Originally posted on forwardbanker.com.
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There was a time when your local bank or credit union was the center of the financial world for many people. They went there regularly; the staff there knew their customers’ names and often a lot about their families, jobs, and other personal information.
Times have changed and most banks and credit unions have struggled making the adjustment. As a result, these relationships are gone, and for many financial institutions, they are no longer regarded as a cherished part of the community. Close relationships are rare and customers no longer have loyalty to their financial institutions. What happened?
The introduction of technology has stripped the traditional role your branch managers and tellers have played in building and maintaining strong relationships. Today, you can use technology to also restore those very same relationships through social media. However, to most of you reading this, the thought of unleashing your managers and tellers into the social media world might make you shudder.
The regulators now care about social media… a lot. But this doesn’t mean it’s an unusable tool, they care about it the same way they care about other marketing methods that you are currently using.
You need to treat your social media posts just like you would a direct mail campaign. For example, if you are going to discuss rates, you need certain disclaimers; this is just a fact of life.
You shouldn’t be any more afraid of making posts to social media channels than you are to any other marketing or sales-related effort. You also shouldn’t fear your employees engaging in relationships with your customers. But you should train them and you should monitor them!
Empowering your employees
Left strictly to their own merits, we all know your managers and tellers will get themselves—and likely your financial institution—into some trouble. It doesn’t have to be this way though. It’s possible to equip them with the right systems, tools, training, and content to allow them to find success which means new customers and improved relationships with your existing customers.
Recently, Bloomberg ran an article talking about a tool on the market that helps banks and credit unions use social media to sell online. The tool intends to be a bridge between the social networks and companies that must comply with many internal and government regulations. While this article is focused on selling, it should have been focused on relationships. Stronger relationships with your front line will lead to loyalty and, when the time is right, sales.
The reality is that the way people interact is changing. Compared to the past, it feels like a high-speed evolution, but in this industry you can still be perceived as an early adapter. It’s not about talking about business as much as it is about building relationships. There is a balance of sharing great, relevant content but also sharing life together.
I have a realtor and a mortgage broker that have done a great job with this. Our interactions are around everything from advice on my home (what improvements would be a good investment), to my kids, to where they see home prices going, and everything in between. In the beginning it started with interacting on Facebook, then moved to email and other forms of communication. They’ve moved from being vendors that I would have forgotten about to being people I consider friends.
These ladies may not make money off me for years, but when I start to talk about getting sick of my house, they will know about it before I even start to make phone calls. Wouldn’t it be great if your front line was proactively in the loop on when your customers were going to make major purchases? Imagine how that could change your ability to get the business from that customer. Imagine the upper hand you could have if these relationships were put back in place.
How does your financial institution build relationships with your customers? What scares you the most about using social media like this? Share your thoughts in our comments area.
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