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KPI: A must-have tool for financial institutions

August 8, 2017

 

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are becoming an increasingly important tool for financial institution executives as they move into the future. True to their name, they offer a measurable, quantifiable look at how well a financial institution performs over time on key drivers of revenue and profitability. Examples of KPIs include, but certainly aren’t limited to new accounts opened, products per customer or net promoter score.

With more data available than ever before, it’s important to understand the power of KPIs. Specifically, managers and coaches should have a firm grasp on what harnessing and measuring KPIs can do for their financial institutions, and what they can’t do.

What can KPIs do?

Show revenue streams by performance. A good example of a KPI is the total dollar value of an individual revenue stream, and executives use KPIs to answer questions about their incoming revenue. What are a financial institution’s total account holdings? What portion of their loans are car loans versus mortgages? Understanding the performance of these different revenue streams helps directors and executives know where trouble areas are and where opportunities lie. They can understand which elements of their financial institutions are most important to protect and have an accurate picture of their business priorities.

Encourage hypothesis. When executives look at their strengths and weaknesses, they can make inferences about why those strengths and weaknesses exist. This is particularly important when a KPI trends up or down, which opens the door for next steps of research and insights. For example, if the amount of new accounts opened is dropping each month, executives should try to understand the root cause. Are fewer customers coming through the door? Do local competitors offer a better interest rate? Are employees failing to convert prospects into customers? Executives don’t have a crystal ball, but guessing and testing these different hypotheses can help, especially to redirect faltering KPIs and mitigate lost revenue.

Highlight importance of customer relationships. Customer relation KPIs, such as loyalty index, net promoter score and customer relation feedback, help executives understand what makes their financial institutions better or worse than their competitors. Iterative scoring, along with qualitative feedback directly from customers, helps executives make sense of what is on their customers’ minds and what is important to them. Feedback gives context to the areas of the financial institution that are thriving or faltering, and often offers a recommendation for improvement.

What can’t KPIs do?

Teach employees how to interact with customers. Scoring alone can’t explain the interpersonal skills necessary for a successful customer experience. More feedback in the form of customer experience research is necessary to understand KPIs. For example, executives can use KPIs to learn that consumers are increasingly dissatisfied with a bank’s call center, but they must dig deeper to understand how to improve. Often, subtle interactions send strong messages about a financial institution’s brand. Customers need to feel respected by their financial institutions, and the institutions need to actively promote relationships and look for opportunities for growth. Coaching, qualitative feedback and close observation are needed to develop true mastery of customer interaction.

Create a strategy. KPIs are great starting places for developing a strategy for improvement, but they’re far from the final plan. They illustrate strengths and weaknesses, but coaches and managers need to work with their staff to create a plan of action. If a KPI is constantly improving, how can they expand that aspect of their business and seek out new opportunities? If a KPI is faltering, managers need to coach employees on specific actions for improvement, or look at their financial institution’s value propositions and understand where they might fall short compared to competitors. KPIs are wonderful diagnostic tools, but understanding a problem alone doesn’t offer a solution.

KPIs are becoming increasingly specific, and managers are working with partners to measure KPIs, understand them in an easy-to-digest manner and use them to direct the priorities of their financial institutions. These tools have limits, but their ability to direct attention and establish data-driven confidence makes them an important element of financial institutions’ decision making, and they will become increasingly utilized in the future.

Financial institutions: Are you leveraging benchmarking data?

July 12, 2017

An example of benchmarking categories

When a financial institution evaluates itself to identify opportunities for improvement, key performance standards, also known as benchmarks, are essential. Benchmarks paint a clear picture of a bank’s performance. More importantly, benchmarking sets up a long-term framework the bank can use to consistently measure its performance against key performance standards over time. This feedback, gained directly from customers, is invaluable for managers.

