- Stop advertising. Until you’ve done your marketing homework, just stop doing any advertising. There are better things to do with your money. We have the numbers for this if you’d like to see them, but you don’t need the numbers to understand that advertising is harder to get right and far more costly when it’s done wrong.
- Get some feet on the street. When’s the last time you sent a team of your best bankers out to meet your best customers? This is an excellent opportunity to talk about customer issues and what you can do to solve them. It’s also a great way for you to hear what’s on your customers’ minds. We can’t think of a better way to improve your customer experience and loyalty than to get out of your office and in front of your customer. Our bet is that you will discover you need to completely overhaul your delivery system with industry-based “packages” to meet the unique needs of different segments of your market.
- Set up six week’s worth of “Meet and Greets” with prospects. Get in front of people who don’t do business with you. Find out why. Find out what it would take. The more you listen, the more you learn. And, if you don’t get business today, you’re more likely to get business tomorrow.
- Kick off a series of “Meet with the Head Tellers.” Not a gossip session, but a strategic business meeting. Perhaps it should be off-site. Include some CSRs or Relationship Mangers or whatever you call them. This could be a “Lunch with the Suits” kind of thing where you listen to your staff tell you things you may not know about what’s going with customers.
- Launch a product study of all transactional accounts, especially those with online features. This is a good way to understand how well you’re doing with 21st century products. If you can’t deliver a top quality customer experience with today’s technology, you’re simply not going to have many high-quality-of-life tomorrows.
- Use the web to lower your ad costs by half. Here’s how this works: buy smaller ad units, with more frequency. Target your own customers and key influencers (like Realtors) with supplemental direct mail. Drive interest to the web where the offer can be spelled out in great detail (you’ll also be able to move all your compliance copy to the web.) Recently, a NC bank did a 90-day re-finance campaign that had to be canceled in 60 days because the MLOs were waiving the white flag, swamped by new business. Campaign costs were less than half of typical.
- Launch a small business campaign with no bank offices required. With today’s technology, you don’t need bricks and mortar to improve your commercial checking business. You can combine RDC with cash safes and make it possible for your business customer to make check and cash deposits without ever leaving the store. You get lots of new customers and you don’t have to build (or lease) an office to service them.
THE TAKE AWAY…
Loyal customers are valuable. They become equity. You should make improving your customer experience a top priority. You’ll be rewarded with customers who will stick with you and make your money. That’s smart marketing.