Post-merger graphics

Post-Conversion: A Critical Window for Communications

In planning customer communications for a bank merger, you’ll need to focus on the strategies that ensure a smooth transition of your newly acquired clients to their new accounts and services. The same holds true when it’s a systems conversion impacting your own customers.

Once customers have migrated to their new accounts and their first statements have arrived, that’s when additional communications may matter most in the long-term.

Smart, legally required conversion communications often provide not just key change information, but also some much-needed reassurance, a believable dose of optimism, and an introduction to your key brand promises. You’ll then earn a honeymoon period—a 30- to 60-day window after conversion that is your moment of truth. During that time, here are a few strategies for consideration:

  1. Identify and target your at-risk customer segments.

Despite your efforts to communicate an overall positive message about new opportunities, some of your new customers may be faced with a fee increase or other negative impact. If your goal is 100 percent retention, you may want to find a special offer that you can make—a reduced loan rate, an exclusive savings bonus rate, or anything that will make customers feel like they’re getting something of value as goodwill. It can make a world of difference.

  1. Introduce new opportunities to deepen relationships.

Nothing enhances customer loyalty and longevity better than a solid relationship. During this honeymoon period, when customers tend to re-evaluate account choices, you have a perfect opportunity to expand relationships by cross-selling additional services. You could focus on those that may be newly available to them, such as wealth management, or products with special benefits, like a feature-rich relationship checking account.

  1. Reach out before fee waivers expire.

In many product conversions, fees are waived temporarily to give customers time to make account and balance adjustments. As the waiver end-date approaches, it’s always wise to follow up with a reminder, especially to those who might experience a potentially negative impact. Clearly communicate alternative solutions to help customers continue to avoid fees. Always encourage conversation with a banker to identify what’s best for each customer.

  1. Give your bankers tools to communicate effectively.

A warm welcoming letter from a banker, perhaps with a recap of contact information to have on hand, can mean a lot to new customers. Give your bankers some letter and email templates they can use as well as talking points that reprise key brand attributes, which bankers can reinforce and validate on a more personal level.

Remember, in any merger or conversion, engineering a smooth transition is only part of the job. What happens after, in those first few crucial months, is where the rubber meets the road. So, make sure you close the loop on the promises you made at conversion with the right kinds of follow-up communications. You’ll build a more loyal and profitable group of new customers as a result.

MKP communications inc. is a New York City-based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, and flawless execution, exclusively for financial services clients.