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A good thing your bank can do – for almost no money.

There’s a great opportunity to help hundreds of people in your market.  Some of them are likely your customers. What’s that?  Head off a mortgage loan scam in your market.

People who prey on the  uninformed are vile. There’s a simple, cheap way your bank can help: allocate prominent space on your website home page to (1) warn about mortgage loan scams, (2) link to a page where you clearly outline the dangers, (3) make available an email address and phone number to give more information, and finally, (4) link to government sites like the FDIC, FTC and similar pages where more help can be found. What an OUTSTANDING way to help customers, help yourself, and not spend very much money.

Once you’ve got your web page together, perhaps you could tweet your customers (and the media) every time you update the information. Make sure you let customers know about your page with statement notices and across the teller line hand outs – things you’re already doing, right?

Remember, it doesn’t always take a ‘grand gesture’ to do your customers some good. Often times, little things count just as much.

Here are some links to get you (or your compliance people) thinking:

Featured Articles from the FTC:

FDIC Tips on Avoiding Mortgage Foreclosure Scams:

Walmart's "Project Impact" – a thump on the head?

Maybe you didn’t see our tweet about Walmart’s “Project Impact”.  You may have missed something important. (Not that following our Twitter feed is worth your daily attention… yet.)

The important part is that the company who has kicked off their own “Project Impact” is the same company who operates a massive retail a store in just about every market in the country, who even now has an increasing “share of wallet” and who may just be your customers’ next bank.  Walmart thinks they know how to take ANY customer away from ANY company.  And you know, they’re on to something.

The Walmart strategy posits that winning the customer experience battle gains ground important in the war of corporate survival. As an idea, this isn’t new.  Big companies typically launch these “experience” campaigns that die from committee decisions and Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD).

But this time Walmart’s mission feels different.  This is a company that has proven it knows how to win.

My recommendation: while reviewing and scoping your company’s opportunities  think about just one segment that when executed properly will make other opportunities easier to realize.

The customer experience matters more  today than it did thanks to the internet.  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the other ‘people-power machines’ can make or break your opportunities — worse, your brand — faster than you can say “UNPLUG!

The companies who take the customer experience seriously, and continue to innovate in delivering “surprise and delight” will win.  The companies who sit and stare at their computer screen all day will go the way of dinosaurs and Circuit City.

Stop working out the old stodgy marketing plan and get ready for the new economy.  Walmart gets it, and perhaps as important, they have the money to so muddle the market that it won’t matter if they screw it up in transition.

What are you doing to defend yourself against Walmart’s Project Impact? It’s a big deal.  I think you need to call me.  Today.  Or RT the tweet to get my attention.

A company empowered within its own local markets can win any customer experience battle. All that is needed is a passion to thrive and a good relationship with a marketing partner who gets it.  If I may suggest one that’s been in the same family and with the same ownership since 1972?  You get where this is going…

One more thing to hate about big banks

Recently, a Bank of America branch manager insisted that a man, Steve Valdez, born without arms and who wears prosthetic devices, provide a thumbprint before it would cash his proffered check.  He had two forms of identification, both with pictures; the check he wanted to cash was written by his wife.

Nevertheless, the bank still required Valdez to give up a thumbprint.

Why does this happen?  Three reasons, and every bank CEO, SVP and Board Member should think seriously about about how their bank stacks up:

Reason number one: the bank cut the training budget because they needed to generate as much profit as possible — likely to satisfy Wall Street.

Reason number two: the bank was preoccupied with other “more important stuff” so they simply were not paying attention to customer service.

Reason number three: most banks are “rule” oriented, not “people oriented”.  They train their staff that it is better to follow a rule to hell than stop, engage brain and think.

Now, you say, “No, no, this was just a happenstance.  Any bank can have a bad day.”

OK, you say that if it makes you feel better.  But, I don’t believe it.  I spend a big part of my life in and out of big banks, surveying and researching customer service.  Big banks don’t really believe in customer service.  Why? Because they don’t have to.  If they lose a customer, no big deal.  They’ve got plenty more.

What can your bank do to stay out of the paper with kind of disastrous publicity?

SWOT your bank’s customer service. Here’s how you do that: (1) Institute the changes your SWOT uncovers; (2) Set up mystery shops and customer surveys; (3) Incent your staff in a meaningful way for positive customer experience; take the incentives back for negative experiences.

This is simple ‘blocking and tackling”.  But, you’re probably busy, so call us.  We can help you get it going.



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