Business Guidance

Two Ways to Build Your Business and a Solid Reputation

The reputation of today’s banker has taken a hit as a result of the financial crisis in 2008 that led to hundreds of millions in fines paid by the large money center banks. A recent Gallop poll revealed that Americans’ trust in banks has fallen to an all-time low of 18%. This challenge facing our industry has forced us to focus on regaining the public’s respect. As we have worked to preserve our strong reputation, we have found two great ways to earn trust and new customers: customer engagement and community involvement. These two best practices can be put into place by any business. Here is some insight I’ve gained on using these principles to build your business.

Customer Engagement

One competitive advantage of being a community bank is that our customer engagement is higher than national banks. This benefit is not born out of our unique products and services, but from the way we make our customers feel valued and the personal attention provided throughout the year.

While it will vary by business, I find touching base with my customers at least quarterly helps build a strong relationship. After a solid foundation has been built, each subsequent call or visit can be used to introduce the customer to a different segment of your business. Focus on where you can add value or help solve a problem they may be facing. As you build trust through customer engagement, not only are you more likely to build that customer’s relationship with your business, but that customer will also be more likely to refer you new business.

Community Involvement

Another avenue that allows us to gain the trust and respect of our customers is through community involvement. At Univest, we know that we are only as strong as the communities we serve. This is why we are actively involved in economic development, civic organizations and philanthropic activities. In fact, in 2015, Univest provided more than $1.5 million to support the communities we serve.

In addition to providing community support at a corporate level, individual employees can volunteer in the community. I’m lucky to work with people who share my passion for volunteer service – Univest employees clocked 17,647 hours of service in 2015! To get started in your community, choose a volunteer position or event for which you have a personal passion. While being active in the community can help build your business, it is also a great way to spend quality time with your family. Community events such as a YMCA 5K or community park clean-up provide a great opportunity to involve your entire family. A familiar saying is, “All business is local.” This is a great motto to follow – having a good relationship and establishing a solid reputation with people in your community is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business.

While the overall reputation of the banking industry has declined over the past decade, by staying committed to adding real value for our customers through personal attention, targeted financial solutions, and community involvement, we have been able to continue to grow our business. With a sincere focus on customer engagement and community involvement you can do the same.

 

Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC and an Equal Opportunity Lender.


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