In 2017, benchmarking is a practice every financial institution should undertake. Key performance metrics are centered around impacting the bottom line, and improving benchmarking scores results in improved revenue. Things like overall customer satisfaction, customer evaluation of employee performance and wait times for help from call centers influence customer decisions. Happy customers are likely to open new accounts, develop more comprehensive relationships and vocally advocate for their financial institutions.

One of the most effective ways customer experience researchers and performance managers help their clients is by not only executing benchmarking programs, but by giving their financial service provider clients context around the benchmarking. Which metrics are being measured? How does customer experience vary across different channels? How does one financial institution’s performance compare to its closest competitors? The context of these answers brings benchmarking to life for managers.

Metrics

One of the ways managers learn about their overall customer experience is through a variety of metrics. Different metrics about specific performance indicators give managers perspective on their financial institution’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, a financial institution may have highly competent individuals in its call centers, but have a long wait time. As a result, customer satisfaction may be low with their call centers. Without standalone benchmarks for “call center employee performance” and “call center wait time,” managers wouldn’t have a clear understanding of why customers feel dissatisfied. A manager may falsely identify irritable employees as the issue, instead of the wait time. By having clear benchmarking obtained through feedback, financial institution managers can properly diagnose their underlying business issues.

Channel

Another source of context for managers of financial institutions to learn about their customer satisfaction is through various banking channels. Lending (consumer, mortgage, business/commercial), online, mobile, branches and call centers all offer unique challenges and opportunities. Mobile, self-service banking apps need to be optimized for a simplistic user experience. On the other hand, branch employees need wear many hats as trusted advisors, and need to be able to answer a multitude of diverse topics for customers. Benchmarking not only these different channels, but the most important elements within each channel, helps clarify financial institutions’ strengths and weaknesses. Then, leadership and financial officers can work together to decide where to best invest their time and resources to drive improvement.

Competition

One of the most valuable uses of banking for financial institutions is to reference against their competitors. This can be delineated in ways like portfolio makeup, asset size and geographic region. By gauging against competitors, financial institutions discover their own relative strengths and weaknesses. Strength areas can be promoted to customers as a competitive advantage, while weakness areas can be targets for resources and enhancement. Working with customer experience researchers and performance managers helps to assess the risks and benefits of each category strength and weakness to further specify a financial institution’s biggest opportunities.

Benchmarking offers a multitude of valuable insights financial institutions can’t afford to pass up. By developing key performance metrics and making consistent efforts to improve benchmarking scores, financial institutions can stand on firm ground knowing the resources they invest in today will enhance their revenue and business goals tomorrow.

Millennials Want Universal Bankers

June 14, 2017

Millennials expect better customer service than past generations, and universal bankers offer a unique and valuable perspective of their needs and wants.

 

The universal banker, or a multi-functional, jack-of-all-trades combination of a traditional teller and a personal banker, helps retain and solicit millennial customers. As highlighted in this Forbes article, millennials seek out convenience and personalization in the brands and companies they do business with, and the universal banker addresses these deeply embedded preferences for financial service providers.

Customer experience.

Millennials expect better customer service than past generations, and they consider good customer service a form of reciprocity for their choice to do business with the brand. They know they are valuable to a business, and they want to see that value reflected in the service they receive. Furthermore, they are highly aware of competitor options, and are more likely to be deliberate about the brand they choose to support, especially for major, ongoing relationships, like their bank or credit union.

A universal banker satiates millennials’ thirst for quality customer experience by providing a single human touchpoint during an interaction with their financial institution. Working with a single representative prevents millennials from repeating information or restating their wants and needs to multiple representatives. It reassures the millennial of their financial institution’s competence when the sole representative they interact with shows expertise on a variety of topics and questions. Additionally, millennials are exceedingly informal, and like to avoid navigating an impersonal hierarchy of different financial services departments.

Personalization.

