I talk about banking with a lot of people. So last month, someone told me about accidentally hitting “submit” on an ACH twice. Fortunately, a banker called right away to inquire about whether it was a duplicate and got it reversed. There was a $30+ charge for that fix, but it saved some money and hassle in the long run.

Now, compare that to an accident the bank made on this same company’s credit card accounts.

There was a sizable mystery payment they couldn’t account for and had no record of making. After much sleuthing, it was discovered that someone else’s deposit had been mistakenly credited to their account. This was a big hassle for their staff—and most likely, the other business who’s also trying to figure out why their payment has gone missing.

Besides the “gosh, we’re sorry” and “we’ll get it fixed soon,” that was the end of it from the bank’s perspective.

some people are feeling short changed

Mistakes like this at most institutions are few and far between. Sadly, when they do make a mistake, most borrow on laziness and think that’s OK.

set a new standard

A bank we’ve consulted with developed a customer promise that if the bank made a mistake, it would pay a rebate to the customer. It was part of their “Banking Unusual” promise.

Unusual? Yes. Uncommon? Absolutely.

don’t be penny wise and pound foolish

  1. Make sure your employees know the appropriate way to respond to a customer concern. "Gee, I'm sorry" isn't good enough. Train them to empathize and respond appropriately and according to your policies.
  2. Fix it fast. If you can't be the first to discover the error, at least address it with lightning speed.
  3. If you make a mistake, emulate Nordstrom (or Banking Unusual). The payback you’ll get from word of mouth both in real life and on social media will far exceed the $30 it cost you to reimburse the customer.

the competition is tougher than ever

You know that competition isn't just across the street—it's across the globe. Don't let customers slip away because you're not giving them the local touch you say you're famous for.

Need help developing better ways to create loyalty and word of mouth marketing for your institution? Call Martha Bartlett Piland direct at 785.969.6203.