Simple, Small Measures Mean A Lot In Customer Service Leadership

Consumer banks work hard to serve and please their clients. Trouble is, all banks compete on the same “big things”: new products, better interest rates, more branch and ATM locations, 24-hour call centers, easy-to-use websites, convenience, accuracy, speed. With every bank competing in the same “big” categories, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and get noticed for customer service leadership.

One bank found an easy way to achieve a noticeable boost in its customer satisfaction ratings. They discovered something so simple, so small, so “un-bank-like” their competitors didn’t even notice. But customers did and they appreciated the customer service leadership the bank provided.

Here’s what the bank understood and how it took customer service leadership role:

Waiting in line at the bank is a very public place. No matter how quickly the line moves, there is always some time when customers must stand exposed and yet surrounded, inevitably looked over, checked out and sized up by other customers and staff. It can be an awkward time for many.

By the time customers reach the counter, they are usually glad to be served and relieved to be out of the spotlight.

To help set customers at ease, tellers at this bank are trained to “compliment” each customer quickly as he or she steps up to the counter. This simple customer service leadership action works by making clients feel at welcome. Without getting too personal, tellers can choose from a range of simple and polite, yet highly effective comments.

Here are a few statements that work over and over again: “What a nice smile you have on today,” “That color looks great on you,” “Your handwriting is so easy to read,” and the all-time classic for self-conscious men in office attire, “Nice tie!”

Seems like a tiny thing, doesn’t it? Seems like these statements have nothing to do with banking, right?

But these short comments have everything to do with putting people at ease and helping them feel comfortable with themselves – and with others. In short, this is just a great customer service leadership action that’s easy to employ.

By taking care of their customers’ spirits as well as their bank accounts, this service-focused bank stands out from the crowd for its customer service leadership.

Key Learning Point For Customer Service Leadership

To be successful with customers you must get the “big things” right: products, delivery, pricing, processes and people. But sometimes it’s the smallest things that make a positive service impression and enable a business to take a customer service leadership role.

Action Steps For Customer Service Leadership

Take a customer service leadership role. Without crossing the bounds of propriety or personal space, what compliments can your staff give to your customers each day?

Attire, preparation, understanding, tone of voice and many other areas can be fertile ground for identifying, recognizing and extending a moment of personal praise. For many people you meet, it may be the only recognition they receive all day.

What a nice thought that this positive moment should come from a great organization like yours, and a great service provider like you.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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