Best Practices in Bank Account Switching

Jim Dellavilla  |  Chief Client Officer

May 1, 2017
 

Even when it comes to relatively important matters, the human tendency toward inertia is tough to overcome — just look at the success rate for most New Year’s resolutions. When it comes to smaller matters — such as whether or not to switch your bank account — breaking free from stasis is even more difficult. Potential customers must be convinced that the change will be painless enough to justify the move, and that’s often not the case. A conventional bank switch requires customers to completely redo all automated payments and debits, apply for new cards, notify insurers and complete other time-consuming tasks.

Given these pain points and our natural tendency toward inertia, it’s no small wonder that so many bank customers decline to switch, even when doing so would be to their material benefit. This raises a key question: What can banks do to overcome these deeply entrenched challenges?

The answer is straightforward: Make the whole process simpler.

To help you gauge the efficacy of your own switching protocol, let’s review five core questions banks should ask in the context of customer switching.

How do you assess where you are today/what’s your switching plan?

The first step toward determining whether your switching plan is optimal is performing a rigorous examination of the current state of your process. Is it customer-friendly? Does it encourage potential customers to overcome their natural hesitation? Is the process designed to build momentum toward resolution? Is it delivered consistently across all channels?

What do you tell customers?

Every bank wants more customers. Yet the majority make no real, client-centered effort to address the perceived difficulties attached to the switching process. Some banks make no mention of switching at all.

This is an enormous missed opportunity. By raising the issue of switching, showing potential customers they understand the pain points involved, and outlining steps to minimize any difficulties, banks are in the best possible position to attract new business.

What is your concise plan for helping customers switch?

It’s not enough to have a smart, user-friendly switching plan for potential customers. You must also have the ability to convey the benefits of this plan in a compelling fashion.

The perception among customers is that bank switching is difficult and, possibly, not worth the effort. Banks need to develop a concise pitch that explains why this isn’t the case and why switching doesn’t have to be an arduous process.

How does your switching process work?

Take a minute to consider the mechanics of your switching process. Are you automating everything you can for the customer? Do you have a switch concierge? Or are you relying on a manual switch kit and hoping for the best?

Automation and a switch concierge make the process faster, less painful and more engaging. On the other hand, taking a more passive approach and relying on manual forms is much less likely to deliver results.

How do you document your switching process?

Once you have a switching process in place that’s optimized for customer acquisition, it’s time to document it. Make sure that all call centers, branches, websites, etc., have the necessary information.

The takeaway

Creating and implementing a switching protocol that emphasizes ease of use for potential customers offers a serious competitive advantage in the realm of new business acquisition. Automated switch kits, switch concierges and enhanced customer training are all smart tactics that improve the overall customer experience and make the acquisition process as seamless as possible.


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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