I am often asked, “So, Fifth Third is number one in customer satisfaction, what does that mean?”
Well, by definition it means that Fifth Third Bank has been recognized by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) as tied for first place in customer satisfaction among large U.S. banks. It should be noted that the ACSI is conducted by the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business.
As meaningful as that is to talk about from a marketing standpoint, let me share with you what being tops in customer satisfaction really is about, and what you, if you own a business, would need to do to achieve similar results.
Attaining a higher level of customer satisfaction begins with a commitment to turn your organization into a customer centric one. The idea is to make yours a business where you receive your cues from your customers and you respond accordingly. It is actively attempting to understand customers’ needs and using that information to not only sell more products, but to become more relevant to your customers. One manifestation of this concept is rewarding customers for their loyalty not only through rewards promotions but with personal touches like knowing the name of customers as they enter.
Customer satisfaction is embedded in knowledgeable employees who are approachable and add value to what might normally be nothing more than a transaction. At Fifth Third we call it becoming our customers’ trusted advisors. This is really the essence of customer satisfaction and the area where most of your investment is made toward achieving it. The cost in becoming a customer centric organization is spent with your most important asset, your people. We have undertaken rigorous training to position our bankers and customer service representatives (tellers) as possessing the knowledge and skill to earn our customers consideration as their trusted advisor. To reinforce the implementation of the training we measure our performance constantly through “mystery shoppers” who come in and rate our people on a number of dimensions that relate to how we treat our customers.
Finally, and this is important regardless of the size of your business or whether your marketing area is a neighborhood or a region, you must be active in your community. Community involvement not only translates into feelings of satisfaction in your customers, it has the residual effect of helping to strengthen your market which will bolster your business.
Executing a strategy of customer satisfaction is not a quick fix. It takes time to gradiate first to your employees and second, to your customers. However, once your reputation begins to shift toward one that is really about building relationships with your customers, your best marketing tool will word of mouth referrals.
We are proud of the being named number one in customer satisfaction by the ACSI. It tells us that we are executing our strategy with full commitment from all of our employees. However, at Fifth Third, the real barometer for customer satisfaction comes from the voice of our customers. When I hear people calling us “my bank” as opposed to “the bank” I know we have it right.
Dave F Girodat
President, Fifth Third Bank
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