Traveling with my eighteen-year-old daughter is a rejuvenating experience. I always end up feeling like I am surrounded by her personal team of trusted advisors. It was no different on a recent trip to the Charlotte area. For dinner, Urbanspoon led the way to the best local Thai cuisine. TripAdvisor and Citysearch pointed us to Knights baseball, a Segway tour (people actually do this), and Young Frankenstein. Would I have really ever found myself rafting down class III rapids and getting the adrenaline rush of the 40-foot hawk jump without the trusted reviews of the U.S. National Whitewater Center by hundreds of my Google cohorts? Most probably not! And then there was Rachel, my daughter’s friend who directed us to the luxurious SouthPark Mall, upon seeing our Instagram location. We were not alone in our adventures – and it felt good. It felt safe.
It is no different with personal banking. I want a financial institution that knows me and makes me feel like they are looking out for me. This same week, the buzz in the Charlotte area was the continued disappearance of Bank of America branches. As I was talking about this, my daughter offered that this makes sense – and that she had only ever been in a branch once, a trip with me to deposit a thousand quarters collected at a St. Jude fundraiser. As I watched her snap a photo of a babysitting check she discovered hidden away in her purse and effortlessly deposit it the same way Bank of America customers do over 200,000 times a day, it occurred to me that the expectation, certainly by my daughter and many of us older guys as well, is that our banking experience should be that same experience we have grown to enjoy in so many other aspects of our life – that self-service (I’m-in-control-of-my-time) experience with a little nudging toward products and services that are a good fit because you know me – the way a good friend, or at least a trusted advisor, knows me. To earn continued customer loyalty, banks and credit unions are challenged to really get to know me – my circumstances, preferences, and tendencies – in order to provide the experience I expect. The simple evolving truth – Know me or no me!