Many financial institutions think about technology first, trying to roll out the most sophisticated and elaborate suite of technology they can muster. Despite this, they sometimes fail to engage their customers in a meaningful way because their customers were never the focal point of that technology in the first place.
Pre-existing services, the status quo, a well-intentioned focus on technology, and overwhelm due to change all distract from a truly customer-centric financial institution. Take these steps with your executive and management team, and consider these five ways you can encourage a customer-focused mindset to permeate throughout your organization.
Listen and Prescribe
When interacting with your financial institution, most individuals will have a specific need in mind, whether it’s a type of account they’re looking for, a finance issue they need solved, or a technological tool that could improve their life.
By actively listening and understanding their needs, rather than trying to push a generic sales pitch on them, comprehending what type of product, service or solution your customer is seeking will help understand the choices they make and how to best interact with them.
Understand All Paths
Every organization functions with a multitude of customer journeys. Think about different ways to map them out and understand every single interaction your customers have with your brand.
How do they learn about new products and services? How do they access information you provide? What third parties do they use? Understanding the learning process gives your organization a say in this process, where you can inform, provide value, and make a pitch for your own products.
Create an Advanced Profile of Your Customer
As an organization, your should be working to quickly build a strong rapport and understand of the intricacies of your customers’ lives, particularly in terms of their financial situations, and how you can best serve those needs. What is the economic circumstance of your customer? What is their rental/mortgage like? What are their unique financial needs? Understanding these circumstances will dictate the way they interact with your products and services, and make you a more sophisticated service provider.
Develop Trust With Customers
Make sure your employees focus on providing value first, and selling second. While your staff is trained to execute a number of tasks and to promote your services, their number one priority should be helping your customers or potential customers. Active listening, laser focus on the issue at hand, and creative problem solving are all the most important skills your staff should focus on, while viewing your products and services as tools to resolve customer needs. Sometimes, customer needs won’t result in immediate financial benefit for your organization. This is okay, and should be encouraged — your employees should be more focused on relationship building than on creating a transaction in the moment.
Teach Soft Skills
Specific coaching around useful behaviors will make a world of difference in differentiating your organization and creating an environment that treats customers like gold. Make sure your staff is focused on providing value, and that they have the tools necessary to do so. Beyond educating them about your products and services, you should focus on training soft skills like active listening, establishing a more robust financial background, cross-training to encourage use of the universal banker, and leveraging resources to come up with creative solutions.