Improving ‘Engagement’ with Tenured Business Banking Customers

Data from J.D. Power’s 2013 Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study finds that Product Offerings satisfaction declines significantly as a customer’s tenure with the bank increases. Customer perception of product-related communication (or lack thereof) is a key driver of the satisfaction differences noted across different customer segments.

Analysis of customer verbatim comments may indicate that banks are more focused on communicating with newer business customers, in an attempt to ensure satisfaction and ultimately increase loyalty and cross-sell potential. Conversely, longer-tenured customers may feel ‘forgotten’ as the level (or quality) of communication received from their bank decreases over time.

US SBB Account Initiation, PO & Credit services_Final_11.6

It is important for financial institutions to stay in-touch with their business customers, particularly those with longer tenures, as those customers appear to be more critical of their bank’s attempts to communicate with them. And it is especially important to focus on engaging tenured business banking customers that DO NOT have an assigned account/relationship manager.

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Maximizing the ROI of Credit Card Communications

Credit card issuers need to ensure that proactive outreach campaigns directed at current customers fit the evolving ‘digital world’. Failure to do so may not yield a positive return on the resource expenditures associated with customer communications.

Data from the 2013 Credit Card Satisfaction Study finds that nearly half (46%) of credit card customers did not read/use the most recent proactive communication they received from their issuer, thereby pointing to a potential ‘waste’ of resources spent by card issuers.

However, study findings show that the method used to deliver communications may have a positive impact on whether customers choose to read/use the information. For example, customers are most likely to read/use information provided electronically (emails and text messages), and are least likely to read/use information delivered by standard mail.

Issuers should consider revisions to their communication strategies, focusing on digital delivery of messages. This may also require issuers to rethink the content of their messaging and focus on delivering information in a more concise manner.

For Blog Post week of 2_17

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‘Big Banks’ more attractive to Gen Y customers?

Data from J.D. Power’s retail banking study finds that 34% of Big Bank customers are within the Generation Y age segment, which is significantly higher than the percentage of Generation Y customers at Regional/Midsize/Community Banks.

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And while the Generation Y segment is currently less-affluent than other segments, they do present potential bottom-line growth as their income levels increase and they enter the market for mortgages, education plans for children, loans, etc.

The ability of Big Banks to provide functional ‘digital banking technology’ (website, mobile, advanced ATMs) is attractive to tech-savvy younger customers, and smaller institutions need to be competitive in this space in order to ‘steal’ younger customers from Big Banks.

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Your Bank Hasn’t Earned the Right to be on LinkedIn

By Mark Zmarzly, SVP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

A few weeks back I decided it was time to write a blog post on “How Banks Can Best Use LinkedIn.” But then Jeffry Pilcher at TheFinancialBrand.com wrote this great post: 12 Steps Financial Marketers Can Take To Get The Most From Their LinkedIn Page.

Like most things at TheFinancialBrand.com, it was very comprehensive and informative. So there went my post. I guess I’ll just write about Grumpy Cat again.

But then I thought, do banks belong on LinkedIn? I don’t mean that from a simplistic point of view, I meant that from a philosophical stance. Have they earned the right to be involved in social selling? The answer is no…not yet.

As I have more and more conversations with bankers, investment peeps, realtors, and others in consultative sales, I’m convinced that bankers don’t understand the power of LinkedIn. I don’t believe they know what it means to have a holistic brand that is consistent online and offline and that is centered on delivering focused, relevant, buyer-centered content and assistance. That’s what social selling is about. That’s what LinkedIn is about!  

Forgive me if my soapbox is too high, but I’ve been involved with the selling and marketing of banking products for eight years – holy crap? Is that right? I’m not that old!!!! – and it seems as if many, many, many bankers out there like to believe that the Internet was never invented. They seem to think of themselves as keepers and disseminators of information. And by this I mean they tell people about their products and hand out brochures.

They say they “get mobile” but most think of these channels as new methods to disseminate info, not as part of a revolutionary shift in the balance of sales power and processes.

