July 26, 2014

Bank merger integration plans should keep employees focused on customer retention

A bank merger can leave customers wondering about a lot of things, including new fees and reduced services. I remember when the bank I used was acquired by a much larger, but far less tech savvy bank several years ago. My bank’s easy-to-use online banking system was replaced by the acquirer’s antiquated system, which had me immediately looking for new banking options.

The Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions conducted study entitled, “Beyond Day One: Minimizing customer attrition during bank mergers and acquisitions.” The findings from the online customer surveys showed I certainly wasn’t the only banking customer who felt like making a switch after a bank merger. The study states: “Beyond simply minimizing customer attrition, the acquirer has an opportunity to drive additional growth by making a positive first impression on its new customers, communicating the bank’s brand and value proposition, and starting the process of building customer loyalty.http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Industries/Banking-Securities-Financial-Services/b1a85303cd3d7210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm

While regulators require that the new bank brand appear on signs when the bank merger is complete, rapid brand implementation also allows the acquirer to communicate its brand and value to customers. Poor communication leads to uncertainty, which can cause customers to look for new banking options. When the new bank brand quickly appears on physical branded assets (signs, ATMs, transactional materials, etc.) and digital branded assets (websites, online statements, etc.), customers more easily understand the acquiring bank’s brand and value proposition.

The Deloitte study also discusses moments of truth – high-impact events that shape customer attitudes, trust, and loyalty during a bank merger. Acquiring banks need to understand customer moment of truth experiences and support employees in delivering high quality services during bank merger activity and beyond.

To support employee behaviors, the acquirer needs to have a strong internal communications plan in place to keep employees in the loop. In addition to ongoing communications, employees need to stay focused on their primary jobs instead of taking on extra responsibilities during the bank merger.

Brand implementation is one area where few bank employees have expertise, even employees in branding or marketing departments. Because we handle brand implementation every day, we know how to keep employees in the loop about the rebranding process so they can focus on their own roles during the bank merger.

Most bank mergers involve outsourcing some merger integration services to experts. Brand implementation is both time sensitive and time consuming – the perfect merger integration service to outsource to experts so bank employees can stay focused on keeping customers happy.

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