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Solutions Marketing | Bank Of America Review

Solutions MarketingThe best online businesses engage in top level “solutions marketing”.  That means they identify their customers’ problems, and offer them the solutions they need.

I recently had some dealings with one of the biggest banks in the world, Bank of America.

Now, this is not a business start-up, or a bootstrap entrepreneurial enterprise.  So, you might expect that Bank of America is really way beyond caring about their customers problems, much less going out of their way to help solve them.

 

This Was My Problem

I’m not a special customer of Bank Of America.  I have a regular account with them, no big deal.

I recently got written notice from them that they were closing my branch, and all the accounts were being transferred to another bank.

I called the branch manager and explained that this was really an inconvenience.  I had just opened my account a few weeks earlier and had already spent a lot of time setting up my online bill paying account.

Furthermore, I was primarily interested in some very particular e-banking functions that I could only find at their bank, and that was the main reason I switched my account to them in the first place.

 

The Bank of America Solution

I honestly had little expectation that my little problem was going to weigh to heavily on the heart of the manager.

Nonetheless, he immediately offered a solution to my problem.

He helped me switch my account to another Bank Of America branch that could service me with the particular account options that I required.

I was impressed.  This guy really seemed to care about my small dilemma, and he had an immediate solution.

But that wasn’t the end, of course.

Now, I had to formally switch my account from one branch to another.  What kind of hoops would I have to jump to get that done?

To my surprise, I didn’t have to do anything! 

The manager simply told me he had taken down the information from the phone call, would put it all into a letter that would be sent to me, and all I had to do was approve it.

That was it. 

No Dead Ends, No Detours.

Problem solved, matter closed… one simple little phone call, and I was only put on hold for about 30 seconds.

 

A Fine Line Between Customer Service & Solutions Marketing

So, I suppose this story tells you something about the high level of customer service that Bank of America has.

But it tells more.

It tells the story of a very fine-tuned business model that considers a customer’s problem as an opportunity to score big points by presenting a suitable solution.

You see, I don’t think Bank of America just has a great customer service platform.  I believe that they understand that by solving my little problem, they have positioned themselves to reap huge marketing benefits.

Not only am I a happy customer, but I will certainly spread the good word about a bank that seems to really care about my problems.

What better marketing strategy could there be, than to solve the problems of existing customer?

It’s far more cost effective than throwing tons of money at ad campaigns just to try to get new customers, especially if you were likely to lose the confidence of those customers with slip-shod customer service.

This is, it seems to me, the very essence of “solutions marketing.”

 

Solutions Marketing and Promotion

So, how about it, internet marketers and network marketers, bloggers and the all the online entrepreneurs out there?

Is your money well spent on costly advertising campaigns and elaborate SEO strategies?

Promotions are great.  But even the best advertising campaigns and traffic driving methods in the world will capture just a tiny percent of the people exposed to them.

How much effort do you put into driving traffic to your blog or Facebook page? How much money do you spend promoting your product, your business or your service?

Don’t you think it makes good marketing sense to put at least as much effort into solving the problems of the readers, subscribers and customers you already have?

I do.

In fact, solving the problems of folks who have already given you their trust is far more effective and economical than always trying to find new ones.

Remember, your best customer is the one you already have, not the one you’re trying to capture.

So, treat them like the gold that they are, not as a nuisance.

I’m happy to say, Bank of America is one brick and mortar business that I think “gets it”, when it comes to solutions marketing.

How about your business?

Does it put more emphasis on getting new customers and subscribers, or keeping the ones you already have?

What steps do you take, or might you be able to take, to offer solutions to their problems?

I’d be happy to hear your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.

And please share this article with the folks on your social sites.

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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22 Responses to Solutions Marketing | Bank Of America Review

  1. Ryan Biddulph September 28, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    Hi David,

    Real talk here! I have been an online BOA customer for many months now. A1, top of the line customer service from them, through and through. I really believe in what you say. Taking care of your current customers, team members, readers or subscribers makes your job much easier.

    No need to strain and strive, generate hoards of leads or drive yourself nuts looking for new business. Of course we need to push ourselves but if we do thinks from a karmic space, word of mouth marketing will grow our business as we seek new business from a calm, confident space.

    Take care of home base, right? 😉

    Thanks for the awesome share David!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph´s last blog post ..9 Tips for Creating an Irresistibly Delicious Blog

    • David Merrill 101 October 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

      This is the whole point to building a killer online business, Ryan.

      Keep the business you have by treating folks right, and you don’t have to spend a fortune in time and effort trying to attract so many new customers. First of all because you already have a solid and loyal client base, but also because your business will become a magnet to new clients, with hardly any effort on your part.

      What a nice way to get it done.

