Improving Your Retail Bank Switching Experience: How to Get Started

Jim Dellavilla  |  Chief Client Officer

June 12, 2017

I recently led a conference session at the Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas, May 17-19, that focused on switching as an acquisition strategy. I spoke about the challenges consumers faced when considering switching their checking accounts.

The feedback from banks and credit unions who attended my session was clear and consistent: “We don’t do a very good job with our switching process. We put too much of the burden on our customers.”

This feedback was consistent with what I’ve heard from our retail bank clients for months. What was a bit surprising was the number of people who said, “I am not even sure how to get started on improving our switching process.”

When I step back and think about it, maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising. At most banks and credit unions, no one really “owns” switching. Since it cuts across many departments – branch sales, marketing, operations, customer service, etc., we end up with a situation where it is everybody’s job and nobody’s job. How, then, do you get past the internal silos?

The key is knowing how to get started

To fully understand the opportunity, you must honestly assess your current switching process – through the eyes of your customer. This should be done by developing a customer journey map for your organization. We’ve identified six stages of the switching journey:

  1. Considering a switch
  2. Picking a new bank
  3. Making the decision
  4. Opening the new account
  5. Switching to the new account
  6. Closing the old account

After you have mapped these six stages, a few things will become crystal clear:

  • You will have a customer-driven view of your switching process
  • You will know exactly where your top opportunities for improvement are
  • You will have a clear roadmap of the steps needed to create an improved switching experience – resulting in increased customer acquisition numbers

Action item

Stop talking about it and start mapping it. Those banks and credit unions that win the switching game will be the ones that win the acquisition growth race.

If you’d like help getting started with a journey map for your bank, get in touch. Email me at or call 585.453.8305.


Jim Dellavilla |  Chief Client Officer
As CCO, Jim directs strategy for all of Catalyst’s accounts. This Siena College grad has spent time on both sides of the fence – on the client side at Chase Manhattan Bank and on the agency side as a manager/director of all client relationship teams at Sigma Marketing.

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