Getting to know you

An engaging social media presence is just one way Santander connects with its customers, explains Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Santander UK.

Fresh ideas

To get the most out of any relationship, and for that relationship to be successful and sustainable, you have to put in as much as you want to get out. In business, your key relationship is with your customers. Here, alongside being steady and reliable in your core service or product, you also need to keep things new and exciting and to ‘add value’. This fresh approach to going beyond the basics is being termed ‘hybrid value-added’ and following the economic crisis many businesses see it as the way to differentiate themselves from competitors. Whether your company is an SME or a larger corporate, this concept is certainly worth some consideration.

Getting the message out

However you add value to your customers, communication will play a part in how your business attracts and retains them. This issue of Business Up Close focuses on relationship marketing and how social media can help not only to get the message out about what your business is and does, but also to gather information from your customers. Facebook is a favourite platform for many leading businesses, as it provides the space and flexibility to feature tailored, quality content and to enter into a dialogue with customers. It also allows for ‘joined up thinking’ with other marketing activity. Many businesses are seeing the benefits of having a presence on other social media channels, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The trick is finding out where your customers like to spend their time and concentrating your efforts there.

Make the connection

At Santander Corporate & Commercial, we like to think we are ahead of the curve in communicating with customers via our own social media presence. By following our LinkedIn page, for instance, you will gain access to a wealth of relevant and useful content, including articles, profiles, interactive debates, links to other sites of interest, product information and more. Our YouTube channel is another place where you can find out, directly from our existing customers, how our relationship approach has benefitted businesses, along with interviews from financial experts. We are always working to enhance our social media activity and would love to hear your thoughts on what you might find useful.

Working together: relationships are key

We pride ourselves on our unfaltering passion for helping companies, big and small, to achieve their goals. Here too, we do things differently, making sure that we are tailoring our solutions to our customers' needs, even when requirements are complex. One of our customers, machine tools firm Engineering Technology Group (ETG), came to us wanting to restructure and expand their business when they were not getting the support they needed from their incumbent bank. We saw the scope and potential of the business plan and agreed to refinance an MBO, with solutions including a term loan, invoice discounting, an overdraft and a loan against property. In March, ETG made a key strategic acquisition which has seen the company double in size overnight. John Temple, Group Operations Director, said: “Santander is part of our plan to move forward. I’m confident the team will be there when we need them.”

Watch this space!

Finally, this is a pivotal year for Santander Corporate & Commercial as, not only have we rebranded, we have also made significant investment in the development of our IT platforms and systems, as well as enhancing the solutions we offer. We have already launched new currency deposit accounts and new current accounts and introduced add-on account functionality such as Sterling sweeping. Currency account re-launch, currency sweeping, notional pooling and intraday liquidity will be coming soon.

We have also started to migrate our existing customers over to our new Santander Online Corporate Banking platform, which has enhanced features and benefits – we aim to have the majority of our customers up and running with this new Online Banking platform this summer. We are also excited to announce that we will soon be offering this tool to new customers. An initial pilot roll-out has resulted in high customer satisfaction ratings, with positive feedback around usability and functionality. More details will be coming soon, including a demo site – so watch this space!

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK