This Week in Engagement Banking, American Banker discusses how to make love to your customers, or ehem, rather, how to make your customers love you. Meanwhile, in Australia, the St. George Bank is successfully keeping its customers out of its bank branches with interesting mobile initiatives. Also this week: “They should know more about me than my wife by now,” that’s NetBanker’s Jim Bruene in an article on the site where he mentions his long-standing Bank of America relationship and missed online marketing opportunities.
How to Make Customers Love Your Bank
In today’s environment, banks and other financial services firms are challenged with finding creative ways to cut costs and build revenue while still maintaining customer loyalty. The end-user experience is quickly becoming a market differentiator. Charles Schwab encourages potential investors to “Talk to Chuck” for a more personal experience, while Discover differentiates their offering by poking fun at the stereotypical customer service representative via the notoriously unhelpful “Peggy.” More. . .
St George builds on its mobile banking capabilities: The bank has made further inroads in its strategy to allow customers to do everything they need without ever having to step into a branch.
Customer feedback has pushed St George to extend the number of savings and transactions accounts customers can open online via its mobile banking app. Once customers have signed up for an account via the app, they can begin to use the account immediately. The move is part of St George’s strategy to allow customers with the bank, as well as BankSA and Bank of Melbourne, to do everything online which they would normally do in a branch, with the bank investing more than $10 million in its mobile banking platform. “With more than 40 per cent of our online customer activity carried out via mobile, we have a continuous and agile approach to developing the channel to ensure we are meeting customer needs and taking advantage of trends and opportunities,” Travis Tyler, head of e-channels at St George, told Computerworld Australia. However, the rapid introduction of new mobile devices in the market is proving to be challenging for the bank, according to Tyler, and developing apps across multiple smartphones, such as iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys and Windows. More. . .
Bank of America Pitches Mortgage Refi Upon Logout
It’s been a while since I wrote about a logoff marketing offer (note 1). They all start to look the same after a while. But after signing out of my Bank of America credit card account today, I noticed its eye-catching graphic promoting mortgage refi (first screenshot below). But as usual, I was underwhelmed with what followed after the first click. I was taken to a generic lead-capture screen so I could get a call back (second screenshot). There was no chat or online options. The form didn’t even pre-fill my state or that I was interested in a refi. And it was a dead end. No links, product info, rates, or incentives. I could submit the form to receive a call-back or dial myself right now. (Granted, the bank may have determined from testing that this approach yields the most ROI, but it sure doesn’t work for me.) It all seems so 1990s. I’ve had a BofA credit card for 20 years, business and personal. They know more about me than my wife does. It’s surprising it doesn’t use at least a sliver of this data to personalize the pitch and/or streamline my request for more info. More. . .
Bank Systems & Technology
Remembering When People Didn’t Hate Banks
The banking industry is not very popular these days — fortunately, Congress is around to keep bankers from being the most disliked group of people in the country. Over the past few years bankers have been blamed — sometimes justifiably — for everything from the recession and weak recovery to the housing slump to political and social conflicts. The industry has been on the defensive over lending and merger strategies, compensation, staffing decisions and security policies. The financial services industry continues to try to rebuild trust and credibility, not only by investing in technologies that can improve the customer experience and empower clients, but also through philanthropy and support of local communities. However, as worthwhile and productive as these kinds of efforts can be, it can’t be denied that as an industry we have a seriously tarnished image. Even if some of the criticism is overstated or unjustified, as we all know, perception becomes reality. It will take a long time to for the public — including consumers, politicians, regulators and the media – to overcome its collective unhappiness with bankers, their policies, and their institutions performance. More. . .
Americans ‘unbanked’ by choice?
That millions of Americans are without a bank account — “unbanked,” in the parlance of policymakers — has historically been treated as a kind of social problem. Traditionally seen as a consequence of poverty or serious financial distress, not having a checking account locks consumers out of the financial system, forces them to pay high fees for services like check cashing and exposes them to risks such as losing a large amount of cash to theft. Going ‘unbanked’ is easier these days, thanks to debit cards. But the advent of prepaid debit cards and the near universality of direct deposit as a preferred way for businesses to pay employees have made it easier to live life without a checking account or credit card. Nowadays, a general purpose reloadable prepaid debit card that’s carrying your paycheck via direct deposit doesn’t feel that much different from a modern checking account. Gary Fields and Maya Jackson-Randall of the Wall Street Journal have an article out this week on how many consumers are looking outside the traditional banking system for everything from debit cards to small-dollar loans: More. . .