There’s a not-so-secret formula that has helped Bell Bank repeatedly win awards for having the best customer service. It’s been a practice at Bell for decades, and we celebrate it every February. It’s “LOCBUTN” (pronounced “lock-button”).
The week of Valentine’s Day is LOCBUTN week at Bell Bank. LOCBUTN stands for “loving our customers by using their name.” It’s a simple concept, but one customers notice.
“Every time I come into the bank, they make eye contact with me and call me by name. That’s what makes me feel like a valued customer,” remarks Darin Haverland, a Bell Bank customer of 30 years.
Our customers genuinely love their bank, and Richard Solberg, our board chairman and former CEO, says they need to feel that love back.
“Maybe the reason they say they love the bank is they feel loved,” he says. “One way we show that is by using our customers’ names. We’ve used the quote that one of the sweetest sounds someone can hear is their own name. There’s a friendliness, a warmth about it when your name is used.”
Richard Kadry, a retired Bell executive, originally came up with the acronym as a way to remind employees to consistently use customers’ names. There are also heart stickers on employees’ phones to give the same reminder. And it seems to be working. Kadry retired in 2001, and it impresses him when he goes into a bank branch and the employees still call him by name.
“That makes me feel good,” he says. “It makes me feel important, and I think that’s how Bell’s customers feel.”
As the bank has grown from one location to 20, and banking in general has become more high-tech, personal customer service is even more important.
“Business in general is becoming less personal,” Solberg says. “The warmer we can make our bank feel, the better.”