Is it selling or is it annoying the customer?

Posted on December 15, 2011


mistakes in selling

Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, or maybe the holiday stress is getting to me. I have finally had it with my bank. I used to love Citizens Bank, they were somewhat quirky, but provided friendly service. Now, whenever I go to a branch, or call their Customer Service line, I am bombarded with offers for new products.

What finally did it for me was when I went into a branch to deposit an insurance check. I usually go to the same teller every week and every week she asks me, “Do you own a home?” And before I can answer her, she continues, “We have some great home equity loan rates.” Every week, up until this one, I’ve politely answered, “yes, we own our home, but no we’re not interested in your home equity loan rates.” Today I finally spoke up and said, please tell the bank manager that I am sick of you guys constantly trying to sell me products that I don’t need and I don’t have any interest in. She replied, “Oh, we’re not selling, we are offering products that will help you.” Excuse me, isn’t that a definition of selling?

I have decided to switch my bank to a smaller, community based one. Citizens Bank isn’t alone in their constant pushing of products, I’m sure all of the big banks do this. They could learn some lessons about effective marketing though.

Effective marketing is:

1. Offering relevant products and services to a consumer.

The key word here is relevant. Haven’t banks heard of targeted marketing?  I’m usually in the branch because I’m depositing a check, or I have a problem with my account and I want to resolve it face to face.  Just because I’m in your branch, doesn’t mean that I want to hear all about your products.

2. Providing information to a consumer, not pushing them to buy something.

Those customer service people at Citizens are very persistent. Sometimes I’ve agreed to think about something they’re offering just to shut them up. I don’t blame them, they are just doing what they’re told to do.

What experiences have you had where a company was really pushing you to buy something that you didn’t want or didn’t need?

P.S.  I always like to use a picture to illustrate the theme of my post, the one I chose for today’s post is an unusual one.  I guess the smiling fruits reminded me of the annoying Citizens Bank tellers and customer service reps.

Photo is courtesy of Andres Musta’s Flickr Photostream under Creative Commons licensing.

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Posted in: business, life, marketing