How many new checking accounts did you lose today?
If you’re not talking about your switching process – and most banks aren’t – you’re overlooking a powerful tool that can boost acquisition. Perception is everything … and most customers perceive the switching process as hard. And who can blame them? The majority of banks don’t even talk about it. They talk about products and offers, but there’s no emphasis on switching … which is exactly where potential customers stall.
I recently reviewed a major bank’s website and found absolutely nothing about the switching process on the home page or the new account page. There was no acknowledgment of the difficulty of switching, no tips on how to make it easier, no indication that they even understood the reasons why customers stay with their current bank even when they are dissatisfied. So I called the bank’s customer service center … I was put on hold twice, and afterwards I was nicely told that there was nothing online that could help me.
This is a serious oversight. And it’s widespread. Virtually no bank mentions the switching process in acquisition mailings or in other outreach communications. There’s minimal empathy for the customer’s situation, and the difficulty of switching is real. There are payments to change … debit cards to replace … direct deposit forms … insurers to notify … it’s not a snap-your-fingers-and-be-done process. Yet, overcoming customer inertia is a problem nearly every bank struggles with. And the switching issue is at the heart of this struggle.
How can you fix it? Five things that you should do:
- Assess – Take a hard look at your switching experience, and put the right foundation and tools in place to make it easier for customers.
- Acknowledge – Be aware of customers’ roadblocks and develop empathy to help them overcome these roadblocks. The pain of changing automatic payments, automatic billing and debit cards is a reality.
- Announce – Demonstrate empathy with the switching process in all communications, on your website and in the branch. Tell potential customers what you’ve done to address their challenges.
- Deliver – Deliver the promised switching experience across all channels: in branch, online, in call centers, etc.
- Improve – Monitor your customers’ switching experiences regularly and continue to improve upon them.
Consider developing a switch kit, using a customer switch concierge, or adopting an automated third-party platform. And develop outreach communications that address customers’ challenges head on. Your customers will thank you for it, and your acquisition rates will soar.
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.