  2. Willena Flewelling September 29, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Thanks for sharing that, David. It sure is good to know there are still companies out there, online or brick and mortar, that go the extra mile to accommodate their customers and clients.

    People are not just a number — they are real people who have hopes and dreams and goals, just as we do. When they know we care, and will listen to their concerns and do what we can to help them to achieve what is important to THEM, then it is inevitable that our businesses will grow.

    Willena
    Willena Flewelling´s last blog post ..Red Letter Week

    • David Merrill 101 October 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      They key is to focus on what’s important to our customers, not to us.

      You’ve hit it on the head, Willena.

  3. Silviu September 30, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Hi David,

    Interesting. However, as you said, this is not enough proof they have a great customer service. It might be simple luck. An intelligent man with a new mindset, at the right place at the right time.

    Who is the mindset carrier? The institution or the individual that works there? Also, how many such examples can you offer from your daily experience?
    If this is something common that happens with most firms, companies, banks etc., then yes, the mindset has changed and there is a new corporate culture.

    Unfortunately, other articles of yours suggest it is not the case. Until then, this story is a good example of business models that everybody must learn.

    The principle is obvious for you and me and other people. Unfortunately, it seems they are not the majority, yet. This means articles like this must be constantly promoted in order to help educate people about the new business model and mindset.
    This is what I’m gone do right now.

    Have a wonderful day
    Silviu´s last blog post ..Clean and Optimize Your WordPress Database with WP Optimize

    • David Merrill 101 October 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Ok, Silviu, your point is well taken.

      It’s pretty hard to get a real impression of a business’ attitude (or aptitude for that matter), from a small sampling of anecdotal accounts, or isolated encounters.

      You’re absolutely right.

      We can give our review though, based on that sampling, and see what experiences other commentors like yourself, may have had. That way, we start seeing a pattern evolve.

      Thanks for your insights, here, Silviu.

      I look forward to your educational efforts in presenting us with “the new business model and mindset”. Let me know when you’ve got it together.

  4. William Earl Amis, Jr. III September 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    David, this is right on the point!

    To many of us lose focus on retaining the customers we have. Thinking about ways to thank them for doing business and returning time and again. You can just send them a post card say how you appreciate their business with your picture on the front.

    Just little things mean allot and keeping the customer happy and interact with them more. They are like your army of little men out here to spread the word on how wonderful and caring you are. Word of mouth says it all.
    William Earl Amis, Jr. III´s last blog post ..Catching Purpose

    • David Merrill 101 October 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Little things really do mean a lot, William.

      Very few of us consider the big picture within which a company or entrepreneur operates their business.

      But we always remember the smile, the snicker and all those intangible feelings we get from our experience with vendors.

      • William Earl Amis, Jr. III October 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

        David, yes I just experienced an amazing retaining moment with a customer. He was wondering if I could help help keep is customers and get new ones without all the expense of traditional marketing.

        That was my time to shine at all not additional or any cost. I do not charge for my lifetime support He was amazed being with me for over 20 years now. I kept the same quality support and he gain me 5 new customers to support. Just for helping him.

        Now, what goes around surely comes around in less than five minutes. That is all it took.

        David thank you again for being yourself 100% of the time. I love you Man!
        William Earl Amis, Jr. III´s last blog post ..Mirage of a business

        • David Merrill 101 October 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

          Good story, William.

          You can’t argue with true life success, and you always seem to have plenty of that to go around.

          Thanks for sharing it here.

  5. nick catricala September 30, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Hey David,
    for a second I was thinking that you and Donna run into another roadblock or challenge with your move to the new city and home… I was happy to read that was not the case 🙂

    Read your whole article, wow, I say to my self, David was lucky to get to talk with a manager who knew what to do, wanted to do it and went ahead to do it as best as any one could at the moment that was supposed to do it.

    wow, that made me feel good about your situation and knowing that there is great people out there, managers or not, trained or not and most of all since it was a Bank manager of a big Bank, it made more sense that what he done after chatting with you and understanding your challenge, he went a step ahead to help you and at the same time fulfil that great small part that is so important to retain a customer and not screw it up with the possibility of loosing a customer for life.

    Happy for you that your needs were met and happy to read how you described as a good “solution marketing”.. something I normally do an d probably over deliver as well, but after reading your article I made a note to make certain I keep that in mind every time I talk or connect with a customer or client or a friend for that matter.

