Don't Sell, Help. #CustomerServiceWeek

10/06/2016 01:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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Customer service isn't a strategy.

It's so achingly simple but so few people seem to get it. Stop selling products. Be there to assist your customer, but just give them some room. People everywhere are sick and tired of getting a hard sell. With little choice and increasing pressure to buy things they don't need, people get deflated and depressed. We are all consumers and we all hate being sold stuff.

I guarantee you that if you come to one of our Cafés for a coffee once a week, at some point you'll ask us about our business and probably become a customer. We don't push it; instead we try to create a relaxed atmosphere that's engaging. And the coffee's never free--it's just good value. It's also a physical touch point with our brand. We don't want to scream at people all day with marketing. People have to understand that Tangerine is different. They come first for the coffee and to interact with our brand, and over time they see how we are different (sometimes five minutes, sometimes five months). Eventually a deeper relationship is formed.

It costs a lot of money to operate the Cafés, but one discussion the bank has never had is how to make them profitable. The finance team asks a lot of questions about cost benefit, as well it should, but we make sure we know how to define the actual benefit beyond straight numbers. I can't take the cost of the Cafés and divide by the number of new clients we get from them and show you a return that is better than any other marketing that we do. But I can show you that the nature of the interaction and of the customer we get there far exceeds the typical bank's customer base. Our clients who started at our Cafés often become ambassadors for our brand. This place is transformational, and there's something special about the interactions. They become customers, they buy more products, and they tell people about us.

I don't pay our Café staff per customer won or per product sold. No commission. Everyone in our company has goals, and how they do against those goals has a lot to do with their performance review and compensation.

We hire people who love us, who love our business and their jobs, and who believe in us. We love and believe in them right back. They are genuine, and that transfers to their interactions with the people who walk into a Café off the street.

How complicated is that?

I couldn't be prouder of the way we support our Clients at Tangerine and the people who do it! Hear if for yourself here.