Last week with over six million views on YouTube, TD Bank of Canada received tremendous press on their new customer experience campaign. They handed out more than 20,000 envelopes each containing $20 to customers, deposited surprise funds to on-line accounts and donated heartfelt gifts to people who are going through difficult times. The video can bring tears to even the most stoic.
I am a tremendous advocate of saying thank-you, not only to customers, but to employees too. I think, however, that appreciation doesn’t need to be a monetary reward or gift. In some instances, it is almost an insult when a company offers compensation for your loyalty or a dollar for providing feedback on a survey. Your opinion is worth more than that.
For the most part, appreciation is more meaningful when it is between a specific associate at a company and the customer. This happens over time. In the promo video TD produced, some of the gifts were tailored to the customer’s individual circumstances. TD Bank deserves credit for the associates developing a relationship with the customers and knowing what their problems were.
However, the campaign seems to be a gimmick drummed up by a marketing team. Video shots and background music get emotions in high gear complete with a beautiful flower bouquet, Disneyland tickets, and checks for $1000 all coming out of the ATM with the press of a button. Every news channel carried the story the day TD Bank released it. The real test of TD’s commitment to thanking their customers and extending customer appreciation as part of their goal to improve the customer experience, can only be evaluated over time.
Recently, I had my newspaper rerouted during a two-week summer vacation with our family. When I received the last paper the day we left, there was a yellow sticky attached. “Thank you so much and I hope your family enjoys the rest of their summer,” signed, Sandra. That was totally unexpected, felt sincere, and put a smile on my face. I’m confident she didn’t need a company-wide program to know the impact of a genuine thank you.
There were many positive comments by the public commending TD Bank. I may be a bit of cynic about their idea for customer appreciation; what do you think?