Talk to any credit union or bank executive for more than five minutes and more than likely the topic of a sales and service culture will arise. Phrases like “what makes us different is our service,” “we focus on serving our consumers and not selling to them,” or “we have a service culture in place but not really sales.”

One of the problems with most banking sales and service cultures is that your employees are confused with those terms. They think service is one thing and sales is another. That service is good and that sales is evil. Or that service is just being nice.

But let’s be clear:

Service is more than being nice

People expect service today—they expect you to be nice.

True service is:

  • Digging deeper to find what someone truly needs
  • Understanding that service = sales
  • Offering a consumer a product that is going to help them save money or earn more money
  • Discovering the consumer’s dreams rather than just taking their order

For example, if a consumer is in your financial institution and is asking for a credit card increase true service is NOT just completing that transaction with a friendly smile. True service is realizing that what they need is a better way to save money while managing their debt and helping them do that with a home equity loan (rather than the credit card).

In many cases, people don’t know what they want, especially when it comes to financial services. People wake up and say “I need a car” not “I need a car loan.” They come to your financial institution not looking for products but looking for solutions to their problems.

And the solution is not just being nice to them.

Our employees must understand that not offering a consumer a solution that is good for them is actually disservice.