Universal bankers offer a unique and valuable perspective of the millennial customer by having a holistic view of their needs and wants. Consider the following scenario: A millennial goes to her financial institution and explains she needs to open several savings accounts for different savings goals. Traditionally, she may have been redirected to a new accounts specialist, and would have to explain her needs all over again. The universal banker addresses her needs without redundancy, and answers her questions in a consultative way. Are there any other accounts she should open for long-term savings goals? What are the minimums required for each account? Instead of the client restating her need and getting frustrated, the universal banker provides expertise and make recommendations. For more complex requests, the universal banker quickly establishes rapport and understands the client’s whole financial picture, rather than being isolated to specific services.

Why are universal bankers valuable to financial services providers?

The universal banker is a product of the increasing demand for customer fluency and one-stop financial solutions. With more banking occurring online and being conducted by customers via apps, the moments of interpersonal interaction with millennials are unique chances to delight them with a seamless experience. Universal banking requires minimal preparation on the part of the client, and creates a chance for the financial institution to address their needs/problems quickly and painlessly. Additionally, the opportunity for one representative to become an expert on the individual customer enables the universal banker to recommend additional services or accounts the customer hadn’t considered. When all goes well, these customers leave a branch, phone call or chat window having worked with one representative and feeling happy they reached out to their financial institution. Clients become enthusiastic advocates for the brand, and remain loyal to the institution that values their business.

The Future of Banking in 2017 – and What it Means for the Customer Experience

January 26, 2017

2017 outlook and predictionsIn this season of annual meetings and strategic planning, those with a 30,000-foot view on banks and credit unions are predicting what the year will bring. Some of these predictions are fueled by polls and studies, while others come from the informed instinct of seasoned experts. Having served the financial services industry with quality customer research for 30 years, CSP is interested in how these predictions could impact the customer.

So let’s review some of what the experts foresee for banks and for customer experience trends across industries, through our own unique lens:

“Banks will open 1,000 new branches, with an emphasis on the right location.”
– David Kerstein, BAI Banking Strategies

Our Take: The influx of digital channels has had banks questioning the relevance of the branch for years now. As banks reassess and update their branch placement, they will need to look to their customer data to evaluate how the new locations are serving the customers, both new and current, now using those branches. Brick-and-mortar branches aren’t dead, but the successful banks will be the ones who optimize the in-branch experience around customer needs.

“CEOs will exit at least 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set needed to drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth.”
– Forrester’s
2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer

Our Take: As we’ve reported before, more and more CMOs are finding themselves saddled with the responsibility for the customer experience. While not a traditional marketing function, new research unequivocally proves customer experience to be not only a decisive factor in brand identity, but also in differentiation within the marketplace. An alternative would be the fairly novel position of CXO – Chief Experience Officer – but the point remains that this person would need the left-brain/right-brain balance of data analysis and experience design expertise.

Consumers will take more control of their financial relationships and will look for digital tools for advice and insight. Banks will come to realize that fintech is not a threat, but rather an opportunity.”
– Bryan Clagett, CMO at Geezeo (
as reported by Jim Marous at the Financial Brand)

and

“One product that will likely receive greater attention in the next year is digital personal financial management (PFM). As customers develop higher expectations of their banks, reporting basic account data is no longer enough. Today’s banking customers are in greater need of financial advice than ever, and internal data silos prevent banks from providing effective and personalized guidance.”
Rob Guilfoyle of Abe, a customer service AI for financial institutions

Our Take: Customer loyalty is all about that relationship-building.  Digital tools and advances in artificial intelligence add convenience and responsiveness to daily transactions. That said, customers still like to talk to real live people when it comes to more complex money matters. That means understanding both the uses and the limits of automation and AI. Fintech-enabled solutions should seek to bridge the gap between software and staff, providing customers a direct and convenient channel to a trusted advisor.

