Why It Pays to Collect Email Addresses

Posted by on September 19th, 2014


Financial institutions recognize the importance of staying connected to account holders, but for many this remains difficult due to low email penetration rates. Digital advancements have allowed FIs to provide information to account holders through a variety of channels, such as their website, mobile app(s) and social media profiles, but email remains a key method of communication for account updates, promotional messaging, important announcements and the distribution of educational resources. If your institution is not currently taking steps to collect account holder email addresses, you could be missing an important opportunity.

According to a recent study(1), 84% of account holders want some kind of communication with their bank that they are not receiving today. In addition to being one of the most cost-effective ways to reach account holders, email communications offer multiple benefits. Not only can regular communications keep FIs top-of-mind, targeted email communication also provide an opportunity for cross-selling additional products and services. Also, by using email to solicit customer feedback through online surveys, FIs can obtain additional insight into account holders’ wants and needs and use that information to improve the account holder experience, reduce attrition and build loyalty.

Email allows FIs to proactively and efficiently reach thousands of account holders should an issue arise. In the November 2013 Target breach, several banks and credit unions involved were able to contact their account holders and continuously keep them informed about the breach in detail. FIs were able to provide account holders with the appropriate steps to ensure their information was protected and secure. This ability to communicate quickly and broadly has also proven invaluable in the aftermath of major events, such as hurricanes, where emails delivered directly to mobile devices help to broadcast which branches are operating, affected ATM machines, etc.

Also, email can be used as a means to offer account holders industry knowledge and financial news. Through regular newsletters or automated notifications, FIs can keep their account holders up-to-date on current financial trends, areas of interest, account activity and relevant financial topics that might be of interest..

By taking steps to prioritize the collection of email addresses during the account opening process, your financial institution can bring its communication strategy in line with the expectations of today’s always-connected, “digital” account holders

1. http://thefinancialbrand.com/40043/banking-customers-targeted-marketing-communications/


What is Your Definition of Onboarding?

Posted by on September 16th, 2014

While many of us have heard and used the term onboarding many times, it’s still somewhat loosely defined and often means very different things. It’s telling that a keyword search for “onboarding” using dictionary.com or merriam-webster.com comes up empty.

At a very basic level, onboarding refers to the process of bringing new customers “into the fold” — providing details around any next steps they need to take, important information about the organization they are doing business with, additional/complementary services they might be interested in, etc. Onboarding can be thought of as a welcome packet, but often one that is delivered in sections over time rather than a single piece.

Financial institutions often miss the mark (or part of the mark) in onboarding programs by becoming overly focused on a single objective, such as the cross-sell component. Neglecting the other key elements of effective onboarding can have a trickle-down effect that negatively impacts the cross-sell objective these institutions are driving toward. Let’s look at a few examples of how this can happen.

Ill-Timed Cross-Sell

Ill-Timed Cross Sell

Whether it’s based on a buyer propensity model or simply a clear relationship between complementary products, suggesting additional services to account holders as part of an onboarding program is viewed as a critical component by many financial institutions, and rightly so. However, the focus on getting the right products/services in front of the right account holders is often based on basic profile data and information supplied during the account opening process, which doesn’t take into account the mindset of the individual post-account opening. Attempting to cross-sell account holders who were anything less than satisfied with the experience of working with your institution is not only unfortunate timing, but it creates the wrong perception during what should be a period of relationship building.

Making It All About You (Not Them)

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 3.47.20 PM (2)

An account holder makes the choice (yes, it’s a choice) to engage with a communication sent by your financial institution, and what do they see? Chances are, it’s something presented as being valuable to them (e.g., Don’t Miss Our Lowest Interest Rates Ever!) but in reality, it holds more value to their financial institution if action is taken. What type of information is being provided to truly help the account holder?

Providing financial education resources is a great way to give account holders information that they can put to use in their everyday lives, and it’s the type of content that demonstrates value in the communications sent from a financial institution. Establish that value and remain consistent to create an audience of engaged recipients who will be much more likely to pay attention to your promotional messages.

Forgetting to Onboard

Forgetting to Onboard

Are you saying “thank you” just for the sake of saying it?  If treated as nothing but a formality, an onboarding program is a missed opportunity. Even a simple welcome letter holds enormous potential — to have an account holder’s attention for even a few seconds, and not do anything about it, is a shame. Ask account holders about their experience while its fresh in their minds, and reach out if any issues are reported to make it known that you’re listening. Provide useful information, such as support hotlines or other resources where they can turn for assistance. Give them information they can use, and give them time to get acclimated. Cross-sell messaging is a natural next step after the initial onboarding process has taken place, but both phases are very important. Effective products can solidify relationships, just as solid relationships can open up opportunities for additional products to be sold.

Harland Clarke Digital believes strongly in the role of onboarding for new account holders. Our SpringBoard program combines content marketing, email communication, survey distribution and ongoing data analysis to help financial institutions make the most of the opportunity to connect with, learn from and extend the relationship with new account holders. Learn more about SpringBoard.


Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen Doesn’t Necessarily Make For A Better Survey

Posted by on September 12th, 2014

McMurrayBlog_91214Survey construction can take weeks, sometimes months, and the process can be prolonged even more when you have to sift through a seemingly endless amount of revisions. Regardless if the survey is a standard customer or employee opinion survey, or one designed to address social and governmental issues, the pitfalls and problems of having a large group work together to write and format it are typically the same.

Large groups often spend so much time wordsmithing and discussing the endless options to number, renumber, sub-number and reorder items that it ends up having a negative impact on the final product. With each person bringing a different skill set and knowledge base to the table, from project managers to Ph.Ds, the result of so much collective input often comes in the form of overly wordy and heady questions and even longer surveys. For example, it is very common to hear comments like “If we’re asking THAT, then we need to ask THIS too!” It can reach a point where 50 questions looks like 160 questions, which is obviously a problem because responders don’t have the time or patience to complete such a lengthy survey.

To avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen,” scenario, my suggestion is that you appoint one of the strongest members of the committee to be the leader. That leader needs to keep the group focused on the survey objective, be willing to take a stand on issues that impact survey content and set limitations on the time-frame.

The designated leader can be the final say so in all matters that are up for discussion whether it’s deciding if a question should use a 5-point scale or asking other members to go back and critically think about the structure of a particular question. The ultimate goal is to gather the most usable data and if the question is at all confusing, this type of knowledge will be difficult to obtain.

Assigning a leadership role is the best option to keep all committee members on the same page as well as keep the formatting process moving forward at a rapid pace. Establishing this role early on will help keep conflict at a minimum and help refocus the group to the task at hand. Most importantly, proper leadership will encourage everyone to work together to create the best survey format and questions to obtain the most useful and usable data.


Plan for Tomorrow… Today

Posted by on September 9th, 2014

WintersBlog_9914After reading my colleague Rob Ropars’ blog post on increasing productivity at work, I thought I would pass along some tips of my own regarding planning and prioritization. Hopefully, you can find something useful within the process that I utilize every day!

Before I leave the office each day, I always set aside 5-10 minutes to review my planned tasks and meetings for the next day and write out a list of the items I know will need to be accomplished. Then, when I arrive at my desk the next morning I know I am ready to start right away and nothing urgent is being left behind in the stream of new tasks that head my way in the early hours of the workday.

In addition to simply listing the items that are on my plate for the next day, I also have found that I can save time by mapping out the client calls I need to make by time zone, so that I’m not wasting time calling someone on the east coast after they are gone for the day… on the west coast before they are in for the day… or anyone during their likely lunch hour.

Finally, in the morning, each day after reviewing all the emails that have arrived overnight and earlier that morning, I number all my tasks by priority/importance (factoring in the location of the clients I need to call, as well) so I have a plan of attack. I’m a planner… perhaps to a fault… but I’ve found it is this level of preparation that allows me to stay on top of my responsibilities and not let things slip through the cracks.

If you have any to-do items on your list regarding digital marketing, please feel free to contact our support team at support@hcdigital.com – we would love to help!


Introducing the World’s Most Perfect Shopping Spree

Posted by on September 5th, 2014

Perfect Shopping(This article from Paul Wolf, Vice President of Retail and Consumer Products at Xerox, was originally published on Xerox’s Simplify Work blog)

In 75 years, the world of retail technology – enabled by augmented reality, the Internet of Everything and many other technological advancements – will know us well enough to deliver exactly what we need before we can even think to ask for it.

Sound disturbing? Perhaps, but in 75 years the “creep factor” will be gone. Consumers will be so accustomed to the integration of technology into their lives that the fear associated with sharing personal information will no longer exist. If you’re over 35 years old today, you may recall an odd feeling the first time a store clerk asked for your email address. Today, the request is routine.

Data will be shared so openly and freely that retailers no longer will serve masses of consumers; they will serve you. They will compete to meet your individual needs in a convenient and natural way. And they will do this in physical stores, online and in ways we can’t yet imagine.

I mentioned physical stores. While the number of stores may diminish, physical stores will not disappear completely. Consumers enjoy interaction, and I imagine they’ll love the personalized touch of the human or virtual sales clerk in 75 years.

Today, store clerks likely have no idea who you are or what item you’re after. In 2089, as you approach a retail location, sensors will detect your presence and powerful data analytics platforms will pull together information in real time. By the time you cross the threshold, the clerk will greet you by name and already have some ideas about which workout pants would be best for the new exercise plan you’re starting next week.

Read the full article at Xerox’s Simplify Work blog

Disclosure: Harland Clarke Digital® provides managed email services for several Xerox® marketing programs. This content is shared with permission. Any views expressed reflect the opinion of the original author(s).