The Bank Channel quotes Javelin Research as saying that:
Banks should move fast to open their blog sites if they are not to miss out on a powerful new brand building and customer interaction capability.”
My take: Whoa, not so fast.
You don’t have to convince me of the potential for banks to use blogs to engage customers, strengthen the relationship, and build true customer loyalty.
But you can’t simply create a site on WordPress or Blogger (or hosted within your existing site) and say “here we are! we have a blog!”
For many banks, simply doing that is likely to produce one of the following:
- Deafening silence as nobody participates.
- Deafening noise as customers rant about their service issues.
Or possibly something in between (but closer to the first) as a few employees (maybe even the CEO) post a few entries, and a few comments trickle in.
The challenges that many banks face in trying to build strong customer relationships aren’t going to be overcome simply by blogging. A blog has a better chance of helping when you already have a set of engaged customers, or at least, customers inclined to engage with the bank.
On top of that is the question of blog strategy and execution. There are two good examples to use to contrast different approaches: Wells Fargo and Verity Credit Union. Wells has created four distinct blogs, each with a distinct topic focus. Verity, in contrast, has a single blog site, covering a range of topics that are driven (I think) by the contributor.
Both are excellent sites, but accomplish very different objectives. The common thread is a set of contributors, who, although maybe not dedicated to the blogging effort, are certainly highly committed to it.
So let me ask you this, oh budding bank blogger….is there a set of employees in your organization just chomping at the bit to blog, and who will invest their time on top of their existing workload?
And on what topics do you expect to blog about? Everything under the sun or just certain things? And why would your customers care what you have to say about those topics?
And which customers, exactly, do you think will come flocking to your blog to converse with you, fall in love with you, and give you all their money? Us baby boomers, who, quite frankly, trust you about as far as we can throw you?
Or will it be the younger consumers who you mistreated when they were in college when you socked them with overdraft and ATM fees?
And how will you promote your blog, and where are those funds going to come from?
[Let me know when you’ve had enough, I could go on for hours]
Bottom line: Don’t rush to blog, banks. You’ve got a lot of work to do before launching one.