Not unlike retailers, banks are challenged to provide a quality, consistent customer experience in their locations and online. Analysts have said that we’re in the Age of the Consumer, and that is apparent – people want to feel like their bank knows them, understands what they want and need, and helps to fulfill those wants and needs from any channel they choose. They want personalization, both with regard to the relationship they have with their bank, and in the product/service mix they are offered.
While the potential lifetime customer value is high if you can meet these demands, the challenge of earning that loyalty is real. Chances are, you serve thousands of customers. Do you know how to identify the wants and needs of each individual so you can make them feel appreciated and valued?
Think of your favorite store – it’s highly likely that one reason you like the store is because of a particularly knowledgeable and attentive salesperson. They are always ready to help, they know what you like, and they have a sense of what items work well for you.
You rely on the knowledge that the store always has something that will meet you needs. You know you probably will walk out with a new item – whether or not you had gone in with something specific in mind. That is the same kind of confidence, reliability, and ease that people want from their bank customer service.
Keeping in mind that customer experience is perceived, not created, there are a few things you can do to encourage the parts of a bank relationship that keeps your customers happy and loyal. A large-scale study of banking customers identified five main elements of a great bank customer experience.
- Protection Customers expect their bank to protect their personal information. They want to confidence that the information stored in the bank’s system is safe. It’s important to provide clear protection measures on your app and web page so customers can complete their transactions without worry.
- Rewards Every customer wants to know what a bank can do for them. Today, most consumers say that they do not receive a reward from their bank. Banks need to offer a variety of rewards to suit the variety of desires from their customers. One person might want a preferred rate, another might want cash back, another might want a gift card to a place they like to shop. And they want their bank to acknowledge their loyalty with rewards for milestones like customer anniversaries, dollars spent, cash saved, or meeting personal financial goals.
- Wealth Building One of the main reasons that people put money in the bank is to grow their personal wealth. Most welcome advice about investments, estate planning, and even tax planning. Customers say they trust their bank as an authority and want it to be a single source of investment channels and education about investments, portfolio structure, transferring wealth, and tax ideas.
- Know me as an Individual Human beings like to feel special and unique. Making each person you serve feel like you have their best interest in mind is one of the surest ways to a great customer experience. To do that, you have to know enough about each customer – like what their investment and estate planning needs, cash management goals, even lifestyle aspirations might be. Data is a great way to gather this kind of information, but so are personal relationships.
- Cash Management A customer wants real time access to a customized summary of their account activity – when and where they want it. Your banking app and website should enable each customer to personalize what they can see and do. Prioritize features like want is 24/7 account access, payment notifications (in and out), current account balances, automatic money transfers triggered when an account reaches a certain threshold, and push alerts (e.g., cash flow problem like an overdraft). Even daily emails can’t provide a full picture.
The consumer banking market is crowded. Customers can choose from or build a mix of traditional storefront banks, online banks, and fintech companies (e.g., PayPal). No wonder customers want more than they did five years ago. They can expect that their bank will be more than a place to deposit and withdraw money and seek financial advice. By taking a few steps to individualize the customer experience, your bank – and your customers – stand to benefit from a profitable relationship for a long time to come.
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