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Value the Customer: That Didn't Seem Faster...

So today I went to the bank to put something in my safe deposit box. While I was there, I was given a refresher course on how to value the customer. Unfortunately, my lesson came from observing a poor example.

In the past, I needed to show ID and sign in on a form.

The whole process is slow, and needed a healthy dose of kaizen to speed it up.

And that’s exactly what they tried to do. They came up with a new process. Unfortunately for me, I got to stand at the teller’s desk while he migrated me from the old way to the new way. It took a few minutes, and a line grew behind me. Multiply that out by a whole lot of customers getting moved to the new way, and that’s a whole lot of lines forming.

That might be tolerable if the new way looked different to me. The problem was, from my perspective as the customer, the new process looked pretty much the same as the old process. I didn’t see how the new method added any more value to the customer.

I still needed to show ID and sign in on a form. All that changed was that I now sign in on an individual form instead of a log that records every customer’s visit.

To be fair, the new method could have resulted in significant waste reduction on the behind-the-scenes part of the process. Only the teller didn’t tell me that. He told me that the new process was good for me.

The moral of the story? Actually, there’s two.

  1. Don’t try to pitch back office efficiency as a gain for the customer. It may indirectly trickle back to me, but I really don’t think that the VP of Bank-Box Security started this project so I could earn more interest on my account.
  2. Don’t let change impact the customer in a negative way. The world is just too competitive to risk losing a good client. Your new way may be a night and day improvement over the old way, but if the customer bolts during the transition, you may never get him back.


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