And let’s not forget that a great customer experience starts with the employee experience:

Creating a culture of continuous feedback will be top priority for organisations and is being driven by millennials’ expectations for regular, ongoing feedback and the increasingly fast-paced business environment.  Adopting tools that enable people to receive regular feedback from different sources, such as peers, customers or multiple managers for instance, will therefore become more and more important for boosting engagement among the growing millennial workforce and improving overall productivity.”
– Sylvia VorhauserSmith of PAGEUP, an HR solutions provider

Our Take: Regardless of what generation the majority of your employees were born into, transparency and trust are essential to a healthy workplace environment. Any manager who is charged with giving employees feedback on their performance must be willing to take feedback, too, and to use it constructively for the benefit of the whole team. That’s the kind of leadership that builds a healthy and productive company culture. Smart employers will have structured systems in place to allow for this multi-directional feedback, as well as training and development programs to foster leadership. (Hey, we know a thing or two about that…)  


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3 Lessons Banks Can Learn from Wells Fargo’s Mistakes

October 17, 2016

wells fargo made mistakes that should give other banks pause

One of the biggest banks in the U.S., Wells Fargo, made one of the biggest mistakes in recent banking industry history. By pressuring their sales staff to grow the number of customer accounts by nearly any means necessary, they wound up crossing some major ethical and legal lines and created a scandal that has hurt the bank in more ways than one.

In September 2016, after the scandal broke, Wells Fargo’s stock (WFC) fell to the lowest levels seen since early 2014, and the bank saw profits drop 2.6% for that quarter. Regulators issued $185M in fines, and lawsuits are lining up from consumers, employees, and shareholders. CEO John Stumpf was publicly grilled by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the video of which quickly went viral, and he retired shortly thereafter.

This could happen anywhere.

There is nothing particularly special about Wells Fargo that made it the breeding ground for shady practices. In the competition for customers, all banks face continuing pressure to prove their success to shareholders and grow the business. Wells Fargo may have had the audacity to push the envelope into scandalous territory, but in theory, this could have happened anywhere. So what can banks learn from their mistakes?

1. Don’t sacrifice Quality at the expense of Quantity.

Wells Fargo was driven to these practices by a hunger for more – more customers, more accounts, more sources of revenue from fees associated with said accounts, more impressive numbers to show shareholders. Obsessing over the numbers is not the only way to grow a business. Ideally, customers choose you and stay with you because of the quality you provide. When a bank constantly strives to improve the quality of its customer experience, everyone wins.  

2. Don’t assume customers will tolerate anything.

Wells Fargo is one of the oldest and most recognized names in banking. Once a business is that established and secure, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that customers will tolerate misbehavior like aggressive sales tactics or public scandals. Switching banks isn’t easy, especially once a customer has multiple accounts and assets tied up with one institution. Maybe Wells Fargo assumed that the potential risk of angering or losing customers was too low to worry about. That’s a dangerous assumption to make; it’s safer to assume that customers are always watching and waiting for you to give them an excuse to switch to a competitor. Customers have already been letting Wells Fargo know how they feel: branch visits fell 10%, checking accounts 25%, and credit card applications 20%, compared to the previous year.

3. Don’t gamble with regulatory compliance.

There is simply too much at stake to risk weaseling your way through the maze of financial regulations or playing in the gray area. Fines, lawsuits, and brand reputation scandals are nothing to trifle with. Wells Fargo will likely survive this crisis, but they have a long and uphill road ahead to recover from the damage to their brand. Banks need to hold themselves accountable for compliance before regulators or customers force them to do so. (More insights into proactively protecting yourself from non-compliance risks: keep reading.)

Wells Fargo’s mistakes will likely go down in banking industry history as examples of What Not to Do. Don’t let the same thing happen to your bank, whether you’re a national household name or a regional staple. If you’re going to earn press headlines, make sure they’re good ones. Listen to the Voice of the Customer, build an internal culture to support customer experience quality, and stay on the regulatory straight-and-narrow.


