Why You Need a Holistic Approach to Customer Communication

What’s your biggest asset? It’s not your building, your employees, or numbers on a spreadsheet.

It’s the relationships you have with your customers.

I’ve seen too many banks putting those relationships at risk. How? By sending only offer-driven communications to customers. Their reasoning: They want their marketing efforts to always generate immediate results and drive revenue.

But let’s face it. This only puts a band-aid on the problem. It does little or nothing to mitigate the underlying problem — lack of customer relationships.

It’s time to think holistically, and to start building stronger ties with customers.

According to Gallup, more than 50 percent of the customers considering buying a new product seek out information prior to the time of purchase.

The banks that educate and inform customers about their institution and products see higher returns on investment. If your bank doesn’t provide it, they’ll consider other options. And consumers have more than ever before. As a result, they diligently research and consider their choices before making buying decisions.

However, customers are interested in more than just rates. Most customers want to feel they’ve made the right banking decision. They want a relationship with their financial service provider.

If their bank treats them well, through appreciation and recognition for their business, customers will remember. And they’ll be significantly more motivated to stay, and buy.

To gain loyal customers, you have to earn their trust and give them a reason to stay. Consistent communication, both in the message and in the frequency of the message, is one key to earning trust.

A well-planned communication strategy is an opportunity to give your customers an ongoing education in what your bank has to offer.

Every successful strategy requires frequent contact, a consistent message, education and trust. Recent research by J.D. Power & Associates shows that customer satisfaction and cross-sell success improve with the number of customer contacts (the optimal number of communications being 5 to 6).

Building stronger customer relationships by frequently communicating and educating your customers may sound simple, but it’s a strategy that most banks fail to effectively implement.

Why? It requires marketers to send frequent messages that educate and offer customers clear-cut value propositions. Not all communications must be offer driven. There lies the problem and frustration for most bank marketers.

Many CFOs, CEOs and their management counterparts view a relationship-selling strategy as an unnecessary expense. Marketers are typically instructed to send offer-driven communication pieces to generate immediate measurable revenue.

But these banks are missing the bigger picture. They fail to take time to engage their customers in a relationship and get feedback about what the customer thinks, needs and wants before sending them product solicitations.

Yes, a relationship-selling strategy requires more marketing dollars, but it’s truly one of the most effective ways to give customers a real reason to put their trust and money with your bank.

Remember, it’s not how much money you spend that counts. It’s how much money you can make, in the way of increased retention, cross-sell ratios and profit.

With customers having so many options and competitors aggressively trying to lure away your customers, you can’t afford (literally) to miss the opportunity to build trust-based relationships. Focus on developing a relationship-selling strategy based on frequent and consistent communication.