Who’s In Charge Here?


Who should know more about your business- your customers, or you?

Who should lead a customer conversation– your customers, or you?

I received an pre-authorization letter for a new credit card from a bank that has an office in our town.

This particular offer includes 10% cash back for the first 90 days, as well as a $100 gift certificate to an online restaurant website.

No annual fee.

Looked like a pretty good deal, so I figured I’d go to the supermarket (where the bank is)  and get the card.

When I showed up, I was met at the counter by Sean, the assistant bank manager.

Sean asked me “Can I help you?”

I showed him my application.

Without saying a word, he took it and started inputting data onto his keyboard.

More silence.

After a couple of minutes of this, Sean said,

It looks like you’re all set.  Your card should be arriving in 7 days.

Wait a minute, I thought.

The promotional letter outlined 3 different available options for the card.

Sean hadn’t asked me about any.

That’s it?

Yet, that’s it.

Sean, do you know which option card I wanted to sign up for?

Sean gave me the a most earnest deer-in-the-headlights look.


I proceeded to pull out the promo and show him how this worked, and explained I wanted the Cashback card.  (The one with the 10% for 90 days.)

Alain, thanks for letting me know about this.  You’re all set.

Sean, how about the $100 gift certificate?


More glazed eyes crossed the counter.

I then went through and explained that promotion as well.

I walked out of the bank with serious doubts that any of this was going to work out in the end.

Who was in charge here?  Was it me, or Sean?  Why did I feel like I was the one doing Sean’s job?

Competence breeds confidence.  I had real doubts in Sean’s competence at helping me with my application. Without confidence in Sean’s ability, not only did I question Sean, I questioned the entire bank.

Your frontline employees are your ambassadors–both good and bad.

Is every member of your team on top every part of their role?   Are they ready to take charge?

We customers really hope so.


This entry was posted in Communication, Customer Service, Sales/Business Development. Bookmark the permalink.