Financial Marketing and Cross Selling Blog
For years the financial services industry has researched over and over again what their customers are looking for. What are the most important attributes to the relationship they have with their customer? What promises would be most likely to attract new customers? The word service is always at the top or near the top of the list. So what did the marketers and ad agencies do? They all claimed to have great service. But that misses the boat. People define service differently.
When I was in Citibank’s credit card marketing group in the late 1980s we realized this. We found that we needed to define service in our marketing communications in order to make it a meaningful benefit. We were astonished to find that the strongest relationships were actually the ones that had previously had a problem. An inaccurate statement suddenly became an opportunity. It was the handling of the problem that built the stronger bond. A problem that was well handled was like glue to the relationship. We learned quickly and soon our TV commercials were demonstrating real people getting their problems solved by Citibank. We had defined service in the consumers mind and clearly put ourselves as the leader in providing that important benefit.
At Truebridge, we have done research to identify the barriers to cross selling and published the results. In a nutshell, we identified the need for banks to shape their image as the place to go for more of their customers’ financials needs beyond deposits and loans. We also highlighted the fact that banks needed to do a much better job in creating referrals. There are several ways that these barriers can be overcome. Why aren’t banks attacking these problems with more force?
A recent conversation with the president of a community bank gave me a good understanding of their points of pain and it sets up a real catch 22 for the whole industry. The low interest rate environment has squeezed margins and driven down revenues forcing expense cuts. On top of that, new regulations are adding to the cost of banking. What is needed most now is revenue growth. But growth takes money. Money that is not there to spend. Read more >>
What does customer service mean to you? Personally when I think of customer service, I can’t help but have my thoughts be overshadowed by frustrating experiences, automated call services and plenty of dead ends. If you provide any product or service, no matter what it may be, you have to be 100% dedicated to assist your customers when something goes wrong. You can’t simply provide a service and then turn a cold shoulder on your customers when something goes wrong. Customer service is a HUGE factor in how your brand is viewed and when your customers need help with your products or services, they should be able to count on you to provide them the information that will help them, which in turn will increase their loyalty to you in the long run. You may be reading this now and thinking that the connotations attached to a brand’s customer service is something that is hard to change. However, I was recently involved in a scenario with a certain internet service provider that left me utterly amazed.