I went into my bank today to make a couple of deposits. It’s not necessary to identify the bank…but a few of the letters in the name of the bank are B of A. Ok, so anyway…

I walked to the counter to fill out a deposit slip and one of the Bankers walked up and made the appropriate, we want to make you feel special small talk.

Banker: You know, you can deposit straight into the ATM machine. Why don’t you do that?

Dave: I’ve done it before and my check didn’t clear for three days.

Banker: No, that can’t be

Dave: Um… ya it can be

Banker: No, it clears the same day when you get it in before 8 pm

Dave: (In my head) Go away

Banker: Are you sure you don’t want to do that

Dave: No, I don’t want to do that. I stopped doing it a long time ago because the check was held

Banker: (Sensing her opening) Oh, a long time ago…well it’s been fixed

Dave: (In my head) Would it be wrong of me to remind her that her bank just posted a 2.2 billion dollar loss

Banker: Make sure you do that in the future, OK?

Dave (In my head) Well, at least I just found something to blog about today.

OK, so obviously there is some reason B of A wants me to use the ATM machine. The trouble with the Banker was that she was parental in the worst use of the word. She tried to get me to do something without explaining why it was better for me. I’m the customer. My guess is that if I use the ATM machine it cuts down on traffic in the bank. That’s nice for the bank, but doesn’t really do anything for me–except slow down the posting of my check and my ability to use the deposited money.

Here’s the deal: There’s nothing wrong with helping your customer understand how they can make your life easier. Just make sure you frame it in a way that helps them see the value for them and not just the value for you.