Not too long ago, I had an issue with my bank as a check I had received bounced when I deposited it. However, instead of freezing the actual amount of the check to help cover the missing money, the bank held double. Double! So, if the check was for $5,000, for simplicity’s sake, they were holding $10,000 of the funds in my account for a few extra days. It just didn’t make any sense to me.
Besides, I had been with the same bank for years and this was one of the first checks I’d ever deposited that didn’t clear, so it wasn’t like I was a bad customer. In an attempt to resolve this issue, I decided to call them up and see what they could do. Unfortunately, I was hit with the phrase that I’m pretty sure no one likes to hear, “Sorry, sir, but it’s policy.” Ouch… No matter how ready you are for this type of response, these words still tend to sting.
To make matters worse, the representative I had on the phone even agreed with me that the policy was a little ridiculous. He apologized a few times, yet kept going back to the point that it was in fact bank policy, so there was still nothing he could do to help me out and go around it. Despite me not being too fond of the policy, he was working hard to convince me that the bank was a “partner” and that they valued my continued service. I just wasn’t feeling it.
It’s not like I expected him to break policy, but I wanted some type of relief, some reason to keep banking with them, so I said, “Come on man, throw me a bone!” He seemed a little confused by my use of terminology, so I broke it down in simpler terms… “Do something for me then,” I said. “Offer me something to show me that you are truly a partner and that you recognize that I’m more than just a way for you to make money. Make me feel like a person.”
Finally, he understood what I was saying, looked through my account, and noticed that I had just paid a series of international fees from doing business overseas. With just a few strokes on his keyboard, he waived these fees and gave me a credit on my account. Now, in the grand scheme of things, these fees didn’t amount to a large sum of money or anything, but the fact that he was willing to do something…anything…gave substance to his words and made me feel like both a partner and a person.
This turned it around for me and, even though I’m still not fond of “the policy,” I will continue to bank with them because they took the steps necessary to show that my business was important to them. They made me feel valued as a customer which helped strengthen my loyalty to them even more. It’s the same type of customer service that Amazon tends to give, drawing me back to their company time and time again.
That’s what it’s about anytime you’re in business, isn’t it? Understanding your client base and making them feel important and valued….like they’re the only client you have and, subsequently, the only client you care about. Find a way to do that and you will not only have many, many clients, but you will likely have them for life.