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Blog: Bank Marketing Insights

Don't "nice" your institution out of profitability

A bank president recently told me he lets safe deposit box rent renewal notices slide because he hates to bug people over something so small, and he wants to be nice.

It made me wonder whether he’s nice or just afraid to risk irritating a customer over a relatively small fee.

Either way, there are three important questions to ask:

What message does this send to employees—and do they avoid the sometimes uncomfortable task of speaking to someone about a fee?
Do customers even know they’re receiving this “favor,” and value it?
How much income is diverted from the bottom line because of these actions (or lack thereof) and the repercussions?

We all know that financial institutions need fee income—and they need customer loyalty. So it’s important to balance great customer service with charging appropriate fees.

help good customers

Some institutions waive the occasional overdraft fee for a good customer. After the initial embarrassment, the customer gratefully accepts—and appreciates—the bank’s generosity. That can help solidify the relationship.

model good behavior to employees

The bigger issue is what this president is modeling for his staff. If they’re uncomfortable with fees and they see the leadership act as if fee income isn’t important, that’s what they’ll believe. Show them the right way to do things.

evaluate your procedures

While safe deposit box rentals won’t make or break you, they do represent recurring revenue that’s not always easy to generate. Take a look at your operations and your procedures: where are other areas you may be letting potential revenue evaporate? Find those holes and fill them appropriately.

Being nice is only added value if people want it and are aware you gave it to them.

There’s nothing wrong with giving added-value to customers. But if they don’t know they’ve received a favor, they won’t even know to thank you.


Need help training your employees (and yourself) to be nice AND generate income? Call Martha direct: 785.969.6203, or use our Sounding Board to schedule a call for immediate help.

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