If Service Is the Answer, What Is the Question?

When financial institutions give the answer “service,” which question are they answering:

  1. What are we good at?
  2. What is the one thing we do better than anyone else?

More often than not, “service” is the reflexive answer to the first question, and almost never the honest answer to the second.

Poor service graphFew financial institutions do much of anything remarkably better than their peers, but when you ask about competitive strengths, they’ll often resort to “service” as a trusty fall-back. Many actually have themselves convinced that service is the answer to both questions.

Even if your service is good, it’s probably not notably better than your competitors. Every organization is better at some things than others. But its strengths, like “service,” may not be any different than the bank down the street. How do you know? How did you compare service experiences? What evidence is there?

Reality Check: Maybe your service isn’t that great. Maybe the other guys’ service is just worse. When people switch financial institutions, more often than not they’re doing it because of poor service, so some of these financial institutions are lying. Not everyone’s service is all that great.

Key Question: If you had to give any other answer than “service,” what would you say your organization does best?

Bottom Line: Unless you take service to the nth degree in everything you so, “service” is probably not the answer. Let go of this myth. In all likelihood, it isn’t what differentiates you, and you’ll have a hard time finding what does (or truly taking your service to a branded level) until you do.

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