gave me four $100 bills and said “I know this isn’t as much as you wanted, but I hope it can tide you over until you can get more.” I asked her where she got the money from, and she said “I went out to the ATM and took it out of my account. You can pay me back when you get back from NY.”
I looked at my dad and said “I can’t believe you’ve never told me that story before! Do you know how much mileage I could have gotten out of that in presentations?!”
To which my mom replied, “We have no idea what exactly you do, dear.”
There’s a p.s. to the story.
I told my dad that I hoped he did something really nice for that woman. He said “Oh yeah. When I paid her back, we gave her a huge bouquet of flowers, and a gift certificate for dinner at a nice restaurant. And I wrote a letter to the bank CEO letting him know what happened.”
After a few seconds, though, he added this: “Which backfired on me.”
I asked him what he meant by “backfired” and he said, “As a result of my letter, she got promoted out of the branch to district manager.”
Now, a good son would’ve let it go at that, but noooo, I just had to ask: “How did you know it was your letter that got her promoted?”
He said, “because she told me that it was my letter that got her promoted.”
And that’s when I realized how truly amazing this woman was. You and I both know that no one gets promoted to district manager just because one customer sends a complimentary letter to the CEO. But this woman wanted my father to think that he was the cause of her promotion. Truly amazing.
Source: The Financial Brand
Empathy remains one of the most valuable customer service skills, the lady really immersed herself in the customer’s shoes, and went out of her way to ensure he got some cash.
I love this particular story because everyone gets a share of happiness – the lady gets the commendation from the customer which (might have or not) lead to a promotion, while the customer is satisfied and happy to have a bank who treats it’s customers like family.