I get a phone message from my local banker from time to time.
“Nothing urgent,” he says. “Just wanted to find time to talk with you.”
That’s code, I know, for “I want to sell you something.” More specifically, “You should really switch your investment accounts over to our bank.”
I’ve rudely ignored the messages. But today it caught up with me, as I actually had to go inside my bank because the ATM was down.
Banker (jauntily): “Mr. Oswald, I’ve been trying to call you.”
Me (sheepishly): “I’m sorry I haven’t called you back. I just don’t trust banks with my investments.”
Banker (soberly): “Don’t worry. No one ever returns my calls any more.”
For wishful banks, and wistful bankers, the lesson should be clear: Before you can win over customers, you have to win back customer trust.