Jim Huebner
21 September, 2021

I do some of my banking at Wells Fargo. They have the best in online banking, lots of locations, and very friendly people. In fact, it crossed my mind recently that their people might just be TOO friendly. Let me explain.

When you walk in to Wells Fargo, you’re first greeted by the greeter. Then the personal banker chimes in with a “Hello” from behind the desk. And then everyone else who isn’t completely distracted with actual work offers out a “Howdy”… “How are you doing today?”… “Any big plans for the weekend?”… “Is it still raining? Gee, that darn rain!”… “Would you like to meet with a personal banker to discuss your needs?”

Honestly, on my last visit to our local branch I was greeted by a minimum of five people before I made it to the teller line. And when I got to the front of the line, I was certain the teller had come straight from an Up With People concert. They offered me everything with unbridled enthusiasm, from free coffee to cross-selling me their latest special privileges account.

Now, if you’re a people person, you won’t be disappointed with the human interaction offered at Wells Fargo. Their people have been trained well. Extremely well. The only problem is that not every customer IS a people person. In fact, contrast my Wells Fargo experience to my recent Key Bank experience, and you might just see how it does in fact take all kinds.

It had been a few years since I had been to the local Key Bank branch. However, my debit card had expired a while back and due to my inactivity they were requiring me to stop in to request a new one.

When I walked in, there was no greeter. Instead, besides the teller who was helping a customer, there was only one other person even visible in the office. There were lots of offices, but they were all seemingly empty. It was very quiet and definitely lacked the “energy” of a Wells Fargo branch. In fact, my first thought was, “Wow, they must really be struggling.” (The truth is, they’re not. In fact, their stock is valued at a small premium compared to their competitors right now.) And then another thought quickly followed. “If you’re looking for anonymity, THIS is the place to bank.” No greeter. Nobody asking you questions that you don’t really want to answer. No one announcing to the world that you qualify for a special privileges account. It’s just you and the teller… and no one else. Just the way SOME people like it.

And that’s the point.

Few successful companies try to be everything to everybody.

Most find the place where they can excel and leave the other “opportunities” to someone else. So how is your company wired? Where do you excel? Is that how your customers see you, too? What’s distracting you from focusing on your strengths? What are you going to do about it? Remember, it takes all kinds… so what “kind” are you going to be?