Last week, BankThink contributor Dave Martin urged bankers to get on a first-name basis with their customers. This type of personal touch, he argues, helps financial institutions capitalize on the one thing they've got that a major (or, perhaps, bigger) competitor doesn't: their people.

Many readers agreed personally connecting with customers was a key component to building business. (Stock analyst Dick Bove's argument that bad service has its financial benefits, apparently, wasn't all that convincing.)    

"100% correct," one commenter commented. "That is the key difference between community banks and the large national banks."

However, readers also felt building a meaningful (and lasting) relationship with customers hinged on more than just name recognition. 

"Value is not synonymous with remembering a customer's name," one commenter commented. "It is about making the customer better off today than they were yesterday and doing so better and more frequently than anyone else."

Another wrote, "Value creation is not a function of [a] customer knowing the Banker's name. It is a function of the Banker doing his/her job to create value for the customer, above and beyond simply offering a menu of available bank products!"

Adding even the slightest personal touch can be tricky in an increasingly digital society as customers become more dependent on mobile banking apps or full service websites and less inclined to visit local branches.

How do you personally connect with your customers? What practices do you believe add value for your clients? Post a comment below! 

Jeanine Skowronski is the deputy editor of BankThink.