Attracting and retaining customers is extremely important to the success of any business. However, it is generally easier and more cost-effective for businesses, especially financial institutions, to keep current customers happy and engaged than to acquire new ones.
Financial institutions, in particular, value retaining deposit accounts. Therefore, it is important for financial institutions to constantly remain in contact with customers to not only maintain great customer service but also their accounts.
Companies that wait to contact an account owner until the account qualifies for statutory unclaimed due diligence risk the account being inactive for 3 to 5 years without any owner contact. This is a negative practice as it gives the owner time to forget about their account and allow it to become inactive.
Therefore, reaching out to a customer after one year and encouraging them to take action on their account as soon as possible yields significantly better results than waiting until it is time to send due diligence letters when it comes to keeping their account active. Luckily, when businesses reach out after one year, Dunbar generally finds they receive an 80% response rate and greater from those customers. Unfortunately, on the other hand, statutory due diligence generally only yields a 20% to 30% response rate.
Furthermore, with a greater response rate, financial institutions can significantly reduce their unclaimed property liability. This also lessens the time they would have to spend reporting unclaimed property to the state. It also decreases the likelihood they will be subject to an audit for not abiding by unclaimed property reporting rules and regulations.
It is important for companies to keep in mind that the ideal time for them to reach out is when an account reaches inactive or dormant status. When this occurs, the account is not yet unclaimed property. Therefore, the owner can freely and easily reactivate it, saving the company they have the account with from having to issue them a due diligence letter or report the account as unclaimed property.
Best Practices for Early/Enhanced Customer Outreach
When companies plan to take part in enhanced customer outreach, there are a few best practices they should keep in mind when contacting their customers.
First, when companies contact their customers, they should give them a call to action. This means encouraging them to do something, such as log into their account or contact them to reactivate it. Giving customers a goal or action to strive to take, increases the likelihood that they will do so.
Second, once companies make contact with their customers, they should provide them with multiple options or ways to respond. These options may include a postage-paid envelope, email, or 800 number that directs them to the customer service department. Companies want to give customers many options, so they can take the one that is easiest for them, increasing the likelihood they will respond.
Third, companies should keep track of if they receive any returned mail that could not be delivered to their customers due to a bad or incorrect address. If they receive returned mail, they should strive to find updated addresses for those customers and resend the mail. Customers will be unable to respond and reactivate their accounts if they never receive notice from the companies via mail asking them to do so.
Lastly, when companies move forward with making enhanced customer outreach, they should train branch employees on the importance of account retention. Furthermore, when someone new enters a branch, they should check to see if any accounts are dormant. If they are, the companies should then update the date of last contact with the owner of the account.
Companies can rely on Dunbar to help them with this process. Dunbar has an owner-location service that assists financial institutions in retaining customer accounts. Our consultants can provide companies with updated address information for account owners, send mailings to the new addresses, and search for executors or beneficiaries of deceased account owners. Therefore, companies do not have to tackle enhanced customer outreach alone. They can work with Dunbar to help them expedite the process, completing it quickly and accurately.
Dunbar is a reputable provider of unclaimed property compliance services, offering a comprehensive suite of solutions to help organizations remain compliant with all applicable laws. With a professional team with decades of experience, Dunbar is the ideal choice for businesses seeking a reliable and knowledgeable provider for their unclaimed property compliance needs.