Lynn Gaertner-Johnston's post today titled When "Customer Service" Letters Undercut Bankers should remind us of the importance of personalizing communications to banking customers.
With software products like our MemberProtect®, we have the ability to store literally thousands of personal attributes of each banking customer. These can be basic attributes, such as name, address and phone number, but also less obvious attributes, such as whether the customer owns a dog, has a vacation home or the color of his hair. Our email delivery platform, as well as most other direct mail or similar platforms, allow you to personalize each communication using these attributes.
Even more importantly, you can use these same attributes to more precisely target your communications and give customers control over what type and frequency of communications they wish to receive from you. Rather than sending a broadcast refinance offer to all of your customers with a generic "Dear Member:" greeting, you can easily target only those members who are homeowners and whose currently mortgage rate is above the refinance rate you're offering. Your message will be more relevant to the recipients so they'll find more value in your communications. This means your members are less likely to consider this and all future messages as spam, and your marketing effectiveness will increase.
Consider these two letters:
We're excited to tell you about our new 5.75% 30 year fixed mortgage rate available to you if you own your own home.
To find out if you qualify, please visit www.xyzbank.com
XYZ Bank Lending Team
Now consider this version of the same offer:
It's been over two years since you last refinanced your home in Ann Arbor. I worked with you to complete your previous refinance in July 2007. At that time, I was able to offer you a 6.75% rate on your 30 year fixed loan.
I appreciate that you've recommended me to your friends, Tom and Jackie Smith. I value your trust and appreciate your loyalty. I've been watching our rates for you and saw an opportunity to save you money today. I can refinance your current home at a 5.75% interest rate. Based on your current principal balance, your new loan payment would be $775.00 per month on a 30 year fixed rate loan. That is a monthly savings of over $115.00. At this rate, you would recoup your full refinance costs in only 8 months.
Either you or your wife, Sandy, can complete an application on our website at www.xyzbank.com, or just call me at 888-555-5555 and I can complete your application over the phone.
Senior Loan Advisor
P.S. We can also open a college savings account for your daughter, Julie, and automatically deposit your monthly mortgage loan savings of $115 into that account.
I don't need to tell you which of these two letters would yield a higher conversion rate. It's probably also obvious which one would build more goodwill with Joe and Sandy and make them feel more valued as customers. With the marketing systems we develop for our customers, both of these take the same level of effort to create and cost the same to send. If that is true (and it is), you'd have to scratch your head and wonder why anyone would still send generic form letters?