This Digital Bank Marketing Lesson Comes from an Unlikely Source

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Levenger publishes the good with the bad, along with their replies.

Some marketers avoid acknowledging even the slightest negative word. That’s not just naïve but risky. When a negative tweet can reach millions, the only question is whether you want to try turning complaints to your benefit or leave them to them run rampant on their own.

That is why last week I dared digital banking marketers to show their laundry. For a look at how that can be a winning strategy, I commend you to respected catalog marketer Levenger. They publish every customer review, good or bad, of every product, and bazaarvoice guarantees it. Even more courageous, review sort options include “rating–low to high.”

These are not acts of self-sabotage. For one thing, posting the negative increases the credibility of the positive. For another, Levenger uses bad reviews to showcase good policy. Take, for instance, the response they posted to a criticism of their iPad Mini folio: “…We apologize this case did not meet your expectations … Customer satisfaction is our first priority and we offer a 100% guarantee on all of our products. Please contact our customer service center at 1(800) 544-0880 to discuss how we can make this right.” Or take their reply to an unhappy leather billfold owner, which, besides offering a replacement, says, “… We have forwarded your concerns to our Product and Development team for review … [and they] have made improvements to the design of the wallet that will eliminate previously encountered problems.”

With a few lines, Levenger shows that they willingly replace or refund, that feedback does not fall on deaf ears, and that the design team actually uses feedback to improve products. You may be dissuaded from buying the folio or billfold, but your confidence in the risk-free nature of doing business with Levenger will only rise.

Occasionally there is the odd complaint from the customer who thrives on being displeased. (We all have them.) Levenger doesn’t take the bait, and counts on reasonable customers to understand.

Do not turn up your nose because the catalog business isn’t the banking business. Catalogers were the original interactive marketers. (Benjamin Franklin had a mail-order catalog.) We ignore 200-plus years of the art of customer interaction and satisfaction at our peril.

So, bankers, back to you. Do you have the courage to publish pans as well as praise, put on display your approach to handling complaints, and use valid feedback to improve products and practices?

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