Cross-selling is a critical strategy for banks and credit unions looking to generate profit. Fiserv clearly broke down the five reasons why it’s so critical, noting that cross-selling:
- Is cheaper than acquisition
- Improves retention
- Increases wallet share
- Broadens your profit base
- Is a “now” opportunity
Understanding why cross-selling in the banking industry is so important is the first step. Implementing effective cross-selling strategies is the next. In this piece, we offer 5 proven cross selling techniques that work best for banks and credit unions.
5 Proven Bank Cross Selling Strategies
Stay Top of Mind with Current Customers
Continuous communication with customers and members is important. All too often an institution will work hard to attract and convert a prospect into a customer and then suddenly disappear. That’s a mistake considering it’s 8-10 times costlier to acquire new customers than it is to sell additional products to your current customers, according to Fiserv. But, it will take more than emails and direct mail to stay top of mind with today’s customers and members. In order to truly connect with consumers, brands must utilize all avenues without being too pushy. This means:
- Leveraging social media
- Connecting your brand to community or national causes
- Differentiating yourself from the competition
- Encouraging referrals through word of mouth
- Maintaining a consistent brand message.
Personalize Offers Based on Customers’ Past History and Through the Use of Big Data
Big data and advancements in technology now offer banks and credit unions the ability to segment and get to know consumers like never before. By tracking history and leveraging big data, banks and credit unions can personalize their offers and direct them at the people most likely to need them. Not only do personalized offers result in a greater ROI, but they show customers and members that you care and that you’re paying attention to their needs.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that this is not happening. A survey by Pega Systems discovered that 68% of banks believe they understand their customers extremely well but only 41% of bank customers believe the same, and another 16% feel banks hardly understand them at all. This data proves there is still much work to be done around improving customer service and personalization.
Similarly, The Financial Brand reported on a Gallup study “that proved financial marketers could definitely improve cross-sell communications with current customers. Sixty-six percent of ‘fully engaged’ customers felt the offers they receive were ‘general’ in nature, 41% found the offer annoying, and stunningly, 53% of customers already had the product being promoted. Of significant concern is that the most engaged customers (the ones most likely to buy) felt they were targeted worse than those who were less engaged.”
Empower Your Front-Line Staff
Front-line staff at a bank or credit union are charged with handling customer product, technical and procedure questions, complaints and feedback. As a result, they have a tremendous impact on customer satisfaction. The problem is, that most front-line staff don’t have easy access to the information they need to confidently answer the myriad of questions that get asked of them day in and day out. Charged with fielding all customer questions, across products and policies, front-line staff can barely keep up — since most don’t have a go-to resource that was designed to get them the answers they need, when they need them: immediately. As a result, front-line staff put customers and members on hold while they scramble to find answers. This leads to a loss of autonomy and a breakdown in staff morale. Not to mention, if front-line staff are struggling to simply answer customer and member questions, how will your bank or credit union ever get them to go one step further and start selling additional products? The answer is, you won’t.
By turning this situation around, however, and giving front-line staff the tools they need to quickly locate answers to customer questions, you can empower them to do their job autonomously and confidently — consequently, building the foundation you need to turn front-line staff into proactive sales and service agents.
Empower Your Customers
Consumers today have options. And information is only a Google away. But they don’t always know all of the questions they should be asking when they’re “researching” options. By being transparent about your products and services, anticipating the questions on their mind through on page FAQ’s, and providing actionable Calls-to-actions (CTAs), you empower customers. Utilizing self-service solutions that offer answers to customer questions across your digital channels as well as the ability to schedule appointments with a subject matter expert at the peak of their interest (for example, when viewing loan rates), you can turn your digital channels into your number one sales agents — helping you increase wallet share with current customers and members.
Reward Customer Service Excellence
Working on the front line as a customer service member can be demanding and stressful — especially when the information they need to do their job effectively is not readily available. As a result, turnover for front-line customer service staff is extremely high. This high turnover rate not only increases bank training costs but it affects customer satisfaction. And ultimately it makes it impossible to train customer service staff on how to sell, advise and make appropriate product recommendations.
“Customer-facing bankers need to be trusted advisers first and foremost. This comes with proper training, mentoring and experience. Financial institutions need to reward longevity and customer-service excellence alongside production performance. Clients trust familiar faces, and staff retention should be a priority,” wrote American Banker.
In addition to these five strategies, your financial institution should consider ongoing sales training for customer service staff; prioritizing transparency to foster trust; ensuring consistent brand messaging across channels; and continually tracking and measuring your bank’s cross-selling efforts.
Want to learn about utilizing technology to improve cross-selling at your bank or credit union? Schedule a meeting At Engageware, we specialize in helping banks and credit unions get their employees and customers the information they need, when they need it, which makes cross-selling that much easier.