In an Aite Group webinar, Senior Analyst Ron Shevlin discussed ways in which financial institutions should reevaluate their marketing philosophies to strengthen customer loyalty. "Whatever it is they're doing, it isn't working like it used to," Shevlin said.
According to Shevlin two factors negatively affect customer loyalty:
"Self-proclaimed advertising gurus" mislead businesses, Shevlin said. "A customer's level of engagement grows when they are allowed to tell themselves stories in order to rationalize and justify their behaviors, which is critical for payment professionals to pay attention to."
Shevlin explained that successful brands tell stories that consumers buy into. Consumers then make purchases online based on those stories. "It wasn't so much the advertising message that got people to buy time and time again," he said. "What got them to stay loyal to a particular product or company was the internal story in their head."
Customers had gone through positive experiences at their financial institutions and "consequently were in a better position to tell these stories, not only to themselves, but to others as well," Shevlin said.
"In my research, it came down simply to three things: customer service over and above what was expected, assistance in helping customers make the right financial decisions and being really easy to do business with," he said.
Shevlin noted that the perception financial institutions want to foster is that businesses do what is best for customers and not the other way around. "We've all heard stories about why customers stay loyal," Shevlin said. "Sales agents lived up to the values portrayed in a company's ad or Web site. They listened to a merchant's problems or concerns and, most importantly, responded quickly to their inquiries."
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