Restoring consumer confidence
What do you do when half of your customers don’t trust you? According to a recent survey conducted by Mintel, 50% of respondents have less trust in banks than they did two years ago and less than half of those polled believe their bank is a company they can trust.
A recent Forrester research report found that more than half of consumers polled believe that big banks don’t have consumers in mind when making decisions. Forrester vice president, Bill Doyle, states that the reason for this is, “...the banks are preoccupied with their bottom line. They are public institutions who are in business to make money for their shareholder and, inevitably, that shows to customers.” In contrast, credit unions tend to rank higher in consumer satisfaction because, being customer owned, they tend to emphasize customer service.
Despite the high level of dissatisfaction, consumers are often too comfortable or lazy to switch banks. The good news for bank companies is that you’re then left with two options: retain your current consumers or acquire new ones, who may be awaiting a better offer from a bank they can actually trust.
How do you stand out among the rest?
In order to retain your current consumers and attract those on the lookout for a new bank, it’s important to identify with them and regain their trust. There are a number of ways you can go about doing this but the underlying point should be to make yourself more transparent.
Utilizing social media.
Facebook, Twitter, blogs and message boards are great resources for building consumer trust. Not only is this an inexpensive solution, but it’s one that will allow direct communication with consumers.
Susan Menke, vice president of financial services with Mintel Comperemedia, says, “Nearly one in three social network users values the opinions and recommendations of family and friends over industry experts, or any other source of information.” Banks can take advantage of this established trust to promote confidence in their brands by reaching out to existing customers and turning them into brand advocates.
Start out by engaging consumers with incentives. These can include new-account bonuses, referral bonuses, local-business coupons or donations to social causes. Be sure to communicate with the consumers by posting engaging copy that sparks conversation, and be available to respond. As you win over more and more of your existing customers, it’s likely that they’ll then refer you to their family and friends.
Some banks who have been actively utilizing social media include:
- SunTrust – Twitter used as an extension of their customer service, and Facebook used to bring awareness of their community involvement and to invite all fans to communicate their needs. (Fans have since shown positive feedback regarding exceptional customer service and community initiatives.)
- Bank of America – Twitter used as an extension of their customer service.
- NG Direct – Facebook page used to educate community with helpful and relevant financial tips.
- Citigroup – Facebook page used to promote their foundation and blog.
- Wells Fargo – Podcasts used to inform and educate, Twitter feeds focus on customer service and financial tips, and YouTube channels that target retail, wholesale banking and small-business customers.
- 1st Mariner Bank – Twitter used for customer service and corporate information, and Facebook used for local news, user conversations and humorous videos. Blog focuses on financial literacy and community events.
- TDECU – Foursquare used to reward consumers: for the grand opening of their latest Texas branch, they offered a $250 Visa Gift Card to the Foursquare mayor to show up at the ribbon-cutting event.
- North Shore Bank – Foursquare used to offer consumers a $5 Subway gift card to anyone who became mayor of one of the bank’s branch locations.
Further makeover of your online presence.
In addition to social media, banks can rebrand themselves or modify their Web presence into one that is more transparent and consumer focused. Though a rebrand is a more costly approach than utilizing social media, it can really help to retain consumers.
Citigroup unveiled a branding campaign made up of a website, http://www.new.citi.com, with a blog and videos featuring top executives, and print ads directing consumers to their new site. Consumers can find personal blog posts and testimonial videos by Citi executives. The blogs are designed as an alternative to one-way communication, and blog comments get funneled to customer service where they are answered one by one. Through this rebrand Citi acknowledged their responsibility to consumers, shareholders and employees, and the need to support them through thoughtful community and education.
Read more: Forbes - Citi pandit rebranding blog
Beyond the Web.
In their attempt to put consumers at ease and win over prospective customers, some financial institutions are focused on more than just Web marketing. Raymond James recently launched a new campaign called “Tales of Financial Pragmatism.” The campaign kicked off with a TV commercial featuring Emily Skinner, a 187-year-old woman who’s enjoying life to the fullest due to her wise investment choices, courtesy of the prudent investment strategies of Raymond James. Aside from TV ads, the campaign will feature print and online executions, under the tagline, “Life well planned.” This campaign is demonstrative of the importance of utilizing all types of media—even in the midst of the digital age—when reaching out to consumers.
What else can banks do to win over consumers?
The first step to acquiring new consumers is researching what they look for when choosing a bank. Earlier this year, MyBankTracker stated that:
- 53% of Gen Yers fall into the one-stop shopper category, vs. 26% of Seniors (65 and older).
- 45% of Gen Yers value loyalty points, vs. 33% of US online adults overall and 27% of Seniors.
- 33% of Seniors value access to a dedicated customer service phone number for consumers who own multiple accounts, vs. 27% of US online adults overall and 25% of Gen Yers.
Once you do your research, it’s time to change up what you offer. In order to target the consumers who are dissatisfied with their banks, you need to give them a reason to cut ties and leave their comfort zone. This can be done by eliminating unpopular charges or marketing yourself in a more consumer-friendly manner.
- Bank of America dropped automatic overdraft protection fees.
- JPMorgan Chase did away with the common industry practice of lumping together a day’s worth of debit-card and ATM fees and processing the highest amount first. They instead credit transactions chronologically.
- ING Direct offers an Electric Orange Checking Account that requires no minimum balance, pays interest on deposits and provides a line of credit in lieu of expensive overdrafts.
- TD Bank, formerly Commerce, abandoned the term “branches” for its banks. They now call them “stores” so that consumers feel like they’re going to buy something when visiting the bank.
- Chase offers Chase Blueprint to allow consumers to set up their own account and credit card according to their own finances.
We can help you reach consumers
Clearly, there are multiple ways to go about retaining consumers and accumulating new ones. The bottom line is to display transparency in order to build trust. From here, you can look to research, use your creative powers to experiment with new marketing ideas and, most importantly, show consumers that you care. Put the consumers first by finding out what they want, inviting feedback and working to improve communications.
Push has extensive experience working with developing, growing and mature brands in the banking industry. Click on the following video to see Push's perspective on the current financial industry.
To talk to Push directly, please contact John Ludwig, CEO, at 407-841-2299 or at firstname.lastname@example.org