In recent months, retail banks have found themselves faced with a big problem to solve: how to improve their sullied reputations and repair relationships with an increasingly unhappy customer base.
“You don`t have to look much farther than the Occupy Wall Street situation to see that consumers are somewhat frustrated with their banks,” said Laura Kelly, who is the senior vice president for global payment operations at American Express, according to Collections & Credit Risk.
In fact, a conference was held recently to address this very issue which was attended by Kelly along with approximately 300 others of varied professions including marketers, social media experts, bank executives, technological authorities and other industry members. The main topic being discussed was credit card loyalty programs and consumer marketing.
Participants of the conference put their heads together along with presenters to brainstorm ideas about how to better communicate with their customers via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, come up with ways to improve and strengthen customer loyalty and how marketing dollars could be spent more advantageously.
However, the biggest problem retail banks need to address is how to regain the trust of their customers. The frustration many consumers feel towards big banking systems “is actually having marketplace impact,” according to Anthony Johndrow who is a managing partner at the Reputation Institute, reports Collections & Credit Risk. Additionally, Johndrow stated that the current negative reputation of banks is “a barrier to growth, and may be a path to a loss of customers.”
One partial solution being explored by banks such as Citibank is to offer consumers new products that are in pace with the technological advancements of the times such as an app for iPhones and iPads. Those types of products engage consumers by easing their banking experience.
“If you can think about how to make the experience simpler and more accessible, it helps drive the customer experience. People have tried to crack the loyalty code for a long time,” said Kelly, as reported by Collections & Credit Risk. Kelly went on to say that for banks to be successful, they must not only give consumers what they want but also anticipate their desires and give them what they haven`t thought of yet.
“Right now consumers are very ripe to get true additional value from their products,” said Kelly.