With Hurricane Irma They Love Me Again!

With Hurricane Irma They Love Me Again!

I remember the time when banks would regularly offer incentives (toasters, blenders, and the like) to open accounts, add money to an account, or upgrade to full service. Those were the times when they were competing with one another to entice you to do business with them. It was a heady time and bank tellers were some of the nicest people I remember.

But, it was a long time ago. Long enough to make me feel really old. I haven’t seen a bank go out of its way to get my business through personal contact and personal expressions of interest in decades. And, certainly the time when one had a special relationship with a particular bank or a particular person at a bank has long past.

So imagine my surprise when I received, in one day late last week, as many as six calls from six banks with which I do business, each reminding me of the special relationship we have and telling me how much they not only value my patronage, but that they are there for me and will do everything and anything to help me.

The calls were prompted by Hurricane Irma. And they appeared genuine. Each caller—not robo-callers – left me a phone number, told me to call any time and promised to be there for me in the event of any problems I had in the hurricane’s aftermath. A few of them even called a second time.

I’m not eager to assign motive for these call or similar calls I received from folks who worked for companies that insured my homes and cars.

But I must say that the calls made me feel good. I know they were motivated by an interest in cementing relationships, and even extending these connections over time. But, that’s fine with me and the calls felt awfully good, especially at a time of high stress. If national crises are necessary to bring back an old and very nice tradition of personal relationships, especially in the times we now live in, I am all in. I am grateful to these banks for their calls and intend to remember these kindnesses for some time to come.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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