If you want to better understand how much the sales process and environment has changed in the last decade, please read To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. One of Pink’s main points is the value of content curation within the new sales environment.

If you don’t understand curation, you don’t know the true value of LinkedIn.  And if you don’t curate, you’re missing out on an unmet need in today’s financial customer. Quite frankly, most of you are missing this.   

Your bank must embrace the role of curating financial information in the lives of its customers and prospects before you can fully realize the power of LinkedIn. Until then, you will only be able to establish a presence but never a meaningful impact.

I’ll talk more about this in a future post and upcoming webinar. If you have specific questions (or gripes) please connect with me before then.

About Mark Zmarzly:
Mark Zmarzly is SVP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development.
You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at http://ihelpbanks.com/ and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.
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Will You Bank On Us?

Best Banking Blogs of 2012

The Financial Brand, the premier online publication for bank and credit union marketers is conducting the second most important election this week; Best Banking Blog “2012 Readers’ Choice” awards.

Our J.D. Power and Associates Banking Blog, as part of having received the prestigious “Editor’s Choice” award,  is now nominated for the “Reader’s Choice” award  for Best Banking Blog of 2012.   Your vote counts, and we would be grateful for your support!

VOTE HERE

To be recognized alongside our friends and distinguished bank bloggers Jim Marous, Ron Shevlin, Brett King, Bradley Leimer, Matt Wilcox, JJ Hornblass, Liz Lum, Chris Skinner, Serge Milman, Christophe Langois, Jim Bruene, Randy Smith and Jim Van Dyke is an honor in itself.

Congratulations to all of our fellow nominees for your continued dedication and delivery of superb insights to our banking community.

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A Few Post Halloween Banking Tips &Treats

In case you missed a few of our recent online events and complementary research reports, we’re including them for you here.  We promise, just like the day after 1/2 price Halloween candy, it’s not a trick. Just a heartfelt way for us to treat you, our loyal banking fiends and fans for your continued supportEnjoy!

What Do Small Business Owners Expect From Their Bank?

This exclusive webcast provides an inside look into the results of our J.D. Power and Associates 2012 US and Canadian Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study that will be released next week.  Below are only some of the many issues discussed during the webcast:

  • How customers’ perceptions have changed since 2011
  • The latest trends emerging in the small business banking industry
  • Which factors are having the biggest impact on customer satisfaction

Download the full webcast

The Dividends of Improving Best Practices for Social Media Research

In this whitepaper, we’ll show you that without well-established and proven guidelines on query construction and data extraction, very different results and conclusions can be obtained by different analysts attempting the same social media data search.

In extreme cases, analysts can create such highly divergent queries that the associated data leads to different answers to even simple questions, such as:

  • Which brand is my main competitor?
  • Is Product1 more of my brand’s conversation this month centered around product?
  • Is the sentiment expressed toward my brand this month more or less positive than the sentiment expressed toward my brand last month?

Download the full whitepaper

Using Voice of the Customer Information to Improve Business Performance: 5 Keys to Success

This presentation explores how clients use J.D. Power and Associates and other Voice of the Customer data with ROI or other business metrics to analyze under-performance to drive improvement.

Download the full presentation Continue reading ›

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What Real Customers Are Saying About Banks

By Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer

If you asked the average American if they felt positively or negatively about their bank, how do you think they would answer? Now consider the same question while keeping in mind the country is currently clawing its way out of a recession, the mortgage crisis is still affecting millions of Americans and their bottom lines and the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t exactly disappeared?

Would it shock you to know that most Americans would answer that they feel positively about their bank? That’s what my company’s recent research into online conversations about banks revealed. In fact, looking at conversations that feature the top 25 banks according to assets as ranked by the FDIC, only two have less than 60% positive marks. Even major banks, like Citi and PNC, were above 70% positive in online conversations.

