If there’s one industry that’s often assumed to be cold and impersonal, it’s the financial industry. It’s all about numbers and money, not about the people who have accounts, or need help with enquiries. The reputation may or may not be deserved, but there is a way to combat it: by making customers, investors, or clients feel like you care.
One of the best ways to do that is by sending personal communications. Email and post, while personalisable, are viewed as mass media by the public. To reach people on a more personal level, you have to get their attention where they are, when they are ready, and speak directly to them.
So where might that be? On their mobile of course! Surveys have shown that people keep their mobiles within arms reach 22 hours a day on average (yes, while sleeping too!). They also check their SMS messages within a few minutes of getting them. And unlike email, they aren’t overcome by spam text messages so if they get a message, they usually consider it valuable information.
That’s because they’ve usually asked for the message. Banks and other financial institutions have access to information people need and want. Here’s a list of seven types of messages you could send that would help people really learn to appreciate how helpful your business is:
1. Loan application status
If someone applies for a loan, chances are they’ll be anxious to know if they’re approved or not. You can send out an SMS messages letting them know you received the application, that it’s in processing, review and finally whether or not they were approved. By keeping your applicants in the loop every step of the way, they’ll feel like you really appreciate them and their business. And that means they’ll come to you the next time they need to borrow, and recommend you to their friends and family too.
2. Account alerts
People are keeping a close eye on their accounts more than ever because of things like identity theft and security breaches at major companies. There are also people that just want to be kept informed of activity on their accounts. Banks and other financial institutions can keep their account holders informed by sending SMS messages when there’s any change to the account or when it meets certain criteria. For example, you can send a message every time there’s a deposit, or every time a purchase exceeds a minimum amount. I have accounts where I’m able to customise the criteria, and others where I can simply turn the alerts on or off. Either way, I appreciate the ability to know immediately when something happens. And so will your account holders.
3. Courtesy messages
If you really want to make your customers feel appreciated and that you care about them (there’s more than just an account number right?), you’ll want to start sending them SMS messages thanking them for their business – at appropriate times. Is someone a new customer? Then send a message thanking them for choosing you. Did someone just add a product (loan, CD, or something else), then thank them for continuing to choose you. You could also send birthday wishes, special thanks on the anniversary of when they opened an account, or any other of the many opportunities that happen over the life of an account.
4. Prospect follow up
You probably have leads that have gone cold. That is, people who started an application but never finished. Or enquired about services but never opened an account. If you have their mobile number, you can send them a message asking if they are still interested, need more information, or if they’ve already made another choice. Oftentimes people just get busy so if they don’t come back it doesn’t mean they went with another company. One little message could turn these cold prospects into new customers.
5. Policy notifications
If there’s one thing that’s probably true about the financial industry, it’s that there are always lots and lots of rules, regulations, terms, and conditions. And they change over time. Though you probably already have a process in place to notify customers of changes, you can add one more. Send an SMS notification to everyone whose accounts are affected letting them know of the changes. A text message is too short to say it all, so just include a link to a mobile web page where they can read the changes themselves – if they are so inclined. If you really want to be helpful, send them to a page where the changes are summarised in plain English so they don’t have to read the legalise to understand the changes. Of course, a link to the official document is always important too.
6. Cross-selling other financial products
You probably offer more than one financial product. If someone has opened an account with you, they might be interested in more of what you have to offer. But they won’t know what you can do unless you tell them. You can send SMS messages regarding related or new products, especially if you’re having a special offer (e.g. reduced interest rates on loans for a short time). And with SMS messaging it will be easy to track your results and see how effective this type of marketing is.
7. Statement notifications
Every month or quarter, your institution creates statements of account for all customers. Whether they need them to prepare for taxes, or just to verify their account, people want to know as soon as they are available. These types of messages are simple, but helpful to your customers.
SMS messaging lets you stay in touch with your customers, and potential customers, in a personal way that email or post can’t. It’s also inexpensive and easy to implement quickly. If you’re interested in learning more about SMS messaging just click on our Live Chat or give us a call. We’re here to help.