Great People are no Substitute for Management Intention

By : Rudy Vidal | | Category : Corporate Culture Customer Sat- Philosophy Customer Service xcs


About a year ago, I changed banks from Bank of America to MetroPacificBank in Irvine Califormia.  I was not happy with the customer service of BofA and decided to bank at a small single-branch bank hoping to get more personal service.

It was a good decision.  This last year, I had the best banking experience of my life without major issues and with great customer support.  But, as luck would have it, last month MetroPacific Bank was acquired by Sunwest Bank.   As is normal in these cases, most of the management team, including my banker, VP Colleen Brady, was let go.  At first I was a little nervous but figured that Sunwest deserved a chance.

Three weeks ago I had to open an new business account, and in making the request I soon found out that my great experiences with MetroPacific was more based on Colleen’s care and empowerment, than the result of mature customer centric processes.  My account is still not open. So, I decided to leave, in spite of the great personal efforts of Chris – a very customer centric account manager left in charge of my account. (thanks Chris !)

The lesson I learned:

When customers figure out that their satisfaction is the result of employee commitment and not the result of an institutional customer focus, they realize they are not loyal to the brand, but loyal to the employee.

I immediately called Ms. Brady and asked: “what bank are you going to?”

It’s great to have passionate, customer centric employees.  But, great employees are no substitute for institutional customer centricity.

We need to back those employees with tools, processes and policies that help them promote a corporate commitment to the customer and thereby create brand loyalty.  In addition, our customers need to see that the effort is not only in the employee, but innate to the company’s intention and values.

I hope Ms. Brady doesn’t go to Bank of America.

Rudy Vidal
Creating Profitable Customer Loyalty