Brief Moment Branding (Issue 824)

In which we are reminded that, fair or not, clients and prospects judge us, often, based on brief moments of experience. 

“Why wouldn’t you walk him back there?”

I was standing at the teller counter of a close-to-home bank branch. There were two of us, customers, in the branch. The place was “quiet as the grave.” As I was waiting for my business to finish, I noticed the next teller to mine working with a customer who was confused about his statements.

“I’ve helped you as much as I can help you,” the teller said. “I suggest you go talk to one of our bankers around the corner,” he said, pointing. The branch is shaped as a semi circle; the “bankers” were out of sight.

“OK,” said the customer, and off he went around the corner.

I paused for a moment… “Why wouldn’t you walk him back there?”, I asked.

The teller looked a little stunned… and then defensive. “Because it’s close to closing time and I was just getting ready to close out. I’m sorry, sir.”

Interesting. I was not the person to whom he should have apologized and I now knew a great deal about the branch culture of the bank he works for. Operationally focused.

“But wait,” you say in the bank’s defense. “You can’t portray an entire bank based on that scenario.”

Fair point…. but it’s a really good insight. Because, if this bank were REALLY serious about client experience and service and customer connections, the waving teller would never have done what he did or said what he said either to the customer or to me. And, the teller next to him, noticing that his colleague was closing, might have covered for him.

“Well, maybe the teller was tired and grumpy, too, or just having an off day.”

True, and we could rationalize this moment all day long. It’s just a reminder that our behavior is our brand and that, fair or not, clients and prospects judge us, often, based on only brief moments of experience.

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