“Is Katie available? My daughter wants to start her first savings account?” I asked the receptionist at our bank. She responded politely, “She is with another customer, could I let you speak to someone else?” “No thank you we will wait for her” I responded. Taken back the receptionist pointed to where we could wait. Sitting there I pondered how many people do not know their bankers? How many people just go to a bank and have a different teller each time. How many places do we miss out on a relationship with people, that have been replaced by machines?
Our world today is about the bottom line, how many customers we can move through quickly and cheaply? We have ATM’s that are open 24 hours a day with no human contact. We have self scanning lines at grocery stores; one can go shopping for an hour and literally speak to no one, except the person who is paid to say goodbye and thank you with a voice like a robot! We go to the gas station and pay at the pump. We have on line billing, banking & shopping. We have friends on line at Face Book that we never have to see in person or hear their voices. We exist behind sound bites of 140 characters or less on Twitter, people posting constantly but rarely responding to anyone! Our world has become abundantly convenient and less human, with less contact and fewer relationships with others.
Gone are the days when we knew our banker by her first name; when we talked to the grocer about his family and the specials for the week. Does anyone know their hairdresser or do you go to Great Clips where you get the person who is ready to cut somebody’s hair, anybody’s hair? There was a time not that long ago when we would say hi and converse with the people we purchased from and knew in our community. That time is slipping away quickly because of the almighty dollar.
Well I am hanging on by a thread and I was willing to leave the bank after waiting and come back again just to see my banker Katie. She is a person not an ATM not someone quoting prices that knows nothing about me. She is a person with a family and children. I have made a friendship with her and she cares about my children. We spent an hour with her, me and my four children starting bank accounts. Around the dinner table that night each of my children said they really liked “Katie our banker”. It is important to me to teach my children about relationships with people not just family and friends but the people in our society that we will work with, the banker, mailman, barber etc. Without these relationships their people skills in life will be lacking and that will affect many aspects of their future. The most important aspect is the relationships they can build and people they will come to care for in all different walks of life.
Businesses sacrifice relationships for volume and money. What they have forgotten is that people need people and relationships. My family will be forever loyal to our bank because of my relationship with Katie and her relationship with my children will carry on their loyalty in the future.
Thanks Katie for being our banker but most of all for being our friend!