This is part II of a two part post. Click here to access part I.
In part I I mentioned how important maintaining outstanding customer service is in order to maintain and attract business, including those coveted core deposits these days!
So how can you use this information in a beneficial way?
- Look at the way you are using technology you already own. Are you getting the most bang for your buck while maintaining outstanding customer service?
- How are you managing incoming phone calls? Many community banks insist on having a live person answer every incoming call. This is 2009; even people that live in small communities are accustomed to automated call handling systems. As long as you avoid complex multi-level menu selections and help is always available during business hours by pressing zero, consider using an automated attendant combined with direct inward dial numbers as a customer friendly and efficient way to manage incoming phone calls. Be sure to keep the automated message short, include the ability to access the company directory, and remind caller thay can reach the attendant by pressing zero at any time.
- Promote online banking and telephone banking as an option that is always available when ending live customer service calls. Say something like "remember, our telephone and internet banking systems are available 24 hours a day if you need information when we are not open." Take a positive approach. Encourage clients to use the automated systems because they are more convenient rather than discouraging them from speaking to a live agent. Be careful to use language that makes the automated systems sound appealing, as opposed to language that sounds like they are bothering you by asking for personal assistance.
- Use technology wisely! Many technology companies promote their products as a way to eliminate skilled administrative staff. Huge mistake! Technology should make the a smaller number of administrative people more efficient. Gone are the days of the typing pool! Sadly, I have worked with a number of clients that think administrative assistance is a thing of the past. Read what I am about to say very carefully... senior managers make expensive secretaries and customer service representatives and they are usually not every good at either role! It takes very few closed business development opportunities to cost justify using skilled administrative and customer service people to keep senior managers and/or business development staff in from of clients and prospects. The moral of the story? Avoid making secretaries out of people that should be doing business development!
- How are you using your marketing dollars?
- Look at the way you are using traditional advertising dollars. Newspaper. Radio. TV. Are you getting a good return on your investment?
- I am currently enrolled in a certification program to become a Guerrilla Marketing Certified Coach, a program based on the Jay Conrad Levinson book Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your SmallBusiness. One of the nmost exciting things I am learning is the hundreds of tools that can be used to market that cost little or nothing.
- Avoid the very costly idea "we are a bank, er are different than other service businesses." Yes, you are more regulated than most service businesses, however, there are still many no-cost to low-cost, highly effective marketing ideas that get overlooked by banks because they never have done it that way.
I teach a program called Book Yourself Solid based on the work of Michael Port. I highly recommend getting a copy of the book (Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling). When I first read the book it immediately became evident how effective these techniques would be in community banks.
I began working with a community bank in the Midwest in January implementing Book Yourself Solid techniques, with a goal of increasing their core deposits. The bank ended the first quarter exceeding their expectations related to core deposit growth, and has reason to believe that growth will continue.
Visit the Book Yourself Solid Course website if you would like information on the group coaching and training related to that work.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Use the comments link or boxes at the bottom of this post to participate in the discussion.
Jeff Simpkins, Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach
Community Bank Consulting, Inc.
We help community banks:
• Reach prospects, customers and clients using low-cost and no-cost marketing tools
• Deliver world class customer service by choosing and using the right technology