What are your customers thinking about you? Ask them.

You can only manage what you measure.  We use that axiom here at Grand Rapids State Bank, and since August 2013 we’ve been gathering data from you, our customers, about what we’re doing well and where we can improve.  What have we learned?  

Every business manager knows that staying in touch with your customers is vital.  At Grand Rapids State Bank, we have instituted a monthly telephone survey of customers with the help of our marketing firm, Russell Herder (http://russellherder.com/).  We ask customers what they think about our services, and they have told us. 

“Like other companies, we engage in market research to test trends and gauge public perception of what and how we do things,” explained Ed Zabinski, senior vice president. “Our agency recommended that by digging a little deeper, by polling a small sample of businesses and individuals each month, we could actually gather more helpful data.  We’ve been at this for four months now, but we’re seeing trends.”

One of the early discoveries is that different customer segments prefer different methods of learning about banking services.  Whereas individual retail customers (73%) prefer to learn about banking services via direct mail, business customers (75%) want to hear directly from their bankers.

“That certainly fits our model of banking,” commented Al Liestman, senior vice president-lending.  “We pride ourselves in having a high-touch approach to staying in contact with our customers.  We take the results of this survey seriously, and we’ll begin to look for new ways to communicate the services and products we deliver.”

“We also want to point out that if any of our customers receives a survey call, the caller will identify themselves as working for Russell Herder on behalf of GRSB,” said Zabinski.  “If you’re uncertain about the caller’s identity, you won’t hurt our feelings if you decline to respond.  But our survey folks are trained to ensure you’re comfortable answering their brief questions when they call.”

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