Isis Wallet, the app that links a credit card to a smartphone so users can make in-store purchases, is changing its name. That’s certainly understandable, give all the atrocities that the militant group Isis is committing in the Mideast right now.
But in our opinion, the new name, Softcard, is less than ideal. The term “soft” implies something that lacks power or capability and should be avoided in any financial services context — especially given all the credit card security breaches that have occurred over the past year. Customers want to know that their transactions are protected, and the term “soft” doesn’t inspire certainty.
News reports claim that the Isis Wallet is having trouble gaining traction. The new name won’t help matters any.
Photo: Tuija Aalto (Creative Commons)
Every year, CoreBrand releases a report featuring the most and least respected publicly traded companies. This year, the 10 most respected corporate brands are:
5. Johnson & Johnson
10. General Electric
Not one financial services brand made the list. Companies that make soft drinks, snack foods and cereals are held in higher esteem than those that manage money.
Other research confirms this. According to a survey of more than 30,000 people in 15 countries, conducted by P.R. giant Edelman, financial services is the world’s least trusted industry.
Certainly the financial crisis had something to do with the low trust level. And the high interest rates charged on credit cards. And the Madoff scandal. We could go on and on in listing reasons.
So if you’re a bank, credit union, insurance company or brokerage firm, what can you do to renew consumers’ trust?
Draw inspiration from companies that made the list. Like Apple, for example, a company whose products enrich people lives. Or IBM, a corporation that’s working to achieve a “smarter planet.”
The key to winning back trust: Add value to the customer (and we’re not just talking about interest on a checking account). So what does this mean exactly? A Forbes article published last year, “How Can Bankers Recover Our Trust?” offers some specifics:
Financial nstitutions need to:
• make money the result, not the goal of their activities
• find new ways to secure the financial future of their customers — and make their lives better
• demonstrate that they care about their customers’ well-being, seeing them as people, not wallets to take money from
• see their credit cards as vehicles for helping customers pay down their balances — and warning them of any late fees they’re about to incur
There are other points, but you get the idea. If you’re a bank or credit union, make it your business to find ways to make your customers lives easier, less stressful — and more financial rewarding.
Make your business about human interest, not just the other kind of interest.
Photo: Kimberly Brown-Azzarello (Creative Commons)