By Ted Triplett
We all have loyalties to particular service providers—but we also recognize that there are plenty of opportunities to buy the same services from competitors.
“People today want a relationship with their bank that is built on trust. Getting to know their needs takes more than a phone call or handing out a product brochure,” says Thomas M. Caron, who served for nearly 30 years as president and CEO of a Massachusetts bank.
Discriminating consumers want more than just bank products. They want to feel they’ve made a wise decision. That goes for every encounter they have with your institution, whether it’s a routine deposit or a one-time-only home loan.
Customers trust banks with their money. In return, they deserve to do business with people who appreciate, respect and communicate with them. Take a customer for granted and you run the risk that they’ll take their business elsewhere—and they’ll tell their friends, too.
Customers expect appreciation and recognition for their business. Yes, they’re aware there may be a better deal around the next corner. But if their current bank is treating them well, they’ll remember that, and will be significantly more motivated to keep their business with you.
To gain loyal customers, you have to first earn their trust. Part of earning that trust is sharing information with them. The more they know about your bank, the more they believe in its offerings and its people. Your customer must be able to feel they can rely on and trust your bank. I often see survey responses where satisfied customers say, “I can count on them.”
By providing your customers with value-focused information so they can make or save money—and make better financial decisions—you become a trusted resource for your customers.
Consistent communication, both in the message and in the frequency of the message, is one key to earning trust. Consider this an opportunity to give your customers an ongoing education in what your bank has to offer. Repeat that message, and often, and you’ll reap plenty from what you sow.
Best of all, by earning a customer’s trust you optimize the possibility that they will turn to you when they need deeper and wider solutions. Bank-loyal customers view their financial institution as a place where people, not products, are there to meet their needs.
Therefore, bank marketers need to send messages that offer clear-cut value propositions, a true reason for the customer to put their trust and money with them.
A successful strategy requires frequent contact, a consistent message, education and trust—thus becoming not only a cross-selling strategy, but also a relationship-selling strategy. Simple as this may sound, it’s actually one of the most complex strategies involved in keeping your customers, your customers.
When you educate your customers and build a relationship with them, you’ll be well positioned to encourage them to use more of your products and services, to proactively look for more ways to do business with you, and to tell their friends about your organization.
By focusing your marketing dollars on building stronger relationships, rather than pushing products, you’ll find your customers more receptive to your cross-sell offers—which can significantly increase your bottom line and retention.
“IDENTIFICATION OF TOP PHOTO: Ted Triplett”