New Approach to Engaging Customers/Members

Last month, a blog post in Bank Think really hit me regarding the approach to banking today. In his post, author Dave Martin of SunTrust Bank, commented about how important it is to have people know the name of your staff.  It is so true that the more consumers are using technology to handle their banking needs, the fewer occasions they have to develop relationships with the financial institution.  In the “old days” before online banking, mandatory direct deposit, and Paypal, people actually had to visit their bank or credit union on a regular basis to deposit checks, get cash, check on their account. In cross selling training, I would always use the concept that a member of a credit union would walk in and wave at “Susie,” knowing their favorite teller, branch manager, or member service rep by name.

That’s not the case anymore.

Can you name one person that you interact with at your bank or credit union?  What Martin describes is that financial services are commoditized and difficult to differentiate one institution from another.

So, how do you get customers/members to know the name of the branch manager, teller or other front-line staff member? Here are a few ways:

  • Send a welcome letter to a new customer/member from the branch manager within the first week of opening an account and include a photo of him/her on the letter
  • Put photos and first names of the staff on your website on the Locations page to gain more awareness of the people who serve at their favorite branch
  • For the key front line staff that have the most face time with customers/members, put their photo on the business card and encourage they be used with every customer/member

While these are not new things to do, given that today’s economy has led to shrinking staff and changing front-line or branch managers, all three items have gone by the wayside. Yet, to develop relationships, humans like to put a face with a name!

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