What Bank and Credit Union Marketers Can Learn From Auto Dealerships

Banks and credit unions need to improve retention and reduce attrition. Here's some tips to foster more loyal relationships.

The majority of marketing for car dealerships focuses on conquest — they want to bring customers in and make the sale. However, the underlying issue is retention. Dealerships spend hundreds-of-dollars to sell one car to a customer; that’s seven times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. In banking, the numbers are comparable.

In any business, retention is the key to success. Banks and credit unions, like car dealerships, need their customers to remain loyal. Dealerships use the service department to keep the customer coming back, but what can financial marketers do?

In a digital world where people go online to view their accounts, deposit checks remotely and pay bills from their phone, the direct line of communication brought by speaking to someone at the branch is frayed, or cut entirely.

Fortunately, there are mountains — or more accurately, clouds — of data available to help you speak to consumers. Engagement at the right time will ensure that you’re meeting your people’s needs and providing a high level of service worthy of loyalty, recommendations and referrals.

Uncover Underlying Issues With Surveys

Roughly half of consumers switch brands after a bad experience. That’s a concern, and you definitely want to intercept issues early, before they blow-up into the type of problem that pushes someone out the door. How do you know how people feel? Simple: just ask them.

A simple survey sent digitally can garner an immediate response that clues you in. Imagine a customer opens a CD with a bank. This data triggers an email congratulating them and provides a survey asking if they were satisfied with the process. They choose “not very satisfied.” Now you have the information to reach out and right the wrong, or at least see where improvements can be made.

Other surveys can include lifestyle questions that can hint around upcoming major decisions and tease out potentially large purchases or other similar significant changes/triggers affecting one’s finances.

Sending the Right Communications

People still use email and check their text messages. What they don’t want to see is spam, advertisements or blatant marketing ploys. But they do want to see messaging relevant and personalized to their needs.

By just personalizing the subject line, open rates increase by 22.5%. Tailor the message to the individual and click thru rates increase exponentially. And yet an astonishing 70% of brands don’t personalize their digital communications.

Auto dealerships using digital engagement methods such as personalization are using data to deliver the right content at the right time. They effectively sell their services and keep the customers informed so that when it’s time to purchase a new vehicle, that customer chooses them.

Whether it’s a home loan, auto loan, investment service or just a second checking account, proactively engaging with your customers — like dealerships are doing — helps build a relationship and ensures your customers feel connected to you when deciding on their next financial move.

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Capitalize on Cross-Sell Opportunities

The more products a customer has with your bank or credit union, the more likely they are to remain loyal. Fully-engaged customers can bring in over $400 in additional revenues annually.

By cross-selling via digital engagement, you can increase the number of products your customers have. A customer with three products will, on average, stay with their financial institution for nearly seven years versus those with one product who stick around for 18 months.

Car dealerships try to retain customers with after-sales service. Banks and credit unions can do the same thing. Once someone opens an account, using cross-sell opportunities can turn them into a lifelong customer.

Paula Tompkins is CEO and Founder of ChannelNet. To contact Paula, please send her an email.

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