Channeling the Customer
"But ultimately," Doran-Collins, says, "channel efforts are guided by customer preferences."
In addition to these meetings, Sovereign Bank also has an internal advertising agency, she states, to oversee the brand direction of all customer communication.
Hand points out that however good the internal data sharing is, the bank still has to contend with the usual obstacles to multichannel marketing. These primarily include do-not-call lists and the lack of customer e-mail addresses on file.
The move to a more integrated marketing operation will help alleviate this pain in the long run, as one channel can help drive contact where another one can't. For example, the Web site features multiple prompts for a customer to connect with a banking specialist, ensuring that customers who prefer to speak to live representatives—even their own community banking officer—can do so for any financial questions or applications.
The Multichannel Result
"When [companies] migrate from a traditional direct marketing environment to a more responsive approach driven by business rules, they see dramatic changes in performance from a financial standpoint," asserts Frawley.
Doran-Collins and Hand would seem to agree. Looking at the overall customer base, says Doran-Collins, online banking retention is two times greater than those customers without an online connection. These are customers who are benefiting from Sovereign Bank's persona-based approach.
And the numbers get even better, she adds, when looking at BillPay customers, or those customers who use the bank's online bill payment product. Doran-Collins attributes the improved performance to the customer-focused online experience her team has created.
Hand has found that the firm's multichannel marketing efforts have significantly raised response rates to its direct mail efforts. "Direct mail with a follow-up phone call serves as a reminder and also as an opportunity to answer questions," he says, explaining that this gives the bank an opportunity to better serve customers.