There is a book called Fans not customers. It’s the story of Metro bank that opened in the UK only 7 years ago. It was the first bank to open in the UK for over 150 years. This is the stuff I was reading:
We are 100% committed to customer service
We are committed to providing you with unparalleled levels of service and convenience. This is why our stores are open 7 days a week, and from 8am to 8pm on weekdays. We offer a super-quick account opening, on the spot card printing as well as a 24/7 London-based contact centre.
Committed to kids
Kids matter at Metro Bank. Every year we help thousands of children take their first steps with money. We encourage them to save and count their coins using our Magic Money Machines and learn about budgeting with our financial education programme.
We love dogs at Metro Bank. We welcome them in all of our stores with fresh water bowls and biscuits.
What makes Metro Bank unique? The answer’s simple. It’s our people. We put 100% into supporting our colleagues in reaching their full potential.
Hiring for attitude, training for skill
We choose the right people then invest in them so they reach their full potential.
A unique culture
Our culture encourages people to be themselves so that they can be at their very best for our customers.
Metro Bank have won 46 awards in the last 3 years for being the UK’s most customer centric bank.
Fans not customers
Customers are those people who bank with us but who are not yet emotionally attached. They are indifferent at the beginning; they are customers. We are perfectly happy having customers. But we want to convert them to fans. Fans are customers who become part of our community, remain loyal, and convert their friends to new customers of our brand. Fans add a new dimension, fans sing our praises to their neighbours, to co-workers, to someone they don’t know sitting on the tube seat next to them. Fifty percent of any company’s business probably comes from family and friends sharing its praises: “I love that company.” That’s the difference between screaming, raving fans and mere customers. Customers are indifferent. They like Metro Bank, but they might never endorse us in a public place. But the more fans you have, it’s like dispatching evangelists or disciples to sell your product.
We want evangelists for our brand. We want brand ambassadors who spread the word about us, people who are passionate about us as a company because we’ve exceeded their expectations at every contact and opportunity. Every person we recruit, every person who works for our companies, passionately believes in not just doing an okay job, but doing the best possible job they can and creating the best customer experience they can.
I’m a firm believer that anybody can copy your products. Anybody can copy your hours, your colours and your money handling policies, but they cannot copy your culture because that is the very fabric of who you are and why you are different. We are defined by the way we answer customer questions, the way we give them accurate and timely information, and the way we make sure that they leave very, very happy.
My cousin Demos has been here for 11 months and visited 3 separate banks and not been able to open an account. On Sunday afternoon I thought I’d test the bank’s portrayal of themselves, so I took my cousin Demos. We did not have an appointment. Here’s what happened:
We were greeted by 3 customer service people at the door (all standing), one was the store manager.
- By being ready on their feet, they demonstrated an eagerness to help. Good posture demonstrates competence and confidence.
- They were smiling ear to ear.
- Immediately giving their undivided attention to us.
- Speaking in a friendly tone of voice.
- Eye contact. Looking at us in the eye lets us know that they recognized us as individuals.
- They listen well to our needs showing respect to us as potential customers
- Handshakes and gestures. Open gestures welcoming us with their posture. Crossed arms, hands tucked deep in pockets, or clenched fists create non-verbal barriers like people are not interested. Open gestures welcome customers into offices and stores.
- Overall appearance. Being neat and clean sends a basic message of competence.
- The store was kitted out in marble and granite with an interior design that you’d normally see in a hotel.
That was the beginning. They didn’t only express a sincere desire to help but we were in a rush and they saw to it we could sit with a Bank opening operative. Over the next hour they:
- Opened Demos an account,
- Made us coffee,
- Gave us free gifts
- Printed his bank card there and then.
- We tried their famous coin counting money machine
- Saw dog food and water bowels everywhere.
- When I mentioned I had a daughter they gave me a money box for her and a bag full of lollipops.
The service was better than what I read about, so good that I even opened a bank account myself. Now that is someone I want to do business with. I have told this story because I want us to try and adopt creating fans not customers. We can all do our bit from the way we answer the phone in the office, to the quality of worktop fabrication in the factory; and that’s not to mention the face to face interactions our fitting teams have with the customers. If you do not bank with them already, go and visit one of their stores even just to take in the experience.