Banks aren’t hearing WIIFM

I’ve grown to hate in-branch banking. I’m all about online or ATM transactions and I’ve been with the same bank for over a decade and nearly everything but my mortgage is at this one bank. And it’s a good bank, I’m very very happy with them. I pay nothing in fees, I never have to go into a branch, they give me lots of bonus stuff. I’m a happy customer.

Well, I just got off the phone with another bank — the one who holds my mortgage. It was a sales call and they were trying to get me to switch to them. But it was possibly the worst pitch I have ever heard. They asked me what I liked about my current bank. I said “no fees, and not having to go into the branch”. So they told me: “If you switch to us and do fewer than 15 transactions in a month, you’ll ONLY pay $4/month in fees and you won’t have to come into the branch either… except to meet us and get set up with your account. Oh, and you’ll need to open another type of account with us; like an investment account.”

There was a moment of silence while I waited to hear more. “Surely there’s GOT to be more!” (a set of steak knives, even?). But I never heard it. That was their pitch. To sell me on switching to them, they’re offering to take only $4/month in fees and a couple hours of my time.

Then, they tried to move me along in the sales process by saying: “Is the King St. and Wilson St. location still the closest one for you?”

Now I’m shocked. That location was the closest to me 16 years ago when I lived in ANOTHER city 1,413 miles away (I just checked on Google). These people have my current mortgage and, apparently an address for me that is over a decade and a half old.

So, when I corrected him, he was able to find a closer branch and asked me if a morning appointment or afternoon appointment would work better.

Uh, no. Neither. I got off the phone before he wasted any more of my time.

LISTEN UP, BANKS:

Let me break this down for you in the simplest terms:

When people buy things, they buy because they get something out of it.

It is called a “benefit”. (“BEN-e-fit”)

People like benefits and it motivates them. (“MO-tiv-ates”)

When you try to convince someone of something, you need to offer them a benefit.

But there’s two important factors:

The benefits you offer need to be greater than the current benefits they receive.

And, the “cost” of getting those new benefits need to be less than the “cost” of inaction.

Unfortunately, the bank that called me just now got it backwards.

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