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What Banks Must Do To Protect Against Noncompliance Risks

September 22, 2016

compliance is cheaper than finesBanks and credit unions are subject to extensive federal regulations regarding how they interact with customers and handle customer data, especially as it relates to lines of credit. Examples of consumer lending regulations include:

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970): Regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of customers’ private information as it pertains to their credit reports
  • The Truth in Lending Act & Regulation Z (enacted 1968 under the Federal Reserve; turned over to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011): Standardizes the disclosure of costs and charges associated with lending so consumers can shop around
  • The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act (2009): Emphasizes fairness and transparency in the credit application process; also known as the Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights
  • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010): Created an independent watchdog agency to hold lenders accountable and prevent the risky, exploitative behavior that contributed to the recession of 2008

In the wake of the 2008 recession, the issue of regulation has been highly visible, both to those inside the financial industry and to consumers who benefit from these protections. Lenders who are found to be noncompliant with any of these regulations face heavy punitive fines. In 2014 alone, U.S. and European banks paid out nearly $65B in noncompliance fines, according to Boston Consulting Group. That’s not to mention the cost of litigation above and beyond the fines themselves.

With so much at stake, banks must be proactive about compliance.

any institution that offers lines of credit is subject to annual compliance auditsFinancial institutions that offer credit cards, mortgages, specialized loans, and co-branded credit cards through retail partners are subject to annual audits to assess their compliance status. Many institutions may think they are ready for these audits, but could be more proactive about ensuring their safety.

Customer service and sales personnel could be considered to be on the front lines of compliance efforts. Their behavior toward customers who are applying for credit is a make-or-break factor. In order to protect themselves against noncompliance risks, banks need to take steps before, during, and after the application process.

  • BEFORE: Thorough training for customer-facing staff, and regular follow-up on this training, are essential. Anyone in a lending role must be aware of the behaviors that could trigger a noncompliance red flag. These can include their professionalism, comprehensive knowledge of fees and policies, ability to answer customers’ questions, “pressuring” behaviors that could influence customers to apply or not apply, and whether the customer is treated differently based on factors like race, gender, age, and household income.
  • DURING: Treat customers according to the best practices covered in training. Explain all pertinent details to the customer and provide the disclosures required by law. Make sure the customer has the opportunity to speak up with any questions, concerns, or needs for clarification, so that by the time they walk out your door, they are well-equipped to make an informed decision.
  • AFTER: Surveying customers following their application process helps banks assess whether the above criteria were actually met. Data produced by these surveys proves useful during the audit process. Conducting surveys also helps banks identify potential red flags in nearly real time and address them with the necessary measures.

Leniency or human error across any regulatory criteria comes with mighty consequences. Having the right people in the right roles, emphasizing training and adherence to regulations, and following up with surveys and research, are among the best steps banks can take to protect themselves. This is especially relevant for co-branded credit cards that banks may offer in partnership with retailers, where the training element is out of the bank’s direct control. (Read more about the risks of co-branded credit card partnerships.)

Who holds the banks accountable for compliance?

Following the recession, the Obama administration created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau via the Dodd-Frank Act. Rather than leave everything to the Federal Reserve, the administration saw it necessary to appoint this agency as an objective third-party witness to lenders’ behavior.

Individual institutions, too, can benefit from appointing an objective, reliable outside party to monitor compliance. To help banks and credit unions insure their compliance status, CSP’s compliance solutions address the “After” portion of the credit application process. We collect data from customer surveys to support a bank’s position in the event of a complaint or an audit. This solution, which is entirely customizable, also allows us to notify a bank of potential red flags as they occur and reduce the risk of oversights or surprises.

To find out more about how we help banks protect themselves, contact John Berigan with your questions by email or by calling (800) 841-7954 ext:101.

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New Challenges in CRM: The Complete Digital Banking Experience

April 27, 2016

It’s Tuesday. Lunchtime. You’re headed to your favorite local sandwich joint. You sit down, don’t even have to glance at the menu. You’re all ready to place your order when your waitress walks up and says, “Hi, I’d love to serve you, but we’re out of food right now. No drinks either. Please try again later.” She turns away with a “bummer!” look on her face.

error messageObviously that type of service wouldn’t fly in the restaurant industry. Nor does it in the digital banking world. Gone are the days when your website can display a pop-up politely announcing, “Sorry, we’re having technical difficulties. Please try again later.” Customers have come to expect more in these times of Amazon same-day shipping and eerily relevant Google ads.

