Develop a Dialogue with Your New Customers

You’ve done it. The prospect has opened an account with your bank. Now all you have to do is to keep them happy and move on to the next new customer, right?

Attracting new customers is only the first step. Keeping them is a challenge. By getting to know your new customers and communicating with them in meaningful, value-added ways, you minimize the chances of defection and increase the likelihood of developing a lifelong relationship with your customers.

It sounds so simple. But if it were so easy, why do so many banks have high attrition rates among new customers?

Many banks tend to use the “one-size-fits-all” approach to onboarding. To ensure all new customers are welcomed and cross-sold, they standardize their communications and send them based on some predetermined timeline. By doing this, banks risk alienating new customers by sending generic offers that aren’t timely or relevant.

Banks with successful onboarding programs start with a series of value-focused touch points designed to encourage customer feedback. That information provides a way to implement a cross-selling strategy focused on identifying and meeting the new customers’ needs.

These initial communications are a series of proactive contacts with customers to ensure:

  • The products they purchased match their needs;
  • The rates and fees on the accounts are transparent and understood;
  • The fulfillment process is smooth, accurate and timely; and
  • Any problems associated with the account opening process are addressed immediately.

Eliciting feedback

Successful programs feature service-oriented communications sent early in the relationship—with a smooth transition into cross-selling additional products and services after the relationship has been nurtured.

Initial contacts are customer, not product focused. Messages are based on eliciting feedback by communicating with customers and encouraging them to share their needs with the bank.

With this feedback, the bank can then send offers with a clear-cut value proposition, giving the customer a good reason for them to put their trust and money with their new bank.

This strategy involves frequent contact, a consistent message and personalization—thus becoming not only a cross-selling strategy, but also a relationship-selling strategy.

Relationship-selling is a fundamentally different way of thinking about onboarding customers. It’s based on a philosophy that business should be practiced as a trusted friendship, rather than a process of simply selling products and services.

Relationship-selling focuses on developing a dialogue with customers so the bank can identify, better understand and meet customers’ personal banking needs. This ongoing, two-way communication provides the bank an opportunity to consistently send timely, relevant offers to their new customers based on their life cycle and needs.

Only by consistently communicating and learning what new customers want and need, can banks provide relevant offers to new customers. The more insight a bank has, the less likely they will alienate new customers by inundating them with irrelevant offers.

This value-focused approach to onboarding facilitates a true-needs based relationship. It makes new customers feel appreciated because they receive timely offers based on the needs they’ve shared with the bank.

If banks would focus more on building stronger relationships by identifying and meeting the needs of their new customers they would reap the benefits—in lower attrition rates, higher cross-sell ratios and increased lifetime value of their customers.