One of the highlights from this year’s Financial Brand Forum was a presentation by Jim Dellavila on what makes a customer ready to switch banks.  The presentation reviewed the importance of the customer experience in switching their checking account relationship to the bank. There are five core points that Dellavila’s presentation reviewed:

1. The relationship between checking acquisition growth and the account switching process. The bank should consider the customer’s switching journey in every communication.  The harder the process to switch, the more potential customers will give up and go to a competitor.
2. Consider consumers’ attitudes, feelings, and preferences as they consider making the switch. Consumers expect to be guided through the switching process by the channel of their choice.  This guidance can happen online, on the telephone, at the branch or any combination. Mobile-first is just a piece of the puzzle, and monitoring and adjusting for channel preference eases the burden of transition on the customer.

3.  Banks must clearly outline the switching process in marketing communication. Banks that have streamlined their switching process have found it can be a differentiator in attracting new customers in their marketing communication.  This strategy sets up an expectation for the consumer that the switching process will be easy and hassle-free.
4. Financial institutions must identify the pain points in the switching process and what improvements can be made. In evaluating the switching process, a bank should review the customer’s journey and determine if:

  • The customers are guided through the process
  • The process is automated as much as possible
  • There is support and assistance available if needed

5. Outline the steps you need to implement now to improve your switching process and start opening more checking accounts.  Bank marketers must:

  • Think like a potential customer
  • Commit to designing a streamlined, customer-focused experience
  • Make the streamlined process as part of the culture
  • Deliver and continue to optimize switching process

As customer attitudes generationally and demographically change, it is always important to take a step back and adjust your acquisition approaches and goals to meet the customer’s, not just the bank’s, expectations.