Granted, Bank of America, which in many ways instigated the Occupy Wall Street movement with its September 2011 rate hike (quickly rescinded but not before the public conversation could go awry) dominated online conversations in 2011 among the banks and it was one of the two under that 60% positive threshold. But even with BOA’s miserable year in the public eye, its positive to negative ratio was 1:1. Half of the people talking about Bank of America last year were speaking of the company in positive light.

Anecdotal assumptions like, “no one likes their bank,” or “no one likes Bank of America,” can be more easily overturned today thanks to online monitoring and listening platforms. That’s why we spent the last few months researching what consumers were saying about banks and bank products. Among some of the other surprises we found include:

Customers Are Fickle

Several banks we reviewed got high marks for customer service. But, they also got low marks for it. This tells bank marketers that no matter how good you are, someone will always think you’re bad. Having processes and policies to deal with negative feedback is an imperative.

You Don’t Have To Be Big To Make An Impact

After finding the major products and themes consumers of the top 25 banks discussed, we removed any brand bias and searched the web for conversations about the topics. While analyzing conversations about Automated Teller Machines, First Fidelity Bank (Oklahoma) appeared multiple times. Its ATM fee policy thrilled fans enough to elicit online responses. And ones that were found by a national research focus. The insight for marketers here is that thrilling your customers creates buzz and not many of your competitors are doing that.

Advertising Works

The single biggest online conversation impact we found among the larger banks was the amount of positive conversation that focused on the advertising campaigns for Capital One and HSBC. Capital One’s “What’s In Your Wallet” vikings and Jimmy Fallon ads accounted for over 60% of the positive online conversation around the brand. But it’s not just funny TV spots that emerged as effective in driving online buzz. HSBC’s advertising campaign focuses on posters and billboards primarily placed around airports. The “Different Points of View” campaign accounted for 23% of its positive online buzz. Apparently, good ads are worth the investment.

Certainly, looking at online conversations comes with its own limitations and biases. We were not able to ask direct questions of consumers as with traditional market research made of focus groups and surveys. But with our approach comes certain bias elimination, too. Finding online conversations means the consumer isn’t biased to answer one way or another because they know they’re being monitored or interviewed. We mined raw conversations of people speaking freely on their respective social networking site, forum or blog.

This in-the-wild conversational analysis isn’t necessarily better than other forms of consumer insight. But it sure is different and as revealing. It shows us that our assumptions are often wrong, consumers will always surprise you and there are plenty of opportunities to be had for brands in the online space.

Jason Falls is the CEO of Social Media Explorer and author of The Conversation Report: What Consumers Are Saying About Banking, a new market research report from his company. You can find Jason on Twitter @JasonFalls, Facebook or connect with him on his blog, Social Media Explorer.

 

 

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How are Banks and Credit Unions Using YouTube?

In a recent New York Times special report titled  Banks Slow to Embrace Social Media, the author Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop notes that “while many consumer goods companies have embraced social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as new avenues to reach customers, financial institutions, and especially private banks, have been reluctant.”

While the article’s main point may not be too far off from reality, Jeffry Pilcher of The Financial Brand has detailed a dozen examples of noteworthy YouTube videos uploaded by financial institutions in his latest post titled, Best Of Bank Marketing On YouTube.  We were intrigued by the many creative uses of this social media channel, and thought you would be too!  Below are his top pics including overviews and commentary:

Boys choir sings options for automated phone tree

DNB recruited Norway’s most famous choir, the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys Choir, to sing all of the messages for its automated, touch-tone telebank. For the entire Christmas season, every word on DNB’s phone banking system was sung by angelic voices. The concept is brilliant, the execution is beautiful.