Consumers are increasingly becoming accustomed to the immediacy, ease, and reliability of online experiences. And they’re becoming less forgiving when corporations don’t measure up to their expectations. In today’s world, banks must be aware of serving up a great digital customer experience, much as your favorite sandwich place must serve up a great lunch every day of the week.

What makes up a great digital experience?

Digital customer experience goes beyond having an easy-to-navigate website and the ability to check balances online. Your customers may expect any of the following types of tech-encounters now or in the near future:

  • mobile banking digital appMobile apps to check balances and make money transfers, with GPS technology to show the nearest branch and ATM locations, along with up-to-the-minute lending rates
  • Real-time remote check deposits using scan-and-upload technology
  • Digital wallet, offering the opportunity to pay using a smartphone
  • Text-to-ATM withdrawals
Ham and cheese, toasted

Your waitress knows you always come in on Tuesdays. And you always order the ham and cheese with a side of slaw. You don’t even have to ask anymore. And she always remembers to toast your sandwich for you. Isn’t that nice?

Banking customers want that same nice, toasty feeling when they’re online or on-the-go. Whether sitting at their desktop, on the couch with their tablet, or out and about with their cell, consumers like things quick, easy, and convenient. Customer-centric services that predict what people want, cater to their individual needs, and meet their expectations will help you attract and retain customers.

68 percent of Millennials believe that in just five years, the way we access our money will be totally different.

Setting goals for digital customer experience and measuring satisfaction aids banks in providing value; offering quick, easy, and effective solutions; and advising before a customer even makes an ask. That’s critical at a time when Millennials are becoming key decision-makers. A survey from a division of Viacom Media showed that 68% of Millennials believe in just five years, the way we access our money will be totally different, and one in three are open to switching banks in the next 90 days.

Analyze the entire digital experience

A good or bad experience with any of your digital touch points has the potential to make or break the customer experience. It’s critical to look at the full digital experience and not just one element of it. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the digital definition and customer expectations.

CSP is passionate about improving the customer experience on all fronts. We strive to adapt to whatever technology throws our way. That’s how we help you continue building customer loyalty and retention. Contact us today with your questions about customer experience management for digital banking.

Customer Experience for Women: What Banks Need to Know

February 12, 2016

How are women involved in their family’s finances? How confident do they feel about their financial know-how? What tools and services do they want their banks to provide to help them manage their money?

These are the kinds of questions financial institutions need to be examining to optimize the customer experience for their female customers. Married or single, mothers or child-free, college-age to retired, women are more empowered when it comes to money than they ever have been.

Here are some interesting findings on the preferences and attitudes of women banking customers (UPDATED February 2017):

Women tend to think of themselves as less capable or knowledgeable when it comes to finances than men do. In one study that used a scale of 1-7 to measure overall financial confidence, men rated themselves at an average of 6.20, while women came in at only 5.86. The numbers continue to drop among women under 50 (5.61) or when specifically addressing the area of investing (4.75).

56% of women said they turn to a financial advisor as one of their primary resources for guidance and information. The same percentage of men said they rely on their own prior experience and knowledge. Men are also more likely than women to reference financial books, magazines and websites. 

That said, women aren’t likely to seek financial advice out of the blue. A strong personal relationship opens the doors for women to come in and get into the nitty-gritty with an advisor. Once that foundation of trust is established, women will tell up to 52 people about a good experience they had with their bank, and even more if they had a bad experience. They are also more likely to listen to and act on recommendations, or dismissals, from others.

woman doing online banking on phone and laptop

Women are interested in convenient tools that help them manage their household finances.

Millennial women are more focused on paying off their debts than their male counterparts are. This sense of caution and sensibility is also reflected in their attitudes toward their financial future — 59% feel positive about the future, compared to 72% of men – and saving vs. spending. 54% of Millennial women said they avoid overspending, while only 40% of men said the same.  Women in general carry less debt, use less credit, and are less likely to be late on their mortgage payments than men.

