A bank is a bank is a bank. Usual scenario: you stand in an assembly line, moving slowly forward, inch by inch, to speak to a teller. That was me making it sound exciting. Truthfully, we never expect much other that to get what we need so we can move on to the other chores on our list.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Recently, I visited my local Bank of Montreal to make a small chip in an otherwise huge “boulder of doom” known as my student line of credit. It was routine. I’d done banking thousands of times without much impression, positive or negative. My mind was focused on daily errands and not really on the task at hand.
Once I got to the teller, that changed. She engaged with me. Sincerely. Sure the topic was pretty generic (i.e. holiday plans) but it’s not like she knows me. She was making an effort to make my experience beyond routine. The teller made eye contact, smiled and spoke genuinely (not like it was scripted or had been repeated to everyone else). To add to this, as I was leaving, the customer service desk attendant made a point of thanking me for coming in and happy holidays. That was the parting shot: personality to go. Well played BMO.
In contrast, the Serious Coffee I visit regularly can’t seem to be bothered to engage. The last two times I’ve visited, I made some whimsical remark (I’m very funny) when buying a coffee. I got nothing. No smile. No acknowledgement. Nothing. Note to employee: even if I’m not funny (totally not true), I’m trying to engage. What a great opportunity for you to connect with your customer. No fake laughs are necessary but a little personality would be nice.