Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

How to Make Good Use of Web Site "Listening Posts"

Magazine article ABA Bank Marketing

How to Make Good Use of Web Site "Listening Posts"

Article excerpt

With the development of tiny Web-based "listening posts," it seems that we have come full circle in our ability to get instant feedback from our customers. In the old days, most banks--and businesses for that matter--were small and the managers sat right there on the banking floor and could sense when things were not quite right. There was no need then for consumer research, attitude polls, mystery shoppers or other formalized statistical methods to gauge customer satisfaction. If something occurred that rubbed customers the wrong way, customers would complain right there to the manager. The manager, who was always sitting close by, served as a listening post.

Inevitably, though, things changed. Banks became bigger, enabled by a combination of technology, economies of scale, permissible laws and encouragement from the financial markets. In the process, unfortunately, customers became "smaller" as managers moved off" the banking floor to upper-level offices, and in today's world, to distant cities where it is hard to listen to local customers.

But today's emerging Internet-based technologies are changing this. Not only is the Internet enabling customers to obtain just-in-time transactions, account information, and other services from the comfort of their own home, it is also enabling bankers to "listen" to their clients from across an ever-widening footprint.

While customer surveys have long been a device to keep managers informed on the successes or failures of marketing strategies, the data gathering (processing) costs valuable time.

Today, more and more businesses, including banks, are beginning to deploy "listening posts" on their Web sites. These include a variety of traditional, but online surveys that can gather and report customer attitudes with almost no latency. But the most novel and interesting "listening post" is the tiny "Please Rate Our--" applications, where the blank might be "Web site," "bill pay service," "online statements," "new banking hours," or just about anything you might want to know about. …

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