My New Relationship

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Since entering the real world, and traveling quite a bit with my job, it has been made clear to me that I would have to start a relationship, with a … credit card. Let me make myself very clear, the word relationship is not being used lightly here. I believe that in order to properly possess a credit card, one must understand the commitment it takes, and follow the same guidelines one would with dating. While dating, you don’t just jump in head first. It is a progression that leads to liking, which hopefully will lead mutual respect, and finally turn into love. I am going to walk you through the steps I took after finally deciding that I was ready to start this new relationship.

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First, you have to play the field a little bit, date around if you will. Don’t just jump into something without examining all of your options, because you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a relationship that would be difficult. (As my mom says, “Dani, be sure to have a top 5 list.” I’ll let you decided if she is talking about credit cards or men.) I have found that by dating, you discover information, whether it’s annoying habits or hidden fees, relatively early in the process. Once you decide what is best for you, you find out if the feelings are mutual.

I found that these cards, like some men, play hard to get. Just because you decided one is good for you, doesn’t necessarily mean they feel the same way. Throughout this process, I found myself pretending/hoping to be someone I wasn’t  just so I could get approved. Because of the fact I have no credit, it is hard for credit card companies to see me as a good fit. With countless rejections, and a few heartbreaks, I had to be honest with myself, and go with a card that was a little less attractive, but did have a “good personality”.  It turns out that this is going to ultimately be the best decision for me.

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Once the card is in my possession I will be able to start forming more of a connection. There will be ups and downs, as in any relationship, but what really matters is the commitment factor. If you are truly committed and responsible for your actions, it makes everything a whole lot easier.

 For the next couple of weeks, I am going to give you a rundown of my dating process. In today’s society, you can go about dating the old fashion way or there is a new process called online dating. I tried both. I visited a few big banks around Nashville, a few small ones, and even tested the online credit card application process. Will there be a difference? You’ll find out! 

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Big Bank Visits

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Last week I went on some undercover bank visits. The purpose was to examine the customer experience of each location. Here is what I discovered:

(Due to the fact that I am undercover, bank names will not be revealed.)

Big Banks (Over $50 Billion in assets):

The first bank I visited was in Memphis, and was located on the bottom floor of a high-rise. The environment was very sleek. I was not greeted, but the overall layout was very self-explanatory. Though I did not talk to anyone, I could tell that this specific location was made for people who work in or around the building. My feeling is that in situations like these, customer service is important, but the ease of use and convenience factor is what will determine the overall success.

My second visit was to your typical side of the road, mainstream, popular bank. No one greeted me, or even looked up from what they were doing to notice I had walked in. Needless to say I was disappointed. Unlike the previous visit, this branch does not attract the same type of clientele, which was easily revealed from the customers inside. There was what looked to be a soccer mom, a teenage boy, an elderly couple, a man who looked like he had been painting all day and a mom in her workout clothing. These customers definitely need more attention paid to them.

Finally, to round out the “big” bank visits, I visited a location in Downtown Nashville. Located on the bottom floor of a high-rise, it was obvious that it was not a bank people went out of their way to go to, and from the lack of customer service, I don’t think the employees were used to seeing new people either. Much like the “business professional” bank in Memphis, the customers didn’t get special attention, but also didn’t seem to mind. Again, the overall ease of use factor was what made this bank successful. People were getting in and out in no time.

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When it comes to big banks, my overall feeling is that their customer turnover rate is much higher than those of smaller banks. These locations see a lot more customers day in and day out, so the personal connections do not need to be there. Although it is important that these customers are getting the attention they need, it is not critical the staff there sits down to share life stories and a good laugh with them. Big banks have a much different purpose than the smaller community banks do.

Even though a majority of us bank with these bigger institutions, I personally do not think the lack of personal interaction will urge me to switch banks. With the evolution of mobile and online banking, it seems like there is an even less need for customers to have these interactions at all.

In the past, has customer service from your bank affected your overall feelings towards banking there?

What is more important to you; Convenience or Customer Service? 

Goodbye 2012 …

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With 2012 now over, a New Year is upon us and it is time to finally welcome 2013! 2012 was a year that was filled with a bunch of different things. It started off by the New York Football Giants winning the Super Bowl (YES!), the Olympic Games, the Presidential Election, and many other notable events. Looking back on the past year, my life is completely different than it has ever been. I ended my collegiate soccer career, graduated from college, officially moved to Tennessee, entered into the real world, and finally realized why my dad always told me to not try and grow up too fast. It’s funny how that works.

It is interesting to me how when going through the year not much ever seems to change, but when you look back and reflect, so much is different.  With that being said, I am going to list a few trends that have transformed the banking world in 2012:

  • Mobile Banking – The Mobile Life 2012 study reveals that 50% of the world’s phone owners are either interested in mobile banking services or using them already, according to an article by The Media Online.
  • Online Banking – A study done by ABA found that 57 percent of banking customers 55 and older said they prefer to bank online versus at a bank branch or via an ATM.
  • Social Media – In an article on their website, DreamGrow, a social media and marketing resource firm, states that, “Banks are truly starting to use social media as platforms for one to one customer communication”.

Though these trends are likely to mature in the upcoming year, it will be very interesting to see what else 2013 has in store for the industry. Will it be Cloud Banking, branch atmosphere, or something completely different that will steal the show? I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

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