An Automated Thanking Machine (ATM)


Everyone knows what an ATM is – an automated teller machine. ATMs take the ‘personal’ out of ‘personal banking’. But there was a different twist on the ATM concept at TD Bank in Canada in early August. The company transformed the ATMs in several of its branches into a different type of machine – an Automated Thanking Machine – that thanked customers personally for their business and loyalty.

TD employees distributed green envelopes containing a $20 bill to every customer in more than 1,100 TD branches. And lest online and phone customers be left out of the fun, more than 28,000 additional people were informed that they received a deposit directly into their bank accounts. In total, 30,000 bank customers were thanked and delighted by the personal attention. The video of the ‘thanking’ quickly went viral, amassing more than six million hits in the first week.

Several very lucky TD customers were selected to receive trips, experiences, money, savings contributions, flowers, and cakes. One particularly lucky customer received tickets to a Blue Jays baseball game, and was invited to throw the first pitch. That’s pretty personal service from a usually impersonal industry.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing how students interact with their banks. What services do they receive? Do they have any loyalty to the bank?
  2. Next, discuss the importance of customer relationship building to businesses. What experiences do students have of businesses developing a personal relationship with them?
  3. Show the video:
  4. Debrief reactions from students and discuss the benefits to the company.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a business that is impersonal, and then develop a way for the business to increase its customer relationships.

Source: Forbes,, other news sources

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