When it comes to traditional vs. digital ways of doing business, women place more importance on the branch than men do, especially when shopping around for a new bank. Women over 50 are particularly concerned about the availability and proximity of branch locations when choosing a bank.

Women are a little slower than men to take up new tech tools like mobile apps and voice recognition. They won’t trust these services until they have evidence that it’s worth taking the leap into something new. That said, remember how they rely on word-of-mouth – once they hear good things about your digital experience, they’re open to coming aboard. Women are especially interested in tools to help them manage their budget. Even if women weren’t using the services directly themselves (maybe through a spouse or someone else in their household instead), they still expect banks to have them. 

Key Takeaways for Banks
  • Women prefer a human touch, someone to walk them through the complexities of managing their money. Your advisory staff should be visible and available to your customers. Make it easy to contact these experts directly to ask quick questions or set up appointments – no one likes being given the run-around or playing voicemail tag.
  • While men are generally content making transactions and purchase decisions directly with their bank, women want a relationship to create a foundation of trust before they’ll take your advice or sign on for additional products and services. Building the customer experience around this relationship makes them feel respected, valued, and welcome.
  • Convenience can come digitally, but not necessarily. It also means convenient access to branches and a pleasant in-store experience while at the branch. It also means the availability of tools, including online and mobile, that help women manage the day-to-day flow of their income and expenses, or that connect them quickly and painlessly to personal help when they need it.
  • FinTech could prove a significant draw. FinTech providers generally lead with the convenience and utility of their solutions. This could draw women customers, particularly younger women, away from traditional banks who aren’t innovating fast enough in the tools-on-the-go space.
  • Women are conscious of financial responsibility, like reducing debt and paying bills on time. So what if their bank started incentivizing and rewarding their financial sense? Little gestures of congratulations, even for something as small as saving a little extra this month, could go a long way in strengthening the relationship between banks and their women customers.

As with all things, these preferences and priorities will vary somewhat from region to region, bank to bank, maybe even branch to branch. Use Voice of the Customer data to track, illuminate, and strategize around the customer experience of your women customers and earn their loyalty.

To learn more about Voice of the Customer solutions, contact CSP.

SOURCES

Scale of financial confidence
Reliance on financial advisor
Preference for strong relationship of trust
Women’s word-of-mouth
Millennial women & debt
Women’s financial responsibility
Women pay attention to branches
Women expect banks to provide tools

Banks, Don’t Overlook the Business Customer Experience

October 29, 2015

When banks and credit unions look at the topic of customer satisfaction, most likely they are thinking about their consumer customers – students, retirees, and everyone in between. But what about business customers? A new business is started every minute in the U.S., and some predict that over half the labor market will be self-employed by 2020. This creates a huge opportunity for banks to fill these entrepreneurs’ needs.

Banks who want a piece of the small & mid-sized business pie need to devote attention and resources to the business customer experience just as they would to consumers. Business and consumer customers walk through the same door into the same branch, but their journeys, needs, and expectations diverge from there.

What do business banking customers value?

personal-791345_640By and large, the same basic elements apply to both consumer and business banking customers – friendly and competent customer service, product availability and associated fees, etc. — but they look at those elements from different angles.

For example, the availability and quality of mobile and online banking tools are valuable drivers of satisfaction to both consumers and businesses, but they’ll be using them very differently. It’s unlikely that the same portal will meet both of their needs. And while the consumer segment has embraced digital banking readily, small business banking customers still favor visiting a branch to conduct their affairs.

Likewise, a consumer may not be bothered if they interact with different faces each time they perform a transaction as long as the quality is reliable, while business owners are more comfortable with an ongoing, consistent relationship with the same person or team of people. One survey found that small- and mid-sized businesses cited their relationship manager as the most important point of contact with their bank — more important than online banking by a wide margin.

