A couple of years ago I was in Australia speaking for the World Council of Credit Unions. One day I was walking through the neighborhoods of Sydney when I noticed stickers on mailboxes that all basically said the same thing, “NO JUNK MAIL” Some had the word junk mail in the red circle with the line through it, others had just the words, but clearly there was a movement afloat. Or so I thought.

The next day I asked one of the locals what was up with the junk mail protest. He said, “Oh, it’s no protest, it’s now the law. If you have that sticker on your mailbox the postman is obligated to return it to sender.”
I know what you’re thinking, and I said it. “How does HE (she) know that it’s junk mail?” This beautiful Australian just looked at me, put his hand on his hip and said, “Oh please…”

Guess what? There’s already been legislation introduced here in America to do the same. It didn’t pass, but it’s out there.

I asked a group of marketers last week what their response rate is on their direct mail efforts. Less than 1% seemed to be the average. OR, a 99% failure rate. Without a coupon or reply mechanism of some kind I asked these folks how they KNEW that their marketing efforts mattered? They really didn’t. Sure, we do the funny ROI math that says, BEFORE we spent X dollars on our postcard we have X in loan-of-the-month. AFTER we lowered the rate and spent those dollars on postcards, we had more loans-of-the-month. Therefore, we were successful. Really? I’m surprised we’re still allowed to get away with that.

Great service will generate great word of mouth, which in turn will grown your business. I know that sounds simple, but it’s true — especially in banking where, as Ken Blanchard put it, “Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low, and because nobody else is doing any better.” The bar is set pretty low. Customer service in the financial institution world (and I’m talking about all y’all here) in a word, sucks. The only way we think we can get business any more is to cheapen ourselves.

We have to stop begging for business. Now we have to earn it.

Oh, and if you want to read more about the movement to ban direct mail:http://www.newdream.org/emails/ta19.html