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BNP Paribas Fortis: how their hotline make them lose customers

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Websites have become nowadays a tool to attract and retain potential customers. They either allow the visitors to perform certain actions by themselves or get a trigger to call an agent.

This mechanism is especially important in B2C transactions where customers want immediate contact. The role of hotlines is therefore to make the customer acquisition process as smooth as possible to increase the acquisition rate and retain as many potential customers as possible.

My personal experience in looking for a new home insurance shows that BNP Paribas Fortis has designed its hotline in such a way that everything is done to AVOID attracting customers.

The reason is simple. If you call the hotline the first thing the agent will ask is a BNP bank account number. I wasn’t customer and hadn’t therefore a number to give them. What happened next ? He told me he’d check the “methodology” for non-customers. And after 30 seconds he said I unfortunately couldn’t get a quote.

What was the solution ? Very simple according to the agent. Go to one of the BNP branches, identify yourself with your ID card and you will get a number. Call us back with this number and we’ll provide you with a quote!

I asked the agent to repeat what seemed to me to be a joke; He wasn’t unfortunately joking.

To sum up :

  1.  BNP Paribas Fortis doesn’t allow NON customers to get prices for the products they sell
  2. They ask non customers to go to a brick-and-mortar BNP branch to complete an online process


Advice for your marketing strategy

If you don’t want to lose prospects, do your best to avoid SCARYING them. Simplify processes and allow prospects to do what they intended to do.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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