First Impressions Matter for Financial Institutions

When a new customer walks through the doors of a financial institution, they offer potential. They have the potential to be a loyal customer, a promoter of the financial institution and a lucrative business partner. Walking through the door confirms that the financial institution’s promotional strategy is working – they learned about the brand and were inclined enough to stop by. Needless to say, the pressure is on to impress this individual. However, impressing a new customer is easier said than done. How can staff make a meaningful connection? How do they connect without seeming pushy? When is the right time to offer new products? Consider the following aspects for a positive new customer experience:


If nothing else, hear what new customers want. Specifically, listen for their reasons for looking for a new financial institution, negative experiences they’ve had in the past, and any other information they offer. This information tells you about where their head is at, and what their biggest grievances are. Importantly, this information should be documented in a CRM tool, so their second visit repeats the success of the first.

Make Their Business Feel Desired

Customers are highly aware of the value they offer, especially for a financial institution, where relationships tend to be long-lasting. Similarly, they will be skeptical, especially if they were dissatisfied enough to leave their old financial institution. Showing respect and appreciation for their business is an obvious but important box to check. Most financial institutions do this well, so it won’t set yours apart, but neglecting this aspect is a sure way to lose out. Inquisitive questions, full attention, short wait times and showing general respect help communicate appreciation for their business.

Meet Their Most Pressing Needs

Understanding what new customers want through attentive listening yields opportunities to impress. If customers are considering a loan and are concerned about their credit score, help explain the different elements that might affect their score. Serve them in their core need to the best of your ability, and they will thank you.

Overcome Learning Curves

New customers might be used to different procedures, interactions and online interfaces. Help them get settled in as easily as possible. Be proactive to things about your financial institution that might be new to the customer, and avoid business jargon. Help walk them through online banking and get them set up. Show them your institution’s mobile app capabilities, and show how they can save time using mobile deposit. Getting your new customer settled in and comfortable will help to overcome any growing pains your partnership would otherwise experience.

Cover Their Blind Spots

What isn’t your new customer thinking about that might be important? Perhaps there may be charges they should know about, which is always better than an unpleasant surprise. Maybe they need to switch their direct deposit to their new account with you, or switch any automatic payments from their old debit card onto their new one. Proactively addressing these easy-to-forgot details shows the new customer you’re invested in their wellbeing.

Don’t Push Anything on Them

Finally, it’s important not to push the new customer toward any specific products or services they haven’t requested. Sometimes, financial institution reps push their own agenda too hard instead of considering the customer. When the customer senses they’re being sold to, they switch off and begin to wonder if they’ve made the right choice in their new financial institution. It’s important to establish trust by meeting your customers’ needs, and anything besides their most pressing needs should be postponed until a strong partnership is established.

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