At first, you competed with the bank across the street. Then, other types of financial institutions like credit unions entered the market. Now, your competitors are not just other brick and mortar financial institutions. Companies without physical locations, such as Internet banks and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, have entered the arena. Consumers can open deposit accounts and apply for loans online where those accounts are then managed and supported. Loyalty is no longer a word in your customer’s vocabulary.
So what are you to do? How do you compete with the convenience of banking anywhere and everywhere? Here are three important tips to keep in mind…
Provide options while making your customers feel highly valued
Face it. Your customers are going to want the same products and services available from your online competitors. Mobile banking is the norm for young people. With the ability to deposit a check without going to a bank or even the ATM, mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular among customers of all ages. So, your bank needs to compete in the online space. However, you need to also focus on customer service. Making everyone feel like they are your most valued customer will give you the advantage over the cold and faceless apps and websites against which you are competing.
Make time to embrace social media
Social media is an excellent tool to grow engagement, generate dialogue, and build strong relationships with customers. Millennials will read your social media posts, but they won’t take your marketing calls. Social media is more about sharing and less about marketing, which makes it perfect for engaging prospects and customers who are turned off by the traditional sales approach.
According to a ‘We Are Social’ report, “social media continues to grow … active user accounts now equate to roughly 29% of the world’s population.” How can you ignore that kind of penetration? Most likely your marketing staff has seasoned social media experts who can help you develop social media marketing campaigns to meet your growth goals.
Learn who your competitors are
Take the time to learn who you are competitors are. Identify the largest banks and credit unions in your market. What products are they offering? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Visit their branches and do some scouting. How do they treat customers when they walk through the doors? How do they advertise their core set of products?
Then go online and visit their websites and the sites of your Internet banking competitors. Check out what their basic messages are for selling their credit products. What products do they highlight? Are they trying to attract young customers who prefer mobile banking? How easy is it to navigate the site, order products, and get advice? Share your findings with your marketing partners who can work with your technology department to improve your bank’s online presence and experience.
Making your customers feel valued, while meeting them where they are through social media and the products and online experience they prefer, will start you down the path of countering your competitors’ inroads to your customers.