Get Sticky: How to Leverage Your Existing Customer Relationships for Greater Profits


Are you selling products — or serving customers? In the eyes of today’s consumer — feeling bulldozed by large banks and helpless against the economic roller coaster — it’s a key distinction. Bottom line: To thrive, your organization needs to focus tightly on providing solutions to customer needs.

Here, CCG Senior Vice President and Strategist Greg Sultan shares ideas to help financial marketers take a customer-centric approach that hinges on cross-selling to existing customers. The results? Stronger, stickier customer relationships that can amplify your revenue stream for the long term.

The Value of Current Customers

Why focus on cross-selling to existing customers? Because …

    • You already know a lot about them — and they already know you.
    • It’s generally less expensive and more profitable to upsell and cross-sell existing customers than to acquire new ones.
    • The more products and services a customer has with you, the less likely they are to leave.

What do customers need?

To position your organization as a customer solutions provider, you first must thoroughly understand your customers’ wants and needs. Some customers may flat out tell you what those are if you ask — perhaps through customer surveys or short, teller-prompted questionnaires. But, chances are, you’ll also need to do some data analysis.

Luckily, as a bank, you have ample opportunity to collect data through account openings, bank transactions, purchase histories linked to accounts with you, behavior at your website, etc.

Put It to Work

Now use it! Through analytics and modeling, your data can show you which products are most likely to be of interest to which customers, helping you position your marketing messages for greatest relevance and thus optimal results. For instance:

    • A customer who has used your down-payment calculator may be primed for a purchase-mortgage offer. (You should be able to track such actions if customers have first logged on to their online account or if they link to the tool from a personalized e-mail.)
    • A customer who recently made an unusually large deposit may be ripe for a Certificate of Deposit offer or financial planning message.
    • A customer who frequently uses her debit card for small purchases could be a prime candidate for a bonus offer designed to increase large-purchase debit usage.

To Get the Sale, Don’t Sell

Regardless of what product or service you’re promoting, remember that your marketing piece shouldn’t be a sales pitch. You need to focus on how the item solves a problem or helps the customer achieve a goal. Here are two ways to do that:

    1. Focus on the “WIIFM.” Customers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” To convey it, make sure the customer benefits — not simply product features — stand out loud and clear. For instance, a great mortgage rate is a feature — but a low fixed rate that brings your mortgage payment down so you can afford your dream home? That’s a benefit.
    2. Be their expert resource. More than ever, customers want to be well educated before they make decisions, especially financial ones. You can provide them with that information — or you can let them find it on the Internet and from your competitors. For instance, give customers the opportunity to sign up for an e-mail series that helps them understand the home-buying and mortgage process. You’ll position yourself as a trusted advisor who is there to not simply sell a product, but help them make informed decisions and un-complicate the world of financial management.

Make Every Touchpoint Count

Remember, too, that customer-centricity — and cross-selling, for that matter — don’t begin and end with your communication pieces. Every customer interaction is, in essence, a marketing opportunity. So be sure to train for and reward superior customer service. Help employees at every level develop the ability to identify customer needs and suggest solutions (that can lead to sales). And always watch for opportunities to enhance the customer experience.

See the Results

Keeping a focus on cross-selling and customer-centricity gives your customers every reason to stick around. That equals boosted customer retention. All of which can only mean good things for your revenue stream.

Case Study: Cross-Sell Success

A large regional bank wanted to counter first-year attrition rates and build stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships. CCG developed an onboarding program that leveraged data analysis to effectively target and cross-sell customers with needs-based messaging.

The results:

  • Increased retention by net 4%
  • Increased cross-sell lift
    5% – 9% over control

For more details on this and other case studies, or for help with your customer marketing initiatives, e-mail us today or call (800) 525-0313, ext. 122.


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