Business owners, especially small businesses and start-ups, don’t just need someone to handle a transaction; they are looking for a partner to help them navigate the complexities of things like payroll, taxes, cash flow, and SBA loans. Consistency helps build and maintain trust, particularly if the business hits a rough patch and needs some flexibility or extra help.

Just like consumers, business customers want to feel understood on an individual and specific level, and want service that’s personalized to them. A later survey by J.D. Power & Associates, referenced here, found that business customers who felt that their relationship manager ‘completely understands’ their business were far more likely to say they’d definitely stick with their bank than those who felt less understood – 47% vs. 19%.

Follow the logic.

The correlation between feeling understood and sticking around as a customer should not come as a surprise. But does that mean banks are going out of the way to deeply understand the needs of their business customers? J.D. Power has found that overall small business banking satisfaction is trending upward in the last five years, with big and mid-size banks eking out a lead over regional and community banks, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

To see things from the business owner’s point of view, you might also be interested in this guide from the Wall Street Journal: How to Choose a Bank for Your Business. Using those criteria, do you think a business owner would feel compelled to choose your institution?

CSP specializes in customizing your customer experience to drive satisfaction among your customers, consumer and business alike. If you see room for improvement at your institution, contact us or call (800) 841-7954 ext:101 to start a discussion about your concerns.

How Banks Can Evolve Alongside Their Customers

August 18, 2015

We’ve written at length on this blog about important changes in the evolving banking industry, including the rising popularity of universal bankers, online customer support, FinTech firms (especially among Millennials), and an omnichannel approach to improving performance across all points of contact with customers.

As the industry forges ahead, so must the banking customer experience. It begins with asking the right questions about the key components of the customer relationship lifecycle:

  • Acquiring Customers: Which products and services capture potential customer’s interests? Which marketing channels are the most productive for prospecting customers?
  • Maintaining Customers: How can you better manage customer expectations? How could you better fulfill promises to keep customers satisfied?
  • Maximizing Customers: What opportunities do you have to up-sell and cross-sell? How could you improve your referral and recommendation solicitation?
  • Customer Loyalty: How else could you increase your customers’ purchasing power? What customer loyalty programs might you consider offering?
  • Customer Retention: How can you keep your good customers and reduce “churn?”

It’s enough to make any bank manager feel a little lost in the dark, feeling around for a light switch that will illuminate a clear path through. Every bank will have different goals, different needs, and different customers motivated by different key drivers, so while the destination is the same, no two enterprises will walk the same path.

The Three Stages of the Journey to Improvement

The three stages of the journey to aligning with customers

It begins with Stage 1, Data Infrastructure – the collection and reporting of Voice of the Customer data from feedback tools like surveys and evaluations. This becomes the Customer Intelligence that is the backbone of every successful CEM strategy. With this foundation, banks can better anticipate their customers’ needs and be proactive in offering personalized solutions.

Stage 2 is Performance and Insight. Once the data is collected, it’s time to do a deep analysis of the performance of all metrics, down to each branch and each retail position.  In this step, we identify what’s changing in customer needs and expectations by sifting through data currently siloed in various channels and integrating it into a complete, 360-degree view of the customer experience.

Stage 3 is Holistic Strategy. Using the data and information from the previous two stages, the real work of improvement begins. This is the opportunity to perform an alignment check on the bank’s internal culture to see how closely it matches customer needs, wants, and expectations, and make necessary adjustments to establish and maintain the proper alignment.

There you have it: a clear path from Data to Information to Knowledge.

In our 25+ years of Customer Experience research, CSP has served as a “trail guide” to hundreds of banks walking their own paths to improved customer experience. We believe a bank’s value to its customers is defined through relationships. Employees, not smartphones or laptops, should remain at the center of those relationships.

Our experts are here to lead you through the three stages along the journey. More articles like this one can be found in our STARS library, available to current CSP clients as part of our full-service delivery. Contact us with any questions you may have.