The Power of Thanks at Banks

In customer service, little things make a big difference.  One of those little things is a simple “Thank You.”  As Tom Peters writes in his book The Little Big Things; “The rarest (and most powerful) of gifts: Thank You.”  In the Prime Performance 2010 Bank & Credit Union Satisfaction Survey we asked 6,115 U.S. credit union and bank customers who had recently completed a teller transaction, opened a new account in a branch or spoke with a call center representative if the representative had thanked them for their business.  Overall, we found that 88% of the customers remembered being “thanked”.  There is not a significant difference between types of banks.  Most institutions were between 87% and 89%, while Chase was the lowest performer at 84%.

How important is a “thank you”?  When customers recalled being thanked, 83% were satisfied with the experience and only 2% were dissatisfied (the remaining 15% didn’t have strong feelings about their recent interaction).  When customers were not thanked, only 50% were satisfied with their experience and 16% were dissatisfied.  Credit Union members are a little more forgiving.  When thanked, 90% of their members said they were satisfied, and only 1% were dissatisfied.  When they were not thanked, 70% of members were still satisfied with the service and 5% were dissatisfied.  At Wells Fargo, when thanked, 81% of their customers were satisfied with their experience and 2% were dissatisfied.  When customers were not thanked the percent of satisfied customers dropped to 45% (almost half the number compared to when they were thanked), and the percent of dissatisfied customers increased to 27% (a 13 fold increase).

Every customer deserves the best service you can provide on each and every interaction.  Credit Unions have built a tremendous reservoir of goodwill with their members, but satisfaction still takes a tremendous hit whey they don’t deliver on the basics. In the underlying data from our study, we found that 3% of Credit Union members who received a thank you said they are likely to switch banks in the next 12 months.  That jumps to 14% when the members were not thanked.

The lesson for banks is that thanking customers 88% of the time is not enough. Imagine if check processing or ATM withdrawals were only 88% accurate.  Banks closely monitor teller overs and shorts, and they would be wise to do the same with customer service.  Every customer should be thanked for their business every time they interact with a bank employee.  This little behavior makes a big difference.

For a complimentary copy of the complete study, please click here.

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