E-Mail Offers Customer Solutions For Financial Services Companies

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Through the use of brochures, direct mailers and customer service hotlines, banking services companies have their bases covered when it comes to customer communications, right? Not quite, according to "The State of the U.S. Investment Banking & Securities Industry" report.


The report discloses that financial services companies have only recently discovered how to use the Internet to improve management and communication with customers. Furthermore, only a few financial services companies are using e-mail to gain the competitive advantages it provides. These pioneering companies know that e-mail helps gather more customer information, provide better service and enhance customer relationships.


In a time when it is critical to provide timely and accurate information on transaction and company news, most financial services companies have not joined the trend of incorporating e-mail into customer relationship management strategies. If yours is one of these companies trying to find the missing link to its CRM strategy, e-mail might be your answer.


One of the nation's largest bank holding companies is using e-mail to change the way it does business. This firm uses e-mail to deliver customized newsletters that incorporate market summaries, news, price indexes and mutual fund and stock briefs to its 16 million customers. This service enables the company's customers to tailor the e-mail messages to their individual needs and interests. E-mail is also a viable way to keep customers abreast of company news and developments.


E-mail has allowed this company to deliver the latest industry news to its customers. What is even better is that e-mail has improved the company's customer relationships, brand re-cognition and has substantially reduced the costs of printing and distributing routine communications. With e-mail, financial companies have the ability to achieve a level of immediacy and intimacy with customers online that would otherwise be impossible.


Picture this: Your customers navigate to your company's Web site. They subscribe to your company's e-mail newsletter and receive news about your company on a daily basis. They have opportunities to customize their financial news, click through to information they really want and return to your site regularly. They are reminded daily, if they choose, about your company, your services and how you can help them. Most importantly, these customers remain loyal to your company and confident in the services it provides them.


The following are other ways e-mail marketing can give financial companies the competitive edge they seek:


Differentiation -- In an industry overflowing with companies promising to give customers the highest quality service and the most promising financial advice, what differentiates your company from the rest? Whether using e-mail to send regular newsletters, financial updates or news about special campaigns, e-mail can give your company the opportunity to distinguish itself from the competition. Through e-mail, companies also have the chance to reinforce and convey company cultures. This is an opportunity for your company's individuality and personality to come through to your customers.


Customer retention -- Customers who choose to subscribe to e-mail marketing services are receiving the information they want through the communication channel of their choice. On the other side, companies providing open lines of communication and access to immediate customer service are ensuring their position as the customers' trustworthy financial adviser. These companies are more likely to win customers' financial commitment and develop more profitable customer relationships.


New technology -- With more than 200 million users worldwide, e-mail is holding steady as one of the hottest applications on the Internet. In the financial services industry, however, e-mail is still a relatively new and innovative communication tool. Forget the brochures and piles of paper; e-mail is a timely, cost-efficient and customized way to communicate company information and news to your customers.


With ever-improving security and the advent of electronic signatures, it's anticipated that governments will eventually allow e-mail communications to take the place of legally binding paper communications such as contracts and stock trade confirmations. Forward-thinking organizations will have such e-mail programs in place and quickly cancel more expensive paper predecessors.


Customization -- What is the first thing you do when you receive snail mail that doesn't apply to you or your lifestyle? If you are like me, you throw it away. The same holds true for e-mail. This is why it is important for e-mail messages to be customized according to consumers' needs and interests. When your customers receive the e-mail messages they want, they keep reading the e-mails, keep returning to your company's Web site and keep giving you their business. Customized e-mail messages can help the most important part of your company: its bottom line.


Though slow to catch on, e-mail is finding its place in the banking services industry. Communication with customers is key, and e-mail provides the appropriate channel to target the right customers with the right messages. Once their e-mail volumes begin to grow, many companies outsource their e-mail delivery and management.


Outsourcing allows companies to focus on their core competencies while still enjoying the benefits of a strategically integrated e-mail communications campaign. With all of this in mind, what's stopping your company?
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