Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Going Forward from Here

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Going Forward from Here

Article excerpt

The American Bankers Association 1997 Consumer Tracking Survey indicates that banks have major strengths, but will need to marshal them as effectively as possible to succeed and expand in an increasingly competitive financial services arena. The key question is, of course, what actions do the survey results suggest?

It is my view that four specific actions should be considered.

1. Make sure basic service is in place. The survey indicates that banks are very highly regarded and have a good reputation with consumers. However, some slippage has occurred. Fees, for example, are being questioned as never before and there is a decline in the feeling that banks are flexible and that employees are courteous.

Making sure that basic service is in place means allowing-no slippage in service, courteousness, and accuracy, while reinforcing the value and convenience banks provide. It also means clearly communicating to consumers that banks are customer-oriented.

2. Develop a strategic focus. Despite a basically strong reputation, banks in general are vulnerable, from an image standpoint, on their ability to: 1. provide personalized service, 2. offer leading-edge technology, and 3. provide clear added value on the services and products they offer. It is, of course, difficult for any particular bank to be positioned as a leader in all three areas, but achievable to be known as excellent in one. Banks should select an area of special focus, based on research of what is meaningful to their customers, and build expertise in it.

3. Expand share of wallet with older consumers. The oldest consumers are most favorably inclined toward banks compared with competing financial institutions. …

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