George Bailey, the small-town banker from the classic film It’s A Wonderful Life understood the importance of seeing his customers as people first.
His support for them during hard times, good times and financially confusing times reflected not only George’s generous nature but also his commitment to their families and to the Bedford Falls community itself. He knew that his customers needed his expertise, can-do attitude, and most of all, protection from the cruel Mr. Potter.
Can today’s customers find their way back to financial stability while adjusting to digital everything and the many other new ways of our changed world? If it were up to George Bailey, the answer would be a clear “yes.” He may have been only a film character, but his values and approach hold relevant lessons for bankers in these changing times.
Here’s how a modern George Bailey might advance customers’ financial confidence and prowess.
- He would be sure to keep in touch with customers and offer reassurance. George and his employees might need to meet with them virtually rather than getting together at a bank branch, but one-on-one talks remind customers that their banker stands ready to offer assistance and to steer them through the good, the bad and the uncertainty over ever-changing financial offerings.
- George would listen to his customers and tune in to their needs and problems, offering solutions even if he couldn’t address every issue himself. He’d adapt to offer new services to clients facing hardship or confusion by ramping up his engagement team to respond to customers in a self-serve mode as well as virtually, no matter the cost. In so doing, George would champion customers during a stressful and confusing time, establishing his bank as a valuable and expert resource well into the future.
- A 21st century George Bailey would harness technology to respond to customers’ needs by finding new ways for customers to do business with the bank in a hybrid fashion. He’d establish a digital sales engagement platform to engage customers, working together to uncover, educate and recommend services and solutions that fulfill the needs of the customer without bias and with confidence and accuracy.
- Dedicated to supporting small business clients, George would offer a guiding hand, using technology with a human touch to help them secure loans, financial resources, and products to simplify and fulfill their needs so they can grow and come back stronger then before. He would know that even if Mr. Potter isn’t breathing down their necks, small businesses have a place to find help to move forward with understanding and confidence.
- 5. Along those lines, George would rally the community to support local businesses to make sure they stay around to serve the community’s needs today and into the future. He’d call on the creative talents of his marketing team and community leaders to brainstorm ways to lift businesses, helping the community remain strong and healthy as they reopen.
Through it all, George would make his own employees’ wellbeing a high priority, realizing how vital they are to the bank and that they may too may need a helping hand.
It’s A Wonderful Life demonstrated the profound connections in a community. While the lesson extends well beyond business relationships, George Bailey reminds us that an attentive banker can help people enjoy financial security and thus empower a community – one that can rebuild stronger and better than before.
Ignite Sales is the leader in digital sales engagement for financial institutions, using artificial intelligence for engaging analytics to facilitate advanced customer relationship-building and growth, meaningful recommendations and education for greater wallet share and increased satisfaction levels of both bankers and customers.