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September 22, 2008

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Ben Young

Interesting, if you want some good examples I suggest checking out kiwi (New Zealand) banks.

Typically our market is used as a test market for new technology / marketing methods. McDonalds did it for McCafe, Eftpos (debit cards) tested here, and same with banking technology.

Our banks are getting very creative, with a stab at community marketing (www.jointhemovement.co.nz), blogging raboplus.co.nz/blog/ and doing exactly that. Engaging an audience and building new services around that.

Andrew Foote

Well said, John. Wachovia’s recent foray into Twitter is a good example of what you’re describing: http://twitter.com/wachovia. They are addressing tough questions and being responsive to the community.

Many financial institutions have experimented with social media (Jerimiah Owyang has a good list: http://tinyurl.com/3tnuk3), but only a few have used it to tackle issues and address consumers in meaningful ways. You’re right that it’s about getting back to the basics of customer service. The old fashioned bank manager is a great way to think about it. Banks should return to these roots and offer “personal bankers” who are available through customers’ bank account pages and reachable by chat, direct message, etc. They’d handle service issues and connect with customers about savings goals and financial tips. This is already being done to a certain degree, but I’d like to see it evolve into a more personalized experience where customers actually know the name/face of the banker they’re communicating with (e.g. bankers have profile pages).

Another thing….part of the reason some banks hide behind the façade of “adirondack-chairs-on-porches-signifying-retirement” is that they aren’t ready for an authentic conversation with customers. The coldness of direct mail and 30 second spots suits them just fine. The reason? Many banks have skeletons in their closets (e.g. misleading marketing practices, hidden fees). They aren’t ready to face the music because they don’t have a good answer. Sure, they can talk at length about the soft stuff like savings/retirement education, but what happens when a customer blindsides them with an attack on their rates? A lot of banks aren’t ready to address it and, more importantly, they aren’t ready to modify their practices based on customer feedback. My point is that regaining trust via the web will require banks to be straight-up about the good, bad, and ugly. They must be committed to airing their good news and their bad news.

LivePaola

Here is an example from outside the US:
http://www.actibva.com/

Charles H. Green

John,

Congratulations on getting this blogpost picked up by the November Carnival of Trust as one of the Top Ten. This month's carnival is hosted by Jim Peterson at http://www.jamesrpeterson.com/home/2008/11/the-carnival-of-trust.html

The Carnival is hosted by a rotating set of hosts, who pick their own Top Ten each month.

What I like about your post is it goes well beyond point out that the most trust-destroying words you can say are, 'Trust me.' Very true, but your posts digs into the difficult area of how one can create trust without making that fundamental area, even while dealing in the tricky waters of image and advertising.

Well done, and thanks for adding to the rich dialogue on trust.

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