Nuts & Bolts - Web: ‘The Price Is Right' Is Not How Americans Pick Banks
Cost drives consumer interaction with financial services firms, right? Wrong.
So says Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research in the study, "Putting The Best Sales Arguments On Financial Services Websites." Author Vanessa Niemeyer, Ph.D., finds financial services firms mistakenly promote price as a brand differentiator, when other factors are far more important to consumers.
Instead, the research released in May suggests financial services marketers should first:
1. Build up consumer trust. Less than half of Americans think their banks are good consumer advocates. Financial institutions should highlight customer opinions, awards from neutral parties and the transparency of their business practices—for example, noting the lack of "fine print."
2. Partner with customers. "The consumer loan provider easyCredit in Germany, for example, promotes its loan with a fairness package that includes the bank's promise to not take legal steps, but to find a solution together with the customer in the case of financial distress."
3. Explain the value customers will receive through additional features and services. "Make commitments and guarantees," Niemeyer writes. "France's BNP Paribas offers to discount its mortgage fees by 50 percent if a mortgage specialist does not call the customer back within 48 hours."
4. Promote the simplicity of their process. Have a fast, easy application process and offer new customers help in switching accounts.
5. Provide relevant offerings, then present the price when it makes sense instead of as a default. Show how products and services match consumer needs and provide quality advice.
To access the research, visit http://bit.ly/mrB79q.