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Deutsche Bank guerilla experiment mocks ridiculous fees

This gutsy guerilla stunt from Deutsche Bank aims right at consumers’ pain points: fees and charges specifically in the financial industry that many people feel are absurd. In one experiment, a small boutique bakery introduces a one euro “entry fee” — just for walking in the door. Those who pay are surprised to learn there is also a one euro “exit fee.” Deutsche filmed a second experiment at a supermarket, where patrons were charged for things like using the conveyor belt in the checkout line and printing a receipt. It’s over the top, but it makes the point. Spot 1 (Bakery) | Spot 2 (Supermarket)

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Mom gets massage and makeover from bank

This two-minute video from Sainsbury Bank starts out like a documentary about the life of a busy mother. She’s a hardworking woman, but clearly worn out from her dedication to her three young children. Sainsbury ambushes her with their Makeover Mobile, a spa on wheels. She’s a lovely person, so you feel really good for her at the end when she steps out looking beautiful. Her expressions of appreciation are subtle, but incredibly powerful; it’s very engaging. It’s rare to see banks capture such emotion in their marketing.

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It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 2

By Mark Zmarzly, VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

In the previous post It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 1 , I made a brilliant argument for the end of the Internet.  Actually, I wrote about how Facebook’s timeline changes should give all financial institutions reason to reconsider their social media strategies, but I think you could read between the lines.  The time for reinvention is here, as is the road map below.

If you have the guts (and resources) to reinvent your narrative, here are the things to think about as you redesign and redefine your story:

  • You are not the main character in your story…
  • Your story (updates, cover photos, apps, etc) needs to reflect your customers, not your bank
  • People identify with those like them (more accurately: with people slightly better than themselves), not with their bank

Who are the main characters in the stories below?  Which story would you rather read?

Your voice needs to be authentic

Every time I see a scripted wall post that’s repeated over and over “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please contact us at customerservice@anybank.com so we can look into your issue and work with you to resolve it.” I want to jump right into my laptop screen onto the Information Super Highway and drive down to a town I like to call Shoot Myself. Yes, discussions about personal account level data need to be taken offline but this voice is your narrator and he/she is inauthentic and not engaging. Amber Farley from Financial Marketing Solutions adds, “Not only does the voice of the bank need to be authentic and relevant, but it needs to be reflective of the bank’s overall brand. Banks shouldn’t jump into social media pretending to be something they aren’t.”

Continue reading ›

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It’s Time to Change Your Social Media Story – Part 1

By Mark Zmarzly, VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing

Here’s something most of you don’t know about me: before I entered the financial services industry, I was an English teacher and fiction writer. Why you don’t know this about me can be chalked up to one of these reasons:

  • We have a virtual relationship only. (“What are two good-looking Gravatars like us doing on this banking discussion board? Let’s take this party over to MySpace.”)
  • You rarely call anymore just to talk.
  • This background information isn’t relevant to what I do on a daily basis.

If it’s due to the first two items, I’ll forgive you – though it wouldn’t kill you to pick up the phone once in awhile or at least post on my Facebook wall. If you didn’t know about my storytelling past, then that’s about to change.

It’s about to change because of a game-changing move that Facebook made over the weekend in what appears NOT to be an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. Of course I’m referring to its change to timeline. Or simply put, the new way to “tell your story.”

Facebook’s change to timeline may seem like a simple process change at first glance. You’re no longer allowed to decide where your new prospects will land (welcome page redirection is gone unless you use URL app redirects); you’re limited (or barred depending on how you follow the rules) in your calls to action; and you’re no longer going to have the same fan reach you used to enjoy (unless you pay for it).

I asked Ron Shevlin for his input on the changes: “The restrictions that Facebook is placing on brands — e.g., limits on apps and tabs, throttling, pinning and starring limitations — will only make it harder for brand pages to systematically support user goals for using social media. These goals include finding information about interests, interacting with groups that share my interests, and socializing with friends and family.”

He’s right, and that means this story seems to suck for financial institutions. But, perhaps it’s an unexpected gift? I argue that these changes to Facebook have given you the perfect reason to examine (maybe for the first time), the story your Social Media efforts are telling about your bank. Upon examination, most FIs would benefit from ditching their current social media efforts and starting a new story.

This is because most stories that are being told by financial institutions’ social media channels are boring and fail at engaging storytelling. Facebook’s timeline change has given everyone the opportunity to start from zero. I’d go so far as to advocate you spin your social media efforts off from normal marketing activity, give them their own P&L Statement, and 18 months to turn a significant profit. But in this case I’ll meet you half way and say that you MUST take the following steps to evaluate how your old tactics (or brand and social media strategies if you have them clearly defined) fit into the new storytelling future.

