People can go ANYWHERE for financial services and products. Whether it’s a bank or credit union, they all basically offer the same products and services. As we always tell our workshop participants, the main difference is service. It is not only imperative that as a financial institution you consistently deliver world-class service, but that all employees are prepared to perform “above and beyond” experiences at any time. In order to have an environment where going “above and beyond” is expected, you must have some vital pieces firmly in place. Arguably, the most important piece of this puzzle is having a culture in which going “above and beyond” is highly valued, expected and employees are enabled with the training, resources and flexibility needed to go “above and beyond” for their members/customers. In our January 15 blog titled “What an Enabler”, we go into the fine details of this first piece of the puzzle.
Are you listening or waiting to speak?
One of the biggest pieces of going “above and beyond” is active listening. Everything you need in order to deliver incredible service that will have your members/customers singing your praises to friends and family lies in what they share with you. This may initially sound very obvious, but isn’t as easy as it may seem. Assuming you have put your most professional self forward (dressed professionally, showing great body language, smiling warmly, etc.), members/customers will deem you worthy of their initial trust and open up to you. Once they do that, the real work begins. You cannot afford to get lazy or impatient when he/she opens up and begins sharing at length (financial goals, concerns/issues, social stories). Listening completely and without interruption, asking genuine follow-up questions and showing empathy will open up a world of potential for you. Throughout a conversation a member/customer could briefly mention a milestone in his/her family’s life (birth of a baby, anniversary, etc.), these are all golden opportunities to go “above and beyond”. On the other end of that spectrum, he/she could mention a hardship that his/her family is experiencing (death of a family member or pet, child’s sad defeat in a sporting competition, etc.). Whether what is shared with you is positive or negative, the possibility to use it to create positive-lasting impressions is always there if you make it a point to listen actively. When you are able to detect these clues, you then need to be creative in thinking of how to then “Wow!”.
Big wheel, keep on turning!
In most cases you will find that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. You’ve listened actively and have found some great opportunities to go “above and beyond” for your member/customer. Now it is time to be creative! Being creative doesn’t require an Einstein-like approach. It all begins with a common sense. Start with the scenario that was shared with you. In the example of the birth of a child, a hand-written card of congratulations is a great start. To really up the ante, put yourself in the shoes of the member/customer. A new baby typically means that time and sleep has now become very scarce! Look for ways to go “above and beyond” to make things easier and faster for the new parent(s). If you are so enabled by management, perhaps a pre-arranged, quick, front-door house call with forms that only require a signature could be made. Think of the story the new parents will tell their friends and family! Would it take a massive amount of effort to bring a small gift when bringing the papers for a signature? A bank/credit union gift basket would be a great touch (piggy bank for future savings for the little one, bank/credit union fleece blanket or whatever institution promotional items you have that apply to the situation).
Make it fun!
Like anything in life, if going “above and beyond” is fun to do, we will be more apt to keep looking for opportunities to do so. Talk to your coworkers and create a friendly challenge of doing something special for one member/customer a week. You will find that as you progress, it will become easier and easier to spot opportunities to do so and it will become that much easier to come up with great ideas as well. Celebrate with coworkers and share what you picked up on, how you came to think of what you did for that person, what their reaction was and how it made you feel.
The will to “Wow!”
Going “above and beyond” on a regular basis takes a lot of work. You must have the will and desire to make something great happen for others in order to dedicate yourself to keeping this behavior in the forefront of your mind. It is easy to stay in a place that is most familiar and safe to you. It’s comfortable and predictable when we stay in our “regular” routine that we have always known. Going “above and beyond” for a member/customer is well worth the effort of stepping out of your “comfort zone”. I promise you this, the feeling you get when you see the reaction of a member/customer after making the utterly impossible become magically possible for him/her or of your thoughtful gesture of going “above and beyond”, will crush the fear of changing up your “regular” routine. It all starts with having the will to “Wow!”
Remember, service is the ultimate difference maker when it comes to financial institutions. The more you are willing and able to go “above and beyond” and create those “Wow!” moments for your members/customers, the more dramatically you will rise up above the rest as an institution that truly listens, thinks creatively to solve problems and has a genuine culture where all staff have a true desire to make the impossible a reality for its members/customers!
If you are interested in taking advantage of the many benefits of our in-person training solutions please contact ustoday!