To understand the kinds of stories that are being told about your brand, start by examining the experiences your customers have each time they come into contact with you. What is it like to do business with you? How do the touchpoints your customers encounter make them feel?
One bank we worked with was astounded that their customers took umbrage at the prominent eye-level signage on all branch doors: “Remove your hat and glasses before entering.” A practical step to reduce robberies, as the bank thought? Or an unintentional message that says to customers “You are not trusted” or “You are not good enough to do business with us,” as more than a few customers said?
Another bank had a teller that gave dog biscuits to pooch-loving customers when Fido and friends showed up at the drive-through teller. When the teller left the bank (and took the doggie treats with her), brand loyalty scores at the branch turned stale, as well. In fact, they plummeted. It took some time to discover the reason, but now fresh doggie biscuits are a staple at every branch, and the bank is creating powerful connections with dog lovers (and their friends and families!) throughout the area.
This is where the power of stories comes into play. Consumers tell themselves stories. They also tell their friends (also known as “word of mouth marketing”). And the power of brand stories to influence actions and beliefs is as old as the spoken word. And as much as consumers distrust financial services providers, they trust their friends and business associates. This is why delivering a consistent, differentiated and branded customer experience is so important.
It really comes down to better managing and improving the experience, earning loyalty by proving your commitment to your customers, delivering a consistent brand experience one interaction or touchpoint at a time, over time.