Good leaders, parents and pet owners frequently praise their charges when they are doing things right (even if it was by accident!). We animals love the praise and over time change our behavior for more of it. Psychologists call this positive reinforcement.

Financial institutions have many opportunities to praise their customers, but they rarely do. Most bank messages¬†are alerts about problems, shortfalls and security concerns. Those aren’t going away, but what if we found ways to sent frequent messages about how well customers were doing? How you appreciate their attention to security, that their savings are up compared to the prior period, or that they made their 25th on-time loan payment? Credit Karma is good at positive reinforcement, frequently sending an email when credit scores improve month over month (see inset).

There won’t always be a positive message to send. Some months savings are depleted, hackers find card numbers at a data breach, or a bill was forgotten. But the good news is that the next month is likely to be better, so you can easily “catch your customer doing something right.”

Try it.