By Karl Keller
Tellers interact with more customers than anyone else in your institution. Most community banks and credit unions look to tellers to help generate quality referrals that lead to new product sales. Based on our experience, tellers can often struggle in making a smooth transition from processing the transaction into a short, needs based discussion leading to a referral. Here are two words that make the transition easy and effective.
For years, we have relied on tellers to help us generate new referrals. The tellers are the face of our institution by providing a genuine smile and a sincere welcome to each and every customer that visits our branch location. Many customers know their teller by name and some will even wait a bit longer in line just to get their favorite teller because they enjoy the personalized service they provide.
As we all know, the most important job of the teller is always the fast, friendly and efficient processing of a customer transaction. If we get the transaction incorrect, there is no chance the customer will allow a discussion for cross-sell purposes. So the transaction is always priority one.
However as priority number two, the teller should transition the discussion to a short conversation that can lead to a referral opportunity. If the teller does not have a software product that can instantly identify a personalized customer based referral, the teller must either deliver a standard marketing message about the product of the month or perform a customer profile lookup to review the customer profile and quickly formulate a short discussion.
In either case, there are two words that work like magic to help make a smooth transition. The two words are:
I’m curious, I noticed that you do not currently have direct deposit set up on your checking account. Would it make sense to have our personal banker assist you with this?
I’m curious, I noticed you have a CD that will mature in the next 6 days. Would now be a good time to meet with Mary our personal banker to renew your CD?
I’m curious, it looks like you are keeping fairly high balances in your savings account and earning little or no interest. Would you be interested in meeting with our wealth manager to see if he might be able to get you a better return on your money?
Yes, the words “I’m curious” are magical words. They allow you to ask a question without being harsh or pushy. It softens the discussion and shows that you are truly interested in helping the customer instead of selling the customer. This will always lead to a more positive outcome.
By the way, the magic of “I’m Curious” can also work outside of your community bank or credit union. Try it out at home. Just a few days ago I was talking with my son and I asked him this question, “ I’m curious, do you think the garbage is going to walk out to the curb by itself? “
OK, have fun with it and always remember, our customers are the gems of our business. They are the reason we come to work each and every day. Cherish them and help them get the most out of your community bank or credit union to meet their individual needs.