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.

Google trending the economy

Recently I posted a blog about how Google Trends “predicted” the recession. While I was there, I decided to see the search trend on the term “economy“. I wondered how it would compare. Here is Google’s trend chart:

aaronhoos_googletrends_economy

This chart fascinates me for a couple of reasons:

  • The current economic climate is not prompting people to search for the word “economy” any more than any other economic climate. I’d have guessed that it would be higher.
  • Not surprisingly, there is a valley through the third quarters when everyone is away on vacation and not thinking about work or business or the economy.
  • There are slight peaks at the end of every quarter, which makes sense that people are thinking about economic factors that might influence their EOQ results or forecasts.
  • What surprised me the most was the large dip at the end of the year. It’s as if people are so focused on Christmas and New Year and the opportunities for the year to come that they stop searching for “economy” information? While there is often a small spike at the end of every quarter, there is a huge dip at the end of the year; and in every case, that end-of-the-year dip is greater than the summer dip.