For consumer banks, reputation management is a competitive issue. It is true that having a bank account is a necessity of modern life. It is also true that geographic location is a deciding factor for many people choosing a bank.
But it is also true that banking is fiercely competitive and any bank that neglects its reputation is likely to be sorry.
The best-managed banks know this and seek to be pro-active in promoting a positive reputation. Recently one of the nation's largest banks instituted a program to hire 100,000 military veterans. The offer was made at a time when veteran unemployment was at a very high level; therefore this bank earned a lot of good will by making this well-publicized offer.
The best reputation management for banks is often pre-emptive
But in recent years, much of the publicity earned by consumer banks has been bad. Since the financial meltdown of 2008 many people are looking at banks with a skeptical eye. Recently one bank tried to impose a fee every time a debit card was used. There was such uproar that the bank not only earned itself a mountain of bad publicity but they ended up having to reverse their decision.
This could have been avoided had this bank done a little thinking before implementing a policy that would be so unpopular.
Because of the prevalence of social media, it does not take long for mistreated bank customers to put their complaints on the Internet. This may take the shape of complaints about bad service, lack of respect or unfair practices or fees. It can also be complaints from disgruntled employees.
Once these complaints hit the Internet, the process to neutralize the bad publicity can be lengthy and expensive.
If a bank values its reputation with its customers, the best thing it can do is to follow the golden rule and treat its customers and employees as valued assets.
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