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Checking Account Growth – It’s Go Time!

Posted May 3, 2017 - Cindy J. Draper

It’s go time! New account activity peaks spring through fall, so now is the time to put your acquisition strategies in place. Our client data shows a consistent national trend each year with new account openings. The new account activity increases in early spring, the momentum created by tax returns and nicer weather. A second peak occurs between June and September, followed by the lowest period of activity in November and December. Right now, we’re experiencing the first spike in activity, so it’s time to make sure systems are in place and strategies are aligned to get more than your fair share of new accounts.

Each new customer or member who enters your branch is a great opportunity. This visit may be the most time you ever get to spend with them, so make it count. It’s time to audit the experience of a new account holder.

Roadmap/New Account Process

  • How is the time being spent? Is there a roadmap to the conversation to ensure a good conversation flow and that all key areas are covered?

Workflow

  • Are employees leaving the customer or member to scan, copy and print? Are there any efficiencies you can add to reduce time on processes?

New Account Personnel

  • It can be tempting to rush through the process. Remember this consumer drove to your location to open the account – they are seeking a financial advisor, not somebody who cursorily completes the paperwork.
  • Is the employee confident and knowledgeable? Do they ask questions to identify and understand the account holder’s needs so they can offer solutions?
  • Are they offering to assist with moving direct deposits and automatic payments?

Consider having a member of management open a new account on a regular basis to examine the process and determine if there could be improvement in the customer/member experience.

It is during and after the account opening that you set yourself apart from the competition. The onboarding process is key in building the relationship with the new account holder. How can you impress customers or members during this critical time in your new relationship?

Open Communication Channels

  • Establish communication channels with your new account holder. How do they prefer future communication? Do they prefer a phone call, email, text, or mail? Young adults greatly prefer to send a text rather than to pick up the phone. If that option is available, it can facilitate drastically better communication. More mature individuals may prefer a phone call. If this is the case, which number and what time of the day is a good time to reach them? Let the account holder know to expect future contact so it is expected.
  • Send thank you notes shortly after account opening. Have the relationship manager who opened the account write a personal note and mention something specific that was discussed during the new account process so the customer or member feels valued and remembered.

Onboarding

  • Having an onboarding strategy is just as important as having an acquisition strategy. If the new account isn’t activated, you haven’t become their primary financial institution. Onboarding starts with moving direct deposits over. Offer to assist the account holder with this process and changing any automatic payments over to the new account.
  • Check the customer’s or member’s new account to see if there is debit card activity during the first 10 to 14 days. If there is no activity, the new account personnel should verify that the account holder’s new debit card was received and see if they need any additional assistance during a follow up call.
  • Switch kits just don’t work. If the account holder uses automatic payments instead of bill pay, offer to get the actual forms they need for automatic withdrawals instead of a generic one. It’s a good idea to have the major utility companies’ forms on hand to better assist with the process.

Follow Up

  • Follow up with a thank you note, phone call, and letter from management. This personal connection makes the customer/member feel that their business is valued and appreciated.
  • Make note of future sales opportunities from your new account interview and follow up with the customer/member. If the account holder mentioned they had a CD maturing in early July, contact them in late June with your rates and other investment options. If the account holder mentioned they have a child needing a new car in the fall, contact them in late July with auto loan rates. This kind of attention will set you apart from your competitors. Customers/members want to know they are important to you.
  • Ask for referrals. Don’t forget to ask these new account holders to refer their friends, family and colleagues. If you’ve provided exceptional service to your customers or members, they won’t hesitate to make referrals.

Focusing on all the little steps makes a big difference in getting the relationship and retaining accounts. To maximize the opportunities during peak new account opening seasons, act now to ensure you have all the processes in place. It’s go time!

For assistance with digital referral programs, onboarding processes, and activation strategies around new and existing accounts, contact Velocity Solutions.

Cindy J. Draper

Cindy is a Retail DDA Strategist and Director of Training at Velocity Solutions. Cindy has over 20 years of experience in the banking industry. She has worked her way up through the ranks, holding positions as teller, teller supervisor, personal banker, loan officer, branch manager, loan administration manager, and vice president of retail banking and marketing.