If you think about banking and how we use the services, the choice of a financial institution becomes woven into the fabric of our lives. Once we open our first accounts at a bank or credit union, we generally stay put because our checking account, auto loan, or mortgage, are part of managing our lives.
Have you ever heard a staff member say to a member, “Oh, I never have used it but heard that people like it?” Once a customer/member, especially one that is inquiring about a “first” product hears that the brand’s own person doesn’t use the services or is not capable of an educated conversation, the brand has just been devalued in his/her mind. Any dings in the brand armor make it harder to deepen the relationship.
While every staff member will not always be at the age to qualify to open all of your products/services, there are ways to ensure training for staff members enabling them to talk to the customer/member about each product or service in more depth. When using “first” products or services, customers/members will be the most vulnerable which is why the front line staff needs to be the most knowledgeable.
Consider these three key things:
» Develop “first” messages and target them to likely age ranges. An example is a first savings account, a first checking account, a first auto loan, a first mortgage, a first certificate, and a first retirement planning session with an advisor.
» Never allow a front-line staff member to talk to customers/members without having used and experienced your products/services because they will not be confident enough nor have the ability to have an educated conversation with someone about them. Also, have a “go to” person identified for every product or service that is more intricate or requires more knowledge than the front-line person can possibly speak to with a customer/member.
» Focus front-line staff on educating customers/members on those things that will bind relationships more tightly such as online banking, online bill pay, automatic deposits/payments, direct deposit, and e-statements.