Thought Leadership

What Financial Institutions Can Learn From Southwest

September 17, 2018
What Financial Institutions Can Learn From Southwest
By Bryan Adler

As a start-up business leader, I travel a lot. I’m on the road speaking, meeting with clients and highlighting Vetter’s value proposition to investors. Seeing different places and meeting new people is always exciting, but you know what can dampen my enthusiasm? Three plus hours of hurtling through the sky in a metal flying tube, breathing stale are while crammed in with at least one person snoring in my ear.

Southwest understands this and works to make the flights more pleasant. If you haven’t flown Southwest, you’ve probably seen someone’s cell phone video on YouTube of Southwest attendants spicing up the security announcements with a rap or some jokes like this one. They get done what they need to get done, but also entertain themselves and the passengers in their security compliance process.

Banks have copious security regulations to follow as well; the most talked about one of late is cybersecurity. In a recent study, 80% of Americans felt stress over the reports of major breaches. A study by McAfee found 61% of consumers are more worried about cybersecurity today than five years ago. Bankers have no doubt felt the stress over those breaches, too, because they’re the ones who have to replace all the credit cards and deal with the irate customer.

Security is a must, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Use it as an opportunity to engage your customers. Get them excited about using your products and services. When they sign in to online and mobile banking, allow them to select personalized avatars that are meaningful to them—whether it’s an image of their grandchildren or a caricature of themselves—and it helps them ensure they’re logged in properly and no one has messed around with it.

Security questions don’t have to be boring. Perhaps ask about the first music concert they attended or how often they go to the movies. It will remind them of a fun time they had with family or friends; maybe even tie it to contests for concert or movie tickets. Once a customer has entered their password and they’re waiting for their banking information to load, provide a financial or security tip of the day or some obscure fact about money that educates and entertains.

You can also use your time together to cross sell. According to McAfee, only 37% of consumers have obtained an identity theft protection solution. While another 28% said they have no plans to sign up for such a service, it still leaves a good bit of room to cross sell identity theft protection that will benefit both the customer and the bank.

By doing things outside the norm and injecting a little fun into the mundane, banks can use the necessary security measures to help build a more personal relationship with their customers. Grab their attention with something a bit quirky. They could be talking about your security protocols the same way people talk about Southwest’s entertaining security announcements.

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