Every financial institution needs to generate a steady stream of new customers, yet one of the easiest and most steady sources of new businesses and related revenue is to reach out to current customers for additional business.
With the cost of acquiring new retail, small business or commercial customers being five to ten times the cost of retaining an existing one, and with the average spend of a repeat customer being 50- 100 percent more than a new one, bank marketers need to remember that the most efficient investment of marketing funds is to market to customers that already bank with you.
Here are 7 relatively easy techniques to do just that:
- Start With the Lowest Hanging Fruit: The easiest sales that can be made to current customers are engagement services that help a customer use an account they already own. These 'sticky services' include a debit card, online banking, direct deposit, bill pay, automatic savings transfer, personal line of credit and security solutions such as privacy protection. These services help to ensure the customer will use the products they own more frequently, will significantly improve retention and will help to improve the overall customer experience.
- Stay Connected: About a year ago I was talking to a friend who said, "I was very impressed with how much love my bank gave me when I opened some new accounts, but amazed that I never really heard from them again except to tell me about new fees". While some banks have very successful onboarding programs to help stay connected with new customers, a surprising number of banks still rely on the customer to onboard themselves. And unless the customer expands their relationship, their bank may never include them in a model-driven cross-sell program.
- Continually Evaluate Upsell Opportunities: Rather than using product-driven programs that are done seasonally, consider funding more customer-focused programs that evaluate each customer's propensity to open one or more of the products and services you offer. With some of my clients, we evaluate each customer's transactional, product ownership and even behavioral characteristics to determine what would be the most likely next purchase and whether the propensity to purchase is high enough to make an offer. In some of most successful programs, this evaluation of opportunities is done monthly, with smaller mailing universes, but much higher response rates.
- Empower Your Customer Contact Teams: For most customer facing employees of your bank, their primary responsibility revolves around efficient processing of transactions and/or customer service. To leverage the thousands of customer engagements these employees have each year, you need to provide easy ways for them to extend their conversations to include relationship expansion opportunities. Many banks provide prompts on their employee's computer screen around recent sales communications received by the customer, most likely products that may interest the customer and even special offers that can be made as part of their transaction or service conversation. The best programs don't stop there, but include tools for the customer to take advantage of the offer. This may be an immediately generated custom printed sales document, a follow-up email or sales call or a referral form.
- Ask for Referrals: One of the easiest ways to generate new business and increase loyalty of current retail or business customers is to ask (and possibly incent) for referrals. If a customer is happy with the way they are treated at your organization, they usually want others to know. This is especially true with satisfied small businesses, private banking customers and with retail customers that are part of a bank-at-work program. And it doesn't hurt if you provide an incentive to your current customer. At a time when new customer acquisition offers often exceed $100 and when the overall cost of acquisition is more than $250, offering a 'bounty' of $50 would be less expensive and would most likely generate a more loyal customer.
- Leverage All Channels: Never assume that customers understand all that your organization offers or absorb communication the same through all channels. Remind your customers continuously that you know who they are, understand their needs, are looking out for them and that you are willing to reward them for their loyalty. And use as many direct channels as possible to reach out to your current customer base, including direct mail, email, statement inserts, banner ads on your website, ATM messaging, outbound calling efforts, etc.
- Measure and Reward What You Want Done: By providing ongoing measurement of the cross-selling objectives you want to achieve and paying for this achievement of these objectives, you have a much better chance of reaching your goals. This continuous reinforcement of your cross-sell mission allows your team to be focused on what's important. You can also turbocharge your results by communicating how you are assisting in their efforts. Provide Opportunity Reports of the customers where they may have the greatest opportunity for success. As part of these reports, it is also helpful to provide background as to why the customer is being selected for a specific offer.
I would love to know other ways you are improving cross-sales within your bank, credit union or investment firm. I know I have missed some great ideas and I would love to hear from you.