Do customers look forward to seeing you?

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.

Umpqua Bank is committed to delivering an experience customized for each customer. Umpqua’s executive vice president of “cultural enhancement” had a goal that everybody in every store should be able to do every task. Umpqua wanted a teller who can take a mortgage application and a loan officer who is pleased to help with a safety deposit box.

Jeanne Bliss

Beyond the banking experience, Umpqua believes in customizing experiences by community.

The company leaves it to the managers in each community bank to customize their offerings based on their customers’ interests — from yoga classes in one “store” location (they don’t use the word “branch”), to movie nights or a knitting club in another. Each has its own fund to enable it to customize the experience based on the lives of the customers in its community.

Umpqua’s mission is to become a destination for customers.

By offering a warm environment customized by community interests and a banking experience personalized to every customer who walks through their doors, it wants customers to think of the Umpqua Bank in their community as a gathering place.

As Umpqua changed its approach from a traditional “banking-style” service to a customized experience, employees had to learn to juggle many duties. It meant more work initially, but now they can’t imagine being limited to the individual tasks their jobs were defined as previously.

As Umpqua has grown with staff increases, it has retained its focus on the customer and the values that built the bank.

And the company has retained its employees! Umpqua’s voluntary employee turnover rate is just eight percent — compared to the banking industry rate of about 40 percent. In 2012, as a testament that this change in focus was not only good for customers, but also great for employees, the company made (for the sixth year in a row) Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

  • Are your operating decisions based on executing tasks or delivering an experience that complements your customer’s day?
  • How good are the jugglers in your business?
  • Does your environment embrace and welcome customers?
  • How can you make a visit to your business a welcome oasis during your customer’s day?

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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