What’s your service magnet?

This is a guest post from Jeanne Bliss — customer experience expert and author of “I Love You More Than My Dog.” See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on her blog.

How can you take what you know about your customers: their emotions, priorities, challenges, and needs to show that you want to “be there” for them? When you can do this — you earn the right to customers who will rave and tell others about your business.

Here’s what TD Bank did to show it was there for its customers:

It’s not unusual for more and more people to watch their expenses given the tougher economic climate. For some, it means literally counting and saving coins.

You have a few options for putting loose change to work:

  1. Try to keep it all in your wallet and use it up (that is super heavy and frustrating, trust me)
  2. Take the time to roll up your coins and bring them to the bank (what a hassle, plus a fee)
  3. Use the Coinstar coin changing machines in the grocery stores (they take a 10% fee — so you lose money there)

TD Bank thought about the hassles of coins and came up with a great idea to help their customers. They made the decision to “be there” for their customers, AND non-customers alike, by installing fun to use Penny Arcades in their bank lobbies. Loose coins go in, receipts pop out, and the bank cashier hands you the bills, adds the value to your account, or deposits it in a quickly-opened new account. And no fees! This company, beloved by their customers, did the hard work of recognizing a common customer issue and solved it.

The results

Good news is — it’s paying off for both customers and the bank. They attracted five million customers and non-customers into the bank in one year to watch the Penny Arcade, experience the service, and possibly become a customer. And, because of non-customers using the Penny Arcade, demand for new accounts grew and they also created a faster way to open a new account. Talk about a service magnet! It’s rare anyone goes into a bank where they don’t already have an account — but this magnet drew them in. The bank knew that besides making change, they would be making friends.

TD Bank changed the perception of managing coins, visiting bank lobbies, and the whole banking experience. They made it fun and easy, and have earned the right to their customers’ continued business and positive word of mouth.

Beloved companies decide to “be there” for customers

Being there for customers fuels the prosperity engine of beloved companies. Beloved companies think and rethink how to conduct themselves, so they earn the right to their customers’ continued business.

You want to leave customers thinking:

  • “Where else could I get this?”
  • “Who else would have done this?”
  • “I want to do this again.”

Being there for the customer means identifying a customer’s needs and creating solutions that can also satisfy underlying emotions. Coins are unavoidable. The collection of coins can be stressful or annoying, and dealing with banks on their terms is the norm we’ve all accepted. TD Bank turned this assumption upside down, acknowledged the stress, eliminated it, and took the banking experience to the next level, making loose change fun to deal with and even attracting new customers to their business as a result.

Go try this

To prepare to brainstorm service magnet ideas for your company, you may want to start by thinking about experiences that really attract you as a customer and bring you back time and time again. What companies and experiences have you told your friends about? What’s the magnet? These examples will give you a flavor for the exceptional moments that you want to create in your own business. Now think about your customers’ lives and how you can “be there” and show you understand them and support what’s important to them.

Remember, your service magnet doesn’t have to fit exactly into your line of business. For example, Zane’s Cycles has a mini coffee shop in the back of their stores that attracts customers and non-customers alike that share a passion for cycling.

Share your ideas and questions below.

Like this case study? Want to learn about Sevice Magnets and other tools to help you earn customers who drive the success and growth of your business? Pick up a copy of: “I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.”

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About Jeanne Bliss

As “Chief Customer Officer” for Lands’ End, Mazda, Coldwell Banker, Allstate, and Microsoft, Jeanne got “customer” on the strategic agenda, earned 98% loyalty rates, and changed experiences across 50,000-person operations. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss to create an actionable path for profitability and business growth -- through earning customer and employee raves. Her best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive

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