Online Dating

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With all of the recent technological advances we have seen over past 5-10 years, a new dating phenomenon has emerged; online dating.  If I were to guess, there have to be over 100 online dating websites that people visit religiously in their search for true love. With the hustle and Imagebustle of everyday life, for many people, this just seems to make sense. Having the ability to find your potential life partner with the click of a button sounds almost like a dream come true. I am fairly positive we are all familiar with the way this process works, so I will spare you the details.

I have heard many mixed reviews on this particular form of dating. On one hand, it works flawlessly. There are countless numbers of testimonials that tell the love story of two strangers who met online, and are now living happily ever after. However, for many people, it is not that easy. (Poor Manti ImageTeo). Through this process I have realized, that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That is the tricky thing about the internet, you are not always 100% sure of what you are about to get into.

While on my credit card search, I figured I would venture down the convenience route, and apply for credit cards online. With my experience, I can say that this is as far as my online relationship exploration will go. I got rejected, not once, not twice, but from every single credit card I applied to. They gave me the whole “It’s not you, well actually yeah it is you” routine. Without the personal interaction, it was easy for these companies to reject me Imageon the spot, without even wanting to know if I had a good personality. With online dating, you are evaluated initially by your picture. The searching party can make initial judgments, and then chose where to go from there. With credit card applications, you are evaluated by your credit score, which for me is non-existent. Regardless of my intentions, I had no chance of getting approved over the computer.

What I did discover is that it is critical to have a plan of attack. With online dating, you have to have an idea of what exactly you are looking for.  It is important your interests, intentions and needs are clearly defined, or else you will get lost. What exactly was my plan for finding the right credit card for me? Stay tuned to find out.

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Small Bank Visits

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In addition to my previous posts, I am going to talk about my experiences with the small banks I visited. The purpose for these visits was similar to the previous visits, in the sense I was looking into the customer experience at each location.

(Again, bank names will not be revealed.)

Small Banks (Under $1 Billion in assets):

My first small bank experience was in Nashville. It was located on the side of a major road in the area. This branch design was different from anything I had seen. It was a very open floor plan, with desks in the open, and stands located at various locations around the space. The staff was friendly, willing to help and attentive. It was a refreshing atmosphere to walk into. As soon as I walked into the door, someone made an effort to say hello, and assure me someone would be with me shortly. This place was packed. I am not sure if it was because of the time I was there (Friday around 3 pm), but it was impressive.

The next small bank I went to was in Franklin, TN. It had the same open floor plan, but it was a little more formal, with an actual teller desk located on one side. The staff members were more than willing to assist me, partly because I was the only person there. After a short exchange with a worker, who gave me some information about the bank, I left feeling like she truly valued my time, and hoped that I would be back soon.

Finally, I visited another bank in Franklin, which just recently finished construction. I was very surprised to walk in and notice the same old bank space. Honestly, it was everything that you would expect when you walk into a bank. No bells and whistles, just a lot of the same.

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Smaller banks have a unique opportunity that larger institutions do not. These banks can take risks. Although they need to be careful from a financial perspective that their risk will produce reward, at the end of the day, they are able to try some different things that not all large banks can. These are not the banks who will try innovative ATM machines, or really financially taxing products, but they can lead the way in creating a unique customer experience.

I was also surprised to find that my outfit choices really made no difference in how I was treated by the staff.

After assessing my experiences I have put some thoughts together.

1. It seems like smaller banks have the opportunity to experiment more with how they handle the overall customer experience.

2. Just a simple hello can make a big difference.

3. The average bank branch works. So if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

 

Going Undercover

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For the past couple of weeks I have conducted some undercover work. Let me first explain my mission. I thought it would be interesting to walk into a few banks, both “big” and “small” to simply scope out the overall environment of the location. I was very interested in the customer service, customer experience and overall atmosphere of the various bank branches.

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Does someone greet me right away?

Where do I go for help? 

How am I treated?

What is the overall look of the bank?

These were some of questions that I was curious to find the answers to. For many people, first impressions can leave a lasting impact. More often than not, a first impression can be made within seconds of arrival. These first impressions, for any business, are a critical component to keep customers coming back. It is my understanding that you do not want customers to be a “one-and-done” deal. The most successful businesses are the ones that make their customers enjoy their time, and want to come back for more.

After making a few stops at banks in Memphis, I decided it would be very interesting to take this little experiment a step further. Because of the fact I was attending business meetings in Memphis, I was dressed in business professional attire. I was curious to find out if wearing jeans and a Chicago Blackhawks shirt (15-0-3!) made a difference in how I was treated.

Not only was I interested in the environment and customer service, but what will be interesting to see the differences, if there are any, between the big banks, small banks, location, city, and many other factors that all make up the organization.

I am excited to share with you my experiences, thoughts and interactions. Stay tuned! 

If there are any questions, comments or suggestions for future blogs, please feel free to let me know! 

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Something New

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For the next couple of blog entries, I have decided to switch things up a bit. I am going to be visiting banks around the Nashville area, and fill you in on my experiences, thoughts, and overall feelings I get from each branch. I will visit big banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, ECT.) and smaller community banks.

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  • Because I need to take on the daunting task of opening a credit card, my first few entries will consist of experiences from that adventure.

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  • Next, I will explore the social media practices, or lack thereof, from specific locations.

 

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  • Finally, I will fill you all in on the customer experience, location and environment of the small “farm town” banks, as well as the bigger market banks in downtown Nashville.

 

I am really looking forward to the next month or so. Because these entries are going to consist of customer related topics, I REALLY would appreciate any feedback, questions or topics that you would like to see blogged about.  

I hope you all enjoy the ride!