Step 1: Examine your cast of characters.

Engaging characters are the heart of any good story. You know who’s not a good character? The Bank! Other characters that may be better choices for the lead: anyone else. Banks and bankers are not engaging characters, please realize that. But, your customers, the stories they can tell when given the chance, when given (God forbid) a product or service you have that helps them craft their stories, can be engaging. People want to engage with unique characters in the hopes that they will learn new things about themselves. Ask what can your financial institution, its products, and/or its customers teach people about themselves, about savings money, about life? Be bold with your questioning and subsequent character choices! See a great example here (thanks for the reminder on this on Jeffry Pilcher!):

Jeffry Pilcher adds, “this got them a lot of good, global exposure (e.g., name awareness). Hopefully “going viral” was their goal.”

Step 2: Establish a unique voice.

If the updates on your Facebook page, blog, or Twitter stream could appear on any bank’s page, then your voice isn’t unique, engaging, or worth your effort. People listen to stories told in voices that engage them on multiple levels. They want a guide that will pull them into a new world on an emotional level or, at a minimum, will tell them something that they’ve already seen except in a new voice, from a new point of view. Third person omniscient is a bold choice in fiction…but can be wonderful, haunting, and will stay with you for years (The short story Merry-Go-Sorry by Cary Holladay has been with me since 2004). Your choice of voice needs to be bold because not everyone is good at storytelling.

Step 3: Insure that your storytelling is visual.

Facebook’s new changes have given priority to visual elements over text. Long gone are the days when “What’s everyone doing this weekend?” or another “Currency Related Trivia Tuesday Question!” will gain you much notice. AND GOOD FOR FACEBOOK in that regard! I follow about 100 FIs on Facebook and am tired of feeling bad about our industry…bad for the employees who are struggling to find trivia bits to toss out randomly every week to their hundreds of bored fans.

Step 4: You have to tell a crappy story sometimes…before you can get to where you need to go.

As a former participant in entry level fiction, I’ve written a story or two that ended in the tragic suicide of the main character. This story ending is so overused by early fiction writers that many teachers now add, “Stories cannot end in a suicide” to the class syllabus. But those stories – however tragic to read as the teacher – are necessary in your development as a writer. You need to hit bottom, and kill someone, in order to learn. Without naming Facebook page names here, I’ll say that the vast majority of community FIs in America have hit bottom. The good thing is that there’s nowhere to go but up!

Step 5: Sometimes a crappy story is just a crappy story…and it needs to die.

Be prepared to kill your story. As a writer, I’ve walked away from many a story. Whether at page 1 or page 53, sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the entire story and let those characters live in suspended animation indefinitely. Now, you most likely can’t walk entirely away from your current social media efforts, but you can re-invent them based on the new changing landscape.

According to Jeffry Pilcher of TheFinancialBrand.com, “Most FIs have no clue what ‘their story’ is. And even if they thought they knew, it isn’t likely a story that is differentiated, engaging and/or credible.”

If you’re in that boat – which is admittedly a hard fact to face but would be just the revelation you need to evolve – then Facebook has given you a gift. This gift is a revolutionary change in the main staple of social media marketing that justifies a deep reassessment of the bones of your story, its characters, and the voice of your tale.

Look for Mark Zmarzly’s follow up post about the process you need to go through to reinvent your story.

About Mark Zmarzly:

Mark Zmarzly is VP of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing, and an accomplished marketing, business development, banking, and creative professional with demonstrated success solving customer acquisition, marketing, and profitability problems. He has worked with financial institutions from 1 branch up to 1,700+ branches in the areas of marketing, copywriting, account management, consulting, teaching, social media, and business development. You can find his insights on issues facing the financial industry at http://ihelpbanks.com/ and on Twitter @BankMarketing. You can also connect with him On LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/markzmarzly.
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