by: Chris Lawer
First Direct, a progressive UK bank, pushes further ahead with its customer advocacy strategy by creating Little Black Book - a recommendations site for First Direct customers to post tips and advice on restaurants, travel, shops, people, reliable builders, money-saving tips etc. etc.
As a third of FD customers join via recommendations from existing customers, this makes perfect sense. As the site states:
As first direct customers, you'll know by now that we're not like other banks. We tend to do things a little differently. We know you appreciate that - and that's precisely why we wanted to create the Little Black Book.
Or rather, why we want you to create it. Because the Little Black Book isn't just another review site. It's more of a unique source of inspiration - a collection of interesting recommendations made by people like you for people like you that you're unlikely to find anywhere else but here. And it's exclusively for first direct customers.
This is neat. And is one smart and low cost means for financial services companies to rebuild customer trust, provided the service is not abused for seller-centric motives. As I have written previously, operate within the wider context of customer need, some advocacy companies operate a branded community, in order to deliver expertise and advice for customers. For example, Farm Credit Canada provides the means for its farming customers to participate in a peer community where they can help each other address non-financial services related problems (e.g. farm safety), especially those concerning the day-to-day running of their farms.