Topic: Branding

How Do You Sell Service?

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
Okay, my title is a bit simplistic.

Here's my situation: I am developing brand strategy for a denovo (new bank - The bank will begin operating in about 90 days and have a physical grand opening in 5 to 6 months.). I'm pretty amazed by the founding group and the management team they've assembled. Among a group of characteristics that make them unique is the fact that they truly will have extraordinary service. The personalities they've assembled make it impossible to do otherwise. They will continue an aggressive hiring practice that ensures that the personnel will deliver a high level of service.

The problem: When you say "we have great service" people respond with "yeah, right, everyone says that."

So, how do I say it without saying it?

We're not to creative yet. We're in the strategic phase. And, I realize that the words I deliver will become part of the foundation of this organizaiton.

Back to simplistic... I've thought about skirting the word "service" by saying something like "exceptional customer experience."

I know this is vague, but by the nature of this project, I have to be.

Thanks for all of your help!
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  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    Your are right - everyone says that they have the best service. So you need to find a way to show that you really do.

    Once you are up and running, you will have real life examples (and hopefully word of mouth buzz) about how you do have great service. But until then, you need to find another route.

    Perhaps you can think through the pains of a normal bank experience. And then talk about what you will offer that fixes these pains. I remember one bank which had ads about how they kept branches open after hours when a customer called and said they couldn't make it by closing time, but needed to do their banking. Something like this.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Member
    I think the "strange foreigner" and Cal are on the right track.

    Especially Cal...This is the direction you ned to go.

    I need more coffee, then I'll post my ideas later.

  • Posted on Accepted
    A great eye-opening book about service:

    Selling the Invisible by Beckwith.

    It's short and gives you lots of examples of services and even products that are actually selling great services.
  • Posted on Author
    Ricky - When I loaded up a box of reference stuff to bring home this weekend, that was one book I wanted to make sure I had. I read it a few years back. Perhaps a refresher is in order!
  • Posted on Author
    Here are some additional facts, not necessarily phrased as benefits yet.

    The bank is being built by a founding group of local community people. Not marquee names gathered just for their clout, these are individuals who have built success for themselves in a variety of businesses small and large, product and service. Unprecedented in this area, the group contains three self-made women. No other bank in this area can make any part of this claim.

    Nearly all other banks in our area are owned by some conglomerate in another state. (I'm in the US.) That means besides deposit banking, the deeper financial decisions tend to be administered by some faceless bank employee somewhere else who doesn't have a clue about this community or the individuals the bank serves. As much as possible, all hiring of staff, consultants and supplies is being done locally. (Incidentally, there is a mandate to not sell this bank.) The founders and staff of the bank know the community and its people. Decisions are made quickly and are judged more on the merit of character than a credit report.

    Because this is a brand new bank, there are no legacy systems. One of the core founders was a managing partner for an unnamed global consulting firm. His primary client was a major global financial institutions. This guy is an absolute genius. He is leading the installation of a technological infrastructure that will be unmatched in this area. This technology will invisibly allow staff to provide better service as well as providing the customer with his choice of how to engage with the bank from high touch to high tech.

    The target market lives in a white collar suburban area and includes an vast age range. We are going to intentionally serve the individual retail customer as well as small and medium enterprises. This is a well established area that prides itself on community. As part of the bank's mission, they will be working to foster collaboration in the community. In a community room in the branches, they will offer seminars that are not tied to bank products, but are aimed at supporting individuals and businesses as they work toward success. This is high service beyond product.

    Speaking of service, we will be using a concierge model. A single person will be able to direct you to the right place. And, this person gets to know you (technology comes in here) and will provide that higher level of service that you wouldn't expect from a bank. Tickets to the basketball game - no problem. Oh, you're going on vacation? We'll take care of things for you while you're gone. Think Nordstrom +.

    Finally, the bank will offer a complete range of financial services including insurance and investing, as well as HR for small businesses and financial consulting. This is that idea of one stop shopping. We start with a bank charter because of the feeling of solidity and trust. Then we layer on anything you need to manage wealth and make your money work for you.

    I hope this helps make the picture a little more clear.
  • Posted on Author

    Very good questions... Some of what you're asking for is still fluff and flowers. That's what I'm working out with my client right now.

    The depth of understanding of what the prospects need goes to this: a high level of trust that someone will help keep their money (and thus survival) safe and secure; the ability to make choices about how to engage (from 100% online to 100% face-to-face, this varies by segment). They're frustrated and think all the offerings are pretty much the same - uninspiring. Banking is a necessary evil. Tired of empty promises. Yet, still needing to feel like I'm going somewhere and could get there faster/better with the right help.

    Substantially different segmentation
    -I'm struggling with this. One other Competitor in this market is already claiming the bulk of what we want to - with a few exceptions, only one being substantial. It's geographic. Our bank - Denovo - is focused on Big Affluent Suburb while the competitor is focused on Big City Hub.
    -The other differentiators are:
    -The founding group of "Denovo" is made up of non-bank people, all local, while the founding group of "Competitor" is made up of refugees from another bank merger. Why is this important? It isn't business as usual. The culture of the competitor is a lift of the one they left. Ours is new and based on these real community people.
    -"Competitor" focuses it's message on executives, small business, corporations, and not-for-profits. "Denovo" is focusing on individuals and SME. A fine distinction, yes.

    Prioritized segmentation (without going too deep or too far into what I'm allowed to say by law.)
    1) SME - managing growth in improving economy while establishing protection against future downturn, needing to make connections
    2) Individuals - 40-55, working/living in immediate area, need to manage growing wealth and plan for retirement while sending the kids to school and/or living the high life

    Vision of changing customer needs over 5 years - Yes, somewhat. Growing number of small businesses = Careful growth/placement of branches. Education. Connections.
    Rapidly growing community. = Again careful growth/placement of branches. Community involvement. Being with the community. Supporting/driving changes.
    Growing immigrant population = need for bilingual services, altered hours, innovative locations.

    I truly appreciate your response and your efforts to make me articulate. It's very helpful.
  • Posted by tjh on Accepted
    Maybe this also re-phrases the customer service issue.

    It could be that promoting the customers' Experience in the coming bank is more on point, rather than the services (which should be mentioned no doubt). Anecdotal narratives describing their experiences, much like jason.koulouras described would be good.

    Lots of very personal contacts, parties, catering outside the bank, open houses, photos of founders with a little story or narrative from them about why they're involved.

    It feels like this bank should almost become alive to prospects. No institutional ads. Ever. Copy, heads, photos, all relating People, Experience, Results, small service things, big service things, etc.

    Most people don't see real personal bankers in their relationships unless there is a usually high marker for this service (big deposits, controls business accts, etc.).

    Direct mail to lifestyle-predicting mailing lists sound useful.

    Surely the founders also have some faith in their networking abilities - and undoubtedly coined some phrasing in their early brainstorming meetings over coffee or cocktails. What customer problems did they decide really needed to be solved? How did they describe their mission/vision to late comer investors? Why'd everyone buy in?

    Are there real experts on board that can give good advice to the SME's? Will SME's trust a bank for guidance? Few can really trust their bank on these things, maybe feeling the bank's proprietary interest in investment vehicles reminds them of their stock broker...

    What interesting, and exhilarating problems you have!

    Hope this helped.
  • Posted on Author
    Well, my colleagues, we did it. We came up with some great positioning, articulated brand essence, and a tagline. And, it went over with flying colors. I'm grateful to all of you for your assistance. There were some though-provoking questions and interesting ideas. You all deserve a round of applause. I wish I could share the results, but we're in a "quiet period" in the building of this bank.



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