Monday, November 30, 2009

Do you have a relationship with your bank's ATM?

Recently, on what I'd call a less than average day I visited a Wells Fargo ATM. We've all used ATMs before and are familiar with the buttons and messages and probably could conduct most transactions blindfolded. However on this day something caught my eye and then made me laugh out loud. No it wasn't that someone had deposited a large sum of money in my account, but an image of colorful balloons and this message on the screen "Congratulations on your third anniversary. Thank you for being a valuable customer."

I'm a marketer and a nerdy one at that so I probably responded more positively than the average banking customer, but still this was remarkable and ended up being the highlight of my day. Wells Fargo delivered this personalized message at exactly the right time. I had in fact relocated to San Francisco just three years prior and opened my account with Wells because the WAMU bank across the street happened to be closed.

I was already an emotionally loyal Wells Fargo customer and there aren't many brands for which I advocate. Wells Fargo understands the importance of having a single view of its customers and has a clearly defined value proposition which is personified by the brand and communicated in all channels: retail brick and mortar, ATM, direct mail, and call center. This is truly remarkable for a decentralized enterprise in the banking industry and will enable Wells to build customer loyalty, increase customer lifetime value, and sustain profitability.

This provides another valuable lesson to marketers which is that you do not have to buy customer loyalty. There are dozens of ways to establish authentic relationships with your customers besides free shipping, discounts, and points. It starts with a single view of the customer which is the foundation of a winning CRM strategy.