Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brand Advocates Should Be Cultivated

Every bank talks about customer loyalty and advocacy, but many find it difficult to define what a brand advocate is, or what the value may be to their bank.

According to a study just released on the actions, motivations and influence of brand advocates conducted by Dr. Kathleen Ferris-Costa at the University of Rhode Island for social networking leader BzzAgent, brand advocates are 83% more likely to share information about a product than typical web users and 50% more likely to influence a purchase. Since they enjoy solving problems and helping other to make purchases and decisions, they are also 75% more likely to share a great experience and three times more likely to share their opinion with someone they don't know (they are also more likely to share a bad experience). In other words, this segment of your customer base acts and thinks very differently from your typical customer and should be searched out and cultivated.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Banks Slow to Embrace Potential of Tablet Computing

One year ago yesterday, Apple announced it had shipped it's first million iPads. Since then, it sold 14 million more in 2010 and is expected to sell between 30 and 40 million units in 2011 despite supply challenges in Japan. New research from Gartner predicts that global tablet sales will increase from 17.6 million in 2010 to nearly 70 million in 2011 and close to 300 million by 2015. During this time, the average price should fall to about half of the current level, which is just under $500 for entry level models.

Given this growth trajectory, and with banks continuously touting their desire to 'enhance the customer experience', how has the industry completely fallen asleep at the developmental control switch when it come to leveraging the tablet computer for engaging the customer? Given the demographic profile of the early adopting tablet owner (higher income, technology savvy, business traveler), and the retention experience found with mobile banking, it is even more surprising that only a handful of banks have even introduced iPad banking applications.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revenue Replacement in a New Regulatory Environment

In my travels over the past 18-24 months, a single unifying theme seems to be of primary importance for all of the banks I visit . . . the need to find new sources of revenue to help offset the impact of environmental, competitive and regulatory changes that have occurred in our industry. With the potential of the Durbin Interchange Amendment hanging over our heads, lost overdraft fees from Reg E in our rear view mirror, the ability to pay interest on business deposits and the implications of the Card Act just 18 months ago, bank earnings are being squeezed from all directions.

According to Novantas, the regulatory changes alone have slashed retail banking revenues by more than $50 billion per year compared to pre-crisis levels. To make this number even more staggering, Novantas estimates that the equivalent cost savings needed to offset these lost revenues would entail closing 50,000 branches or would require a 1500% increase in maintenance fees. Neither of these options are feasible.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Seven Steps to Reduce Offline and Online Bank Product Purchase Abandonment

According to Forrester Research, the number of consumers using the Web to research, buy and manage their financial products has grown steadily. In 2009, 63% of US online adults who researched a financial product did so online, with the number increasing over the past two years. Virtually all products were researched, from mortgages and student loans to savings and checking accounts. Interestingly, more than a third who researched products did so exclusively online.

The Web provides inherent advantages when researching and applying, including the convenience of being able to research whenever the user wants, the ease of comparing providers, and in some cases the ability to open the product or service in real time. While the use of the Web is correlated to age categories (with Gen Y using the Internet more frequently), all age groups are increasing their use of online and mobile channels to evaluate options before purchasing financial services.