The Remedy Blog

Reaching Your Community Offline

| by Remedy Consulting | 0

For several weeks, your branches were shut down and now your clients have been trained to use all those online tools you couldn’t figure out how to train them on prior to the crisis.

This is the world we have all been waiting for, the virtual branch. Now you don’t have to spend all that money on tellers if the customers can serve themselves online. You furloughed your tellers and new accounts personnel for the 60 days or more, and you are still in business. Your CFO should be very pleased with the expense reduction.

If you read anything online these days, you would believe that the world is going virtual, and when it does, the bank branch will cease to exist.

Ask yourself, though, is this the right place for your community bank or credit union to be? Do you really want to compete against your largest competitors virtually? Haven’t community bank and credit union CEO’s been lamenting for years that the larger regional and national financial institutions have more of their budget to spend on marketing and technology? Here is a wake-up call: your larger competitors do have better economies of scale, and therefore can spend more in these areas than you can.

Finding Your Community Sweet Spot

So, if the larger players can spend more time to woo your customers and give them better virtual tools, then where is your niche and what are your strengths? The Remedy team asks this “strengths” question of nearly every CEO client. Here is what one CEO told us that sums it up fairly well:

"Our clients come to us because we listen to them. We are more down to earth and people friendly. We ask them what they need, and try to provide it for them, and we never treat them like a number. In short, they like coming into our branches and talking to their neighbors, we are part of their community."

If this sounds like your growth strategy, then it seems obvious that more, not less, client contact is what your clients need during these trying times. So how can you take advantage of the “virtual branch” to increase your community involvement and client contact?

Consider reaching out to your recent-work-from-home tellers and other employees and see if they still feel challenged working for you. If they have been a bit underutilized in the past weeks, consider a campaign to call some of your customers and see how they are doing.

Here are some thoughts on things you might reach out to ask your customers:

  1. Did your customers get furloughed, or lose their job? Is there anything else your financial institution can do to help them out?
  2. How has the virtual experience over the past weeks been for your customers? Who is calling into the bank for help with online tools? Can they use your tools to virtually bank, or do you need to set up an appointment to help them out in person?
  3. Can we sponsor your kid’s baseball team? Their summer camp? A local community group you are involved with?

These questions only just scratch the surface. Your team can certainly come up with more ideas to re-establish the personal connection and keep your clients engaged. Given everything that has gone on with the pandemic, social unrest, and ongoing economic uncertainty, someone reaching out just to see how things are going personally may go a long way.

Your customers may be lonely or anxious and now is the time to show them why you consider yourself part of their community. Oh, and here is another thing – we can almost guaranty that this will win referrals and new business away from your larger competitors. Their “economies of scale” will never allow your larger competitors to reach out to even a small percentage of their customers. Even if they thought it was a good idea, they could never get through their own bureaucracy to pull it off.

"Victory comes from finding opportunities in problems"

Sun Tzu

Trusted Advisor to Banks and Credit Unions

Remedy Consulting helps financial institutions (FI) thrive through best-in-class fintech consulting services specializing in System Selections, Contract Negotiations, Outsourcing/In-House Advisory, Bank Mergers & Acquisitions, and FI Strategic Planning. As a trusted advisor to banks and credit unions located in Wisconsin, the Remedy Team has executed over 700 system selection and vendor negotiations since 2016. Our clients receive a cost reduction on their core vendor contracts and increased efficiency with Remedy's Price Repository. To learn more about Remedy Consulting, contact us today!

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