Thought Leadership

Digital Relationship Building Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

October 2, 2018
Digital Relationship Building Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
By Bryan Adler

What does building a relationship with a bank customer or credit union member really mean? It can mean reducing your new customer/member acquisition from $700 on average to less than $1.

On a recent webcast with BankersHub on Activation at the Point of Excitement, I asserted that you’re not building a better relationship with everyone by making them come in and speak with your branch staff. The millennials and the next generation do not define a strong relationship as a face-to-face, handshake-type relationship. Millennials and the next generation actually define it as:

  1. you know what I want,
  2. you get it to me as quickly as possible and
  3. you give me the flexibility to access that whenever I want.

That’s not to say human interaction isn’t important to both the financial institution and the prospect or customer. It should be an option, particularly on more complex products like investments, but it should never be required.

Amazon has perfectly meshed its online marketplace, personalization and conversion. If the company offers 50% off your favorite t-shirt, you can click a button to buy it and have it on your doorstep the next day. But with banks and credit unions, we typically make customers drive to the store, walk in, fill out paperwork, wait for a manager to process the ‘order’ and then drive home. The product just got a whole lot less exciting! People’s attention spans are about eight seconds and only growing shorter. Make the process fast, seamless and painless.

If you’d like to view my BankersHub webcast, click here!

How does this new-fangled, digital relationship building start? The fundamentals are the same. Find out as much as you can about your prospects and customers or members through the data you have. It’s no different than a face-to-face conversation and probing for a prospect’s needs – except it’s many times easier and more efficient with the right data.

The buyers’ journey remains the starting point, beginning with awareness, then on to consideration, and finally purchase. View this progressive funnel from two different perspectives: No. 1, to acquire a new customer or member, and then No. 2, is to actually cross sell additional products or solutions to existing customers or members based on information you have.

Through digital means though, the awareness and consideration phases start to blend. If it’s a new customer, you start with the data. You already know about them. Say for example, you want to target a CD offer in your service area, so you type “banks in [name of your town or county],” and if no ads popup, you can purchase those Google Adwords for a steal; the mega banks are already running up the bidding on ‘bank’ and other simple words, so don’t bother.

Take your targeting a step further. You want to reach all customers/members in your service area who have children younger than the age of 5 in the household for a student savings account. Various third parties have this data, and you use that data to target your offer only to those households. Provide them a simple two to three step process to sign up for and fund the account – Activate at the Point of Excitement. Use digital cross selling methods to add even more value for your financial institution and the new customer/member. Suddenly, your ROI is skyrocketing. Read the data about your service area and figure out what’s important to the community, then target it.

It’s always important to provide an attracting checking or savings offer, but your bank should also play to your strengths. Know what you’re good at, and target prospects who actually care about what you offer.

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