When was the last time you went into the branch of a bank? Most of our banking transactions today are done online. It’s fun to think of the good old times when we took our piggy bank to three different banks on World Savings Day to get a different gift from each bank. The gifts today tend to be smaller and most of our banking transactions no longer require us to go into a branch. That saves time. But it also means that the customer experience is often a thing of the past, and customers end up taking their business elsewhere. Especially when the customer is personally captured by image campaigns seen through digital communications.

To illustrate what options a bank has to offer their customers through the right guest experience and customer service, I think it’s important to compare the bank visit to a hotel stay. Imagine your last hotel experience: when you entered the hotel, a friendly, young man opened the door and took your heavy suitcase. This was followed by a warm smile from the employee behind the reception desk and a welcome drink. You were personally addressed by name and engaged in some small talk with Austrian charm. That’s usually all you need to get into vacation mood after a stressful journey to the hotel. But banks can implement hospitality measures too, leaving customers with a good feeling when they enter the branch and encouraging their long-term loyalty. In our digitalized world, the connecting link between bank and hotel can be personal hospitality. The focus is on people in both industries. Why not have a nice conversation with the bank advisor about the loan agreement while the children are having fun doing a jigsaw puzzle? Wouldn’t it be great if we could leave the cash counter with a smile? Even if we have just signed a long-term loan agreement? We want to feel that we are in good hands, because we have a long-term relationship.

Even with online banking, there is still a need for competent, personal advice. Especially when it’s about complex and long-term service. In the case of complicated matters, we are looking for guidance through a personal conversation with the bank advisor, and we want to feel understood. It’s about trust and building a relationship, especially when there is proverbial money involved. One anecdote to this from personal experience: shortly after I founded my company and was looking for a lender, after seven frustrating conversations in which I felt that no one was taking me seriously, I finally found the right consultant. A woman who was sincerely interested in my vision and my business model, who didn’t hesitate for a minute in expressing her trust in me and paving the way for a loan. In the end, it was a win-win situation for both parties.

I had found the bank and the lender that were right for me. This is what I wish for many companies that surround me. A bank that offers me a service usually reserved for private banking customers or hospitality that mirrors what’s offered in a hotel. Have you ever encountered such a bank, advisor or branch? I look forward to getting to know their team and taking a look behind the scenes of their success story! Send me a message to christine@friedreich.at