    On a side note, I was a long time customer of one the 3 biggest banks here in Canada, CIBC, for many, many years until a encountered a teller and a manager that they stuck together not to help me in a situation that I needed some help (it was their mistake in refusing a person to deposit a cheque in my account, and since they recognize was their fault, they stuck together so it “proved” I was in the wrong…and it was my business to solve the challenge. You see, a person claimed the bank did not allow him to deposit a cheque on my account and it took me months before solving the dilemma when it could be solved in 5 minutes if the teller and/or the manager would make a call to ask the person to come back to the bank any time and deposit the cheque because it was now ok to do so… they did not and so, as soon the man deposited the cheque, I made certain I moved my account to a different bank…

    So when you wrote “Don’t you think it makes good marketing sense to put at least as much effort into solving the problems of the readers, subscribers and customers you already have?” my answer is a HUGE YES… and hope every one else does it as well…

    David, thanks so much for sharing yet, another story that is serving others to stop and think what is best to do when confronted with any similar situations.
    _nickc
    nick catricala´s last blog post ..The Twelve Sacred Principles of Karma

    • David Merrill 101 October 2, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Nick, and for sharing that very enlightening story of your experience with CIBC.

      It’s amazing to me that so often, instead of a business catering to your needs and bending over backward to solve your problems, they seem to delight in ruining your day and reminding your that THEY will dictate how things go down. Your opinion means nothing to them. After all, you’re just a customer.

      They don’t seem to realize that it’s YOU (not their boss) who is really paying their salary. After all, if enough of “you” walk out the door and don’t come back, then even the “boss” will eventually be looking for a new job.

      I hope, when that happens, the people involve all learn the lesson that it’s far better to solve customers’ problems, than to flaunt their authority.

  6. Shelley Alexander October 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    David, Thanks for sharing your experience with BOA. It’s great to know that a company of their size still understands the importance of treating the customers they have right and solving their problems immediately. You have covered some excellent points in how to run your business in this post and I especially agree when you said ” put much effort into solving the problems of the readers, subscribers and customers you already have is far more effective and economical than always trying to find new ones.”
    Shelley Alexander´s last blog post ..Gut Healing Cherry Coconut Water Kefir Smoothie

    • David Merrill 101 October 13, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      I’m sure you know how important it is to work at keeping clients and customers, instead of always having to replace them, Shelley.

      It’s on of the keys to building a business instead of constantly reinventing it.

      Unfortunately, a lot of online marketers have not yet learned that lesson. Hopefully the little Bank of America story I’ve told will be a bit of an eye opener for them.

  7. Clint Butler October 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Identify a problem, and provide a solution. I would have never coined the term solutions marketing. Rather I would have just called it doing good business. Interesting post David.
    Clint Butler´s last blog post ..Get Traffic To Your Blog By Learning How To Syndicate On Facebook

    • David Merrill 101 October 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      And right you’d be, Clint. It all boils down to common sense good business that, mysteriously, is not practiced by too many entrepreneurs and corporations alike.

  8. The Food Curator October 11, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    David, I find within big organisations or corporates, it is the individual who makes the difference. They will all have a customer “charter” outlining their commitment and level of service they promise you, but you wouldn’t feel that talking to some employees. Glad you had a good experience with BoA, maybe they have a great training program for staff….or maybe you got the right guy…
    The Food Curator´s last blog post ..The food of Lanzarote

    • David Merrill 101 October 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Lol, Michael.

      You could be right. Maybe I just got the right guy.

      To the extent that this “right guy” reflects the company training, though, they do seem to be getting it right.

  9. Nile October 13, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    You’re a lot luckier than some of the people around here in southern Illinois. A lot of them closed around here and people were really pissed off. These branches didn’t even give a solution, but because I had originally had my account in another state and knew it was possible, I had mine transferred. I didn’t care about an occasionally ATM charge… just that I could bank online with them which worked best for me.
    Nile´s last blog post ..Niche Recommended WordPress Plugin Series: e-Commerce

    • David Merrill 101 October 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

      I had the same concerns as you, Nile.

      I was really interested in maintaining a Bank of America account because their mobile and online banking seemed to be the best available, especially if you’re on the go and moving about from state to state on a regular basis.

      I suppose they were not able to be so accommodating to folks who primarily wanted an over the counter bank.

      • Nile October 21, 2013 at 1:56 am #

        They were actually very rude until I decided to tell one of my friends to bring me with them and let me talk with them.

        I ended up lecturing them and reporting them to their headquarters because of their poor attitude and lack of knowledge in transferring accounts. People just wanted to be sure that they had their money and wanted a choice of where it went.
        Nile´s last blog post ..Interview With An Influential Blogger: Sadie Lankford

        • David Merrill 101 October 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

          Yea, I know these sorts of reviews are very anecdotal, Nile.

          Like some of the comments I’ve received here, maybe I just got lucky. But if enough people do enough reviews, maybe it starts forming a larger picture.

          You think?

          Anyway, I guess my larger purpose is to take lessons from brick and mortar experiences and reflect on them as they relate to our online businesses. Those lessons are valid, I think, regardless of whether the particular experience is typical or not of the company reviewed.

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