Oh, boo hoo. Bank of America is holding me hostage. It is going to charge me $5 more a month yet provide me ABSOLUTELY NO NEW SERVICES. And I cannot change to a new bank because…well, because…well, I can actually…but I don’t even want to think about it.
There. In 50 words, I have just summarized the 1237-word article from this weekend’s New York Times about what, apparently, Occupy Wall Street should really be occupying.
Two highlights from the story:
“Tedd Speck…was furious about Bank of America’s planned $5 monthly fee for debit card use. But he is staying put after being overwhelmed [emphasis mine] by the inconvenience [emphasis mine] of moving dozens [dozens !?!?!?] of online bill paying arrangements to another bank.”
“…fewer consumers are switching banks, with 7% of them estimated to be moving their primary account…down from 12% last year, according to surveys by Javelin Strategy and Research.”
Welcome to the marketing phenomenon of structural bonds.
Emotional bonds get customers to relate, like, love, and advocate. Physical bonds put products in their hands. Structural bonds are the glue.
They are an added dimension in the customer’s decision process – something else he or she needs to think about when choosing among the competition. Think loyalty points. Think iTunes. Think free auto check-up service every six months.
Think online banking. A convenience for everyone – customer, bank, and payee. But a bigger one for the latter two, hence it is given away “for free” to the customer.
If it is compelling enough, it thwarts switching. As we see, to a ridiculous level in the BofA case. Just a few simple steps would “unglue” things.
- Cancel online payments.
- Pay by paper check for one month.
- Set up online payments with new bank.
Two to four hours of effort to “set it and forget it” for a whole ‘nother year. Value your time at $25 an hour, and voila, that new $5-a-month debit card fee makes sense. Bank of America just exposed how much its “glue” is worth.