Throughout my career in technology, I have been conscientious in beating the drum about the importance of service/support/relationship.

Perhaps, a better phrase, one without so many slashes would be customer experience or CX for short. What has your CX been like? Have you ever thought about all of it at once? It gets down to one question, “Is your vendor reactive or proactive?”

There is more than one facet to CX, let’s discuss them.

Client service is a reactive exercise. Here’s how it goes…You call, they answer. You ask a question, they respond immediately. Or, they may get back to you when they can which may not correspond with your timeline.

Account management, however, should be proactive. This assumes your vendor actually knows your bank’s goals and objectives. It should be a collaborative relationship. But it seldom is. If there is any one sector today in business that understands the need for quality service it is community banks.

Community banks are staking their reputation, and their future, on being able to service their customers better than larger competitors located down the street, or in the next state. If a community banker tells its vendor that it is not pleased with the service provided, that vendor had better take note and promptly respond. Most community bankers are experts when it comes to defining service quality.

Client support and account management comprise your customer experience. I bookmarked a blog entry on customer experience a year ago written by Augie Ray, research director at Gartner, Inc., who writes Experience:The Blog: Digital, Mobile, & Social Experiences that Build Brands. It is entitled, “The CX Pyramid: Why Most Customer Experience Efforts Fail” (click on link below for CX Pyramid blog).

I agree with Ray that most customer experience efforts fail because customer service is considered a program assigned to a few employees, instead of being a purposeful initiative that motivates employees company-wide. The entire organization must embrace quality service, not just a few employees assigned to the task.

In his blog, Ray defines the customer experience with six tiers of a pyramid that are clear and concise. After reviewing the pyramid’s content, it is easy to understand why so many CX efforts are ineffective. I recommend that you review the pyramid and then ask how your vendor stacks up. You probably already know. At the same time, ask how the customer service pyramid applies to your bank and to your customers.

Technology vendors should recognize that their community bank clients are experts on service quality and when those clients voice concern about service quality it is a very meaningful criticism.

Click Here for CX Pyramid Blog