Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Turkish credit card holders get free ride
to the ski lift.

Garanti Bank, headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, knows how to reward its MasterCard® customers. The loyalty program for its Garanti Bonus Card began in November 2007. Card holders can hop on the Bonus Ski Shuttles for free transportation to popular ski destinations favorited by Istanbulites like Uludag, Kartalkaya and Kartepe. Customers just call the Bonus Ski hotline for a van to pick them up at home and drive them to and from their favorite mountain. Check out their web page promoting the card. It’s wild!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Your private banker in a box!

It’s a low-tech idea for a high-tech world. And, it took the Dutch to come up with it. Amsterdam-based bank, Insinger de Beaufort, launched a private banking service for its high-end clientele. After discussing financial planning with their private banker, clients are then sent a cardboard shoebox by courier every month courtesy of the bank. Clients drop anything admin-related into it. . . unpaid bills, bank statements, receipts, tax returns, insurance docs, even speeding tickets. At the end of the month, Insinger sends a courier to pick up the box and processes the contents. Clients receive notification of the resulting transactions within three business days. Insinger says they are “saving (valuable) clients the time and hassle of dealing with the minutiae of their personal finances.” The shoebox service targets the most profitable, demanding banking customers with a high-cost service rumored to run 415 to 850 euros, or $565 to $1,158 per month, depending on service level. After all, Insinger’s motto is “Uncovering value inch by inch.”

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Are you connecting with customers?

Billionaire Mark Cuban had a great post in his blog, Blog Maverick, a couple of years ago. Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, an NBA basketball team, and chairman of HDNet, an HDTV cable network. His remarks are especially relevant now when consumer confidence is low and sales are slow. Banks need to pull out all the stops to attract and retain customers.

Take away points (whether you’re the CEO or marketing manager):

  • Customer service starts with the CEO.Treat customers like they own you, because they do. Remember YAHOO when dealing with customers, because they will. YAHOO stands for You Always Have Other Options.
  • Get out there and experience your product/service like your customer does. Stand in the teller line with your customers and test the service. See what they see. Don’t rely on someone else doing it. Do it yourself!

    (In my experience, these next three points are especially critical. While the suggestions seem obvious, I’ve seen CEOs, as well as marketing execs, do the opposite and insulate themselves. )
  • Make yourself accessible. Post your email so customers can reach you. The CEO who doesn’t listen to direct customer feedback will never take the institution as far as it can go.
  • Communicate with your customers. A happy customer tells one person, but an unhappy one tells 20.
  • It’s better to be proactive than reactive.

Read Cuban’s entire blog post, “Success and motivation - Connecting to your Customers.” The comments on the post are great, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Use this annual event to capture prospects’ attention.

What’s the event? It’s National Small Business Week. Since 1963, every President has declared a National Small Business Week to honor the backbone of the nation’s economy. This year, the SBA has slated the event for April 21-25. The SBA has dedicated a website to the event outlining activities and hosting blogs so small business owners can weigh in on issues affecting them.

Whether you have a large budget, small budget or no budget at all, you can take advantage of the event and use it to market to small business prospects. The event gives you the opportunity. . . or excuse. . . to contact prospects and clients. If your budget permits, host a seminar or business open house at your bank. No funds in the budget, or very little? Then compose a simple letter – or email – to prospects telling them about National Small Business Week and the SBA-promoted website . And, don’t forget to tie in a financial product or offer info about your institution. This simple effort will begin to position you as a financial institution who stays relevant. And, more important, it offers information that may help the small business. If you keep up the communiqu├ęs with other news or relevant data, your position will become stronger and your business banker’s name remembered. Next, send them a new stat on healthcare and pitch your HSA program.

We prepared such an email for one client which was personalized by zip code and banker. The email offered a link to the event’s website, as well as to the bank’s website.

Simple events or relevant data in the news can help your bankers easily connect with prospects.