Banks: Let Customers Know You Care
Banking customers think their banks don’t care about them. Even if they get angry, they don’t express it to their banks, because they don’t think they’ll see any results, according to a recent Gallup poll. That has to change — now, says Kevin Tynan, SVP of marketing at Liberty Bank for Savings.
He wrote for the Financial Brand on Oct. 6:
“Consumers think financial institutions don’t care. Most consumers don’t think their banking provider would listen to them if they were to lodge a complaint.
Consumer distain for banks has very real consequences. Unhappy customers are easy prey for competitors, and particularly vulnerable to FinTechs — the new kids on the block, who offer consumer-pleasing software. Furthermore, apathetic clients are less likely to open additional accounts or make referrals.”
Tynan details a few in his opinion piece, “Banks Tick Consumers Off and Drive Them Away … But Do They Even Care?” His examples of competitors include FinTechs, Amazon and Google.
Here’s how banks can stave off competition by better aligning themselves with customer goals:
Banks Should Be Customer-First, Not Product-First
Marketers have been hearing this refrain for more than a decade, yet the Wells Fargo fiasco makes it clear that bankers aren’t listening.
Tynan says it’s finally come to the point where banks will have to put aside short-term profits, such as quarterly goals, in order to win the big revenue prize — long-term customer loyalty.
Banking fees undercut trust. But Tynan says banks keep them, because Bloomberg Intelligence measured that in 2016, fees constituted 8 percent of banks’ net income. He adds:
“Fees associated with checking programs are the most-cited reason why customers leave banks, in part because fees are punitive — charged every time customers make a mistake. Overdrafts, falling balances and lost debit cards are among the 22 charges that come with a typical checking account.”
Tynan suggests banks charge flat monthly fees to be evaluated annually based on the customer. No surprises. (A couple of other ideas include repealing fees or providing adequate warning that bank balances are low and customers should stop withdrawals, for instance.)
Products should also fit the customer, not the quota. Tynan says banks could monitor their net promoter scores to determine if they’re meeting customer needs. He says:
“Instead of awarding bonuses to bankers for sales, managers should reward them for satisfying customer needs. Satisfied customers are more profitable, use more services and maintain longer bank relationships.”
Bank Accounts Should Be Based on Preferences From the Word ‘Go’
Tynan says earning customer confidence starts the second they become customers and that’s in the best interest of the bank, too.
Here’s how he suggests banks do so:
“Bank programs must be customer-focused from the first moment of contact. During the account opening, a banker must ask a series of questions to understand the applicant’s lifestyle, interests and financial goals. All future interactions — telephone calls, text messages and emails — would revolve around giving advice or reporting on their financial progress.”
Bank Representatives Can Answer Customers on Social Media
The Financial Brand listed banks on social media and broke that down by YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The lists published on Tuesday show these metrics belie Tynan’s measure of bank trust, though.
- Wells Fargo is the No. 1 financial institution in the U.S., measured by Facebook likes (1 million); Twitter followers (nearly 270,000); and YouTube views (67 million); according to the “Power 100 Ranks — Banks Q3 2017.” Does that mean Americans think this bank cares about them?
- State Bank of India is No. 1 overall, but North American banks in the Top 10, following Wells Fargo, are Bank of America, Capital One and TD Bank (Canada).
- In the Facebook listings, Capital One is No. 1, then Chase and BofA. Way below this Top 10, Wells Fargo is below Citi and USAA — with Wells Fargo at No. 27 on the global list.
- Twitter: Citi is No. 1, with more than 893,000 followers; and Goldman Sachs, BofA of Chase.
- Where North American bank brands seem to shine is YouTube: Wells Fargo is No. 1, with TD Bank, BofA and RBC rounding out the global Top 5.
As for consumer sentiment related to banks, a quick search of Twitter revealed links to news articles or content NSFW. Customer complaints appear to go directly to the individual banks. @WellsFargo, for instance, doesn’t answer them publicly.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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