Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill

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Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A look at a new concept in Banking which genuinely does put the customer first. It may well not be the type of business book you're expecting!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Profile Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781251102

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Vernon Hill is the man behind Metro Bank in the UK, the founder of Commerce Bank in the US and the holder of the North American franchise of PetPlan. When Metro Bank opened in the UK in July 2010 I remember wondering if the world really needed another Bank and the truth was that it didn't need another Bank-just-like-every-other-Bank-you've-encountered, but it did need a fresh approach to the business and a sweeping away of all the old rules and prejudices. Hill had proved that it could be done with Commerce Bank and in the last two years he's made a similar impact with Metro.

In case you've not heard about Metro, it's still largely restricted to greater London but there are signs that it's spreading. It opens seven days a week for long hours and the whole ethos of the Bank is that it doesn't have customers, but fans. Silly rules which enable people to say 'no' are swept away and the staff are hired for their positive mindsets rather than professional knowledge, which can - after all - be taught. Children and dogs are welcome and not just tolerated and there's a free coin changing machine - which is also available to non-customers. Now I have a good relationship with my Bank - it's perhaps best described as 'they know better than to upset me' - but when I read about what staff at Metro Bank do - and do willingly for their fans - then I'm rather jealous.

But - it's not the Bank you want to know about, it's the book. If you're expecting a nice, sedate look at business models, customer service training, cost/earnings ratios and bottom lines then you're going to be disappointed. This is banking done in stores with an air of showmanship and the book has that same atmosphere of pulling you in and giving you a whirl, before escorting you politely back to your seat. It is very easy reading and the end did seem to come all too quickly. Purists might react against the proliferation of exclamation marks in places - sometimes they even invade words (AMAZE!ing) - and just occasionally I felt as though I was reading the text through a fence. At times there's quite a bit of repetition, such as the fact that Metro Bank competes on service rather than on rates offered (but a quick look at the Bank's website suggests that the rates they offer are not unreasonable) and some of the catchphrases were rather hammered home, but you have to accept it as being part of the showmanship.

In the early part of the book I did wonder if I was reading a rather lengthy advert for Metro Bank as I struggled to see how much of it would apply to anything other than finance institutions in metropolitan areas. But by about halfway through I began to understand how the principles could be applied elsewhere, although they do seem to concentrate on businesses (large and small) which have a bricks and mortar presence in the community. There's plenty of food for thought though, but for many companies it would mean a radical rethinking of their approach. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending me a review copy and I hope they won't mind if I drop it off at the local branch of HSBC.

If this book appeals then we think that you might also appreciate Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan.

Buy Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fans Not Customers: How to create growth companies in a no growth world by Vernon Hill at Amazon.com.


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