2015′s First 15 – #7 – Banking on Place

I like to go to places tall, and places small. I’d rather be in a place of my own, but one that doesn’t own me. Place caters to my sense of accomplishment as well as a disturbing cultivation of attachment. We have a tough time letting go. Banking is the same way.

In the financial services world, place underscores the marketing element of distribution. Where will my customers get the goods and services I can provide them? Is it a physical location? Is it a virtual one? For many, this has been the rigor-mortis-making banking discussion of the last year, or two, or five; however, I think it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Any change in an FI’s place strategy, included planned or urgent obsolecence, involves more than just pulling the plug. Here are some items we should keep in mind:

Brick-n-mortar

Bank interior

This is the most illiquid form of place we deal with when making strategic or tactical maneuvers in the marketplace. First, whatever you are doing now when it comes to place (and some would have you jump ship at the next port,) please make sure that you do not overlook an exit strategy. Second, and closely aligned with the first, develop or modify a facility so that it is flexible both in terms of design and construction. Finally, don’t pay too much for flash, and don’t pay too little for function.

Mobile banking, online anything

Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-laptop-desktop-plant-cup-leeroy

Get out there. If you’re not out there, get out there. It’s the ante these days. I’m not a technophile, so I will not go on about what you should and should not have. Security is important. Ease of use is important. Round-trip process is key. For example, don’t have customers download a Word or PDF loan application that then needs to be faxed into the “loan department.” That’s just wrong. Reporting is vital.

Telephone

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I like to talk on the phone. That is my confession of the day. Just ask Beth, our marketing and account maven. However, some of us don’t like to talk on the phone. For those of us that do, make sure your telephone experience is crisp, professional, and competent. Crisp requires a stong grasp of the language. Professional demands that your contact center representative speak clearly. Finally, systems, processes, and training should provide the representative every opportunity to deliver a competent call.

In-Person

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I understand that in the social/antisocial environment in which we find ourselves, we often don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, or truly engage anyone unless there is an input/output device available, so long as the device is not a handshake. However, in those rare circumstances that you find your place is in front of the customer, on their turf, make sure the presentation is equally crisp, professional, and competent.

 

Create a place management toolkit. As part of your annual planning and execution process, you should review these components of place to see where they stand individually as well as a complete offering. Don’t forget…you are banking on being in the right place.