How To Get Back Control Of Your Bank Brand On A Local Level

The retail banking sector is at something of a crossroads at the moment. Evolving consumer demographics and banking platform preferences, as well as the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis, have considerably changed the game. Connecting with customers and providing the ideal brand experience is essential to reducing churn and encouraging current account holders to take advantage of other financial services.

Your brand message is key here, but it can be difficult to guarantee that all branches are diligently adhering to corporate guidelines. When individual branches go off script and play by their own rules, they may not be representing your brand well – and that can hurt your overall business. By getting more oversight and a firmer handle on your local pages, you can wrest back control of your brand across the board.

Why brand consistency is critical

Whether they’re in retail, food and beverage, or financial services, brands thrive on consistency. As consumers, we gravitate toward businesses that can deliver the same high-quality experience every time. We can all name a restaurant chain or retail store where we’ve experienced pretty wide variations in quality from location to location. That kind of uncertainty is damaging to a corporation’s overall image, as customers develop a negative view of their brand.

Your brand message is key.

Banks are not immune to these circumstances. In fact, considering the stakes of consumer banking transactions are far higher than whether or not a fast-food joint gets your order right, brand consistency is perhaps even more important in this industry.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, banks have had their work cut out for them mending consumer relationships and reconnecting with customers who may have had their faith in financial service institutions shaken. So far, they’ve done a good job bringing customers back into the fold and keeping them there. The 2016 American Customer Satisfaction Index Finance and Insurance Report found that bank customer satisfaction rose 5.3 percent last year alone. But to keep that momentum going, banks need to continue building trust and ensuring their consumer interactions and touch points are all working in harmony.

Keeping local page messaging consistent

With bank customers using various channels to access accounts and interact with their local branches, those different touch points need to be uniform in the information they convey. According to J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Survey, customers regularly rely on a mix of digital platforms, online interactions and local branch visits to meet their personal banking needs. Even the famously tech-savvy millennial demographic continues to balance digital account management with in-person transactions: 71 percent still use their local banks, while 49 percent also take advantage of mobile banking.

Given this dynamic, local pages take center stage representing the brand. After all, with 78 percent of all new account openings occurring at local banks, the need to drive online visitors to physical locations is as pressing as ever.

Inconsistencies can be extremely frustrating for bank customers.

If the information listed on your local pages is incorrect or not in line with corporate guidelines, however, the brand could suffer. For instance, a bank’s local page may list mortgage or other loan services that aren’t actually offered at that particular branch. Perhaps it says there is a surcharge-free ATM on-site, when, in fact, that machine was replaced with one that requires a fee to use. In some cases, a branch may even list the wrong hours of operation because it’s not adhering to corporate guidelines.

These inconsistencies can all be extremely frustrating for bank customers, and even seemingly tiny inconveniences could pile up and ultimately lead account holders to transfer their funds to another bank. On top of that, people want to feel confident in their financial institutions and trust that their money and other assets are in good hands. If a bank can’t be trusted to keep its hours of operation up to date, how can it be trusted with your life savings?

Keeping your local pages in line with your overall brand guidelines and messaging ensures that the veneer of steady professionalism remains untarnished. Customers know that the information listed online is accurate and that their branch can ably assist them with any service listed on its local page. The end result is greater consumer confidence in their local banks, their larger banking institutions and satisfaction with their overall services – and it all starts with your local pages.

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