Can You Hear Me Now?

Eric Cook

What’s Your Communication Strategy?
You may recall the commercial from Verizon Wireless where a technician appears in a variety of places and utters the now famous question, “Can you hear me now?” The message the commercial tried to convey was their cellular network had better access in more places, and no matter where you were, you could be heard by the person on the other end.

What’s that got to do with banking? In today’s hyper-paced world of “message overload,” your communication strategy is more important than ever. In order to ensure that you’re being heard by “the person on the other end,” making sure that you are using the right channel, in addition to saying the right things are important factors to a successful delivery (and understanding) of your message.

Picking the Right Channel
If you want to connect with the members of the “Gen Y”, should you be sending them direct mail or even e-mail messages? What about the use of mobile phone and SMS (simple message service, aka “text” messages) or connecting with them on Facebook? Ensuring that you understand the different customer segments you serve at your bank and what their preferred method of communication (the “channel”) is important to making sure that you have the opportunity to be heard. All too often bankers assume that our customers will adapt to our communication efforts, but the reality is some of our information never makes it to the ears (or eyeballs) of the intended recipients because we picked the wrong channel.

Delivering the Right Message
Once you have the right method to deliver your message, it is important to have a good understanding of WHAT you are saying. For example, while many senior managers want to see immediate ROI for marketing efforts, if you try to hard-sell through social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn you will quickly alienate listeners and they will start to block your message. The “social” channels are much more about relationship building and enhancing relationships than they are about pushing products and services. If your message is not crafted the right way, even if they can “hear” you, they won’t want to “listen” for too long.

Eric Cook will be presenting the session Communication Channels at the 2011 IBA Applied Technology and Operations Conference on October 25-26,  exploring these and other “communication” issues that will help to ensure you are not only saying the right things at your bank, but saying them in a way that will ensure people will want to hear what you are saying. Eric Cook is an internet business consultant with WSI. Cook  also teaches at the Graduate School of Banking at Madison where he instructs on the topic of social technology on campus and through their online classroom.

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