There’s something about the neighborhood bank, where friendly tellers know your name, give lollipops to your well-behaved children, and dog biscuits to your dog at the drive-up window. Retail bank branches do things to build personal relationships with their customers, and to bring out the human side of banking.
But not all is human at the neighborhood bank. When I called my local branch this morning, I was surprised to hear a very non-human automaton greet me with in a contrived tone that didn’t sound anything like those nice people inside the bank.
Here’s what I heard:
“Thank you for calling Key bank’s Millcreek branch, where we strive for excellent customer service, and appreciate your business. To insure that your call is properly directed, please listen to the following menu.”
That's definitely not the voice of anyone at my branch. They're so much more genuine than that voice!
Now, this isn’t a rant about not getting a real person when I call. I understand that a recorded voice is far more efficient and cost effective for everyone. But it is a rant about the voice on the other end of the phone, and the way that voice speaks to me.
When the bank goes out of its way to be human in so many other ways, why not incorporate that same humanity into the out-going message that every customer hears, when he or she calls the branch?
Your phone greeting is a very big touch point. If you have real people that work at the branch, why not have one of those real people record the greeting in their own voice, with their own demeanor? Extend that same personality that’s inside the branch, to the outside of the branch.
Think about JetBlue and Southwest Airlines for a minute. Those are very big, very regulated companies in a very regulated industry. But when it comes time for the pre-flight safety information speech before takeoff, their flight attendants don’t just recite it in an institutional-sounding manner get through it. Instead, they do it in their own, down-to earth human style, and often incorporate a little bit of humor. It extends the personality of the airlines.
This approach makes the flight attendants real. It makes them human, just like their customers. And that’s the subtle stuff that helps to build a loyal relationship. How are your customers greeted when they call? Is the greeting an extension of your company’s personality, of an antiseptic-sounding voice that at best, leaves no impression at all?