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Tagged: financial services

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.

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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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

Credit Unions Continue to Outrank Banks in Customer Experience

December 18, 2015

According to the 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, which rank the customer experience of 293 companies over 20 industries, credit unions have earned the highest ranking for financial services over the past four years. USAA topped the list just above credit unions (which were rated as a group, not individually), followed by a bevy of big-name banks. 

credit unions and banks customer experience rankings from Temkin Group

What Are Credit Unions Doing Right?

Credit unions don’t pay taxes; they don’t face the same regulatory environment; and they operate as nonprofits, allowing them to offer lower fees and higher interest rates on deposit accounts – definitely a factor that makes them customer-friendly. But while these distinctions might make the playing field less than level between credit unions and banks, they’re not the only reasons that customers find credit unions appealing.

Credit unions are known for providing a more personal and flexible customer experience than retail and commercial banks. While banks have focused considerable attention on technological upgrades and the impending threat from digital-only banks, credit unions have remained customer- and branch-oriented.

Somewhat counterintuitively, this has given them an edge in customer experience and satisfaction: the personal touch is something customers crave. Financial matters are at once complex and intimate, and customers appreciate feeling like their institution is on their side and ready to assist them, not just make a profit.

Credit unions, for example, tend to be more flexible about working through tough issues like bad credit during a loan application, treating the customer as an individual, not just an application form and credit report.

Indeed, customer-centricity is practically built into the credit union “membership” model, often led by a member-elected board of decision-makers. As virtual shareholders in the institution’s success, members get a sense of personal inclusion and connection to the credit union that can be lacking at mega-sized banks with their own shareholders to please.

So can banks hope to catch up?

It’s not a lost cause. While they may still be at a disadvantage on fees and rates for the foreseeable future, they’re using some of their profits to lead the charge on the technology that is changing the face of customer service, like social customer service and virtual assistance. As customer expectations continue to evolve, we may not be far off from the day that digital availability and convenience start to carry more weight in satisfaction measurements. If or when this happens, we may find out whether it really is the lower cost of doing business with credit unions that keeps customers coming back, or if they’re willing to sacrifice technology in the name of closer connections to their institution.

But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to downplay the importance of personalization and excellent service that makes customers feel at welcomed, heard, and respected. If anything, the drive towards digital – a potentially cold, impersonal, inhuman interface – means banks need to focus even more on a top-notch customer experience that can’t be replicated by algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Would you want to do business with a bank run entirely by droids? We didn’t think so.

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.

What Baby Boomer & Millennial Banking Customers Have in Common

July 30, 2015

Though born decades apart and into very different circumstances, Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964) and Millennial (born 1980-2000) customers show a surprising amount of overlap in their preferences and priorities for the customer experience at their banks.

Baby Boomers are Aging Youthfully

baby-boomer-motorcycle-442244_640

Baby Boomers came of age during the wild 1960s and 70s, and while they might not be able to rock’n’roll all night and party every day anymore, they’re not ready to resign to their rocking chairs just yet.

Here you can begin to see some of the commonalities between Boomers and Millennials. Both generations entered adulthood against the backdrop of oversea war, economic depression, and social unrest. The 2008 recession hit their wallets hard: Boomers watched their retirement funds wither, and Millennials worry if they’ll earn enough to pay off their immense student loans. To varying degrees, both groups know the value of doing more with less and balancing their desire to make purchases against the risks of running out.

It’s Not Just About Retirement

Sure, retirement is a pressing issue for Boomers exiting the workforce and preparing for a new phase of life, but it’s not the only thing they’re doing with their money.

Despite the setbacks of the recession, Baby Boomers earn about 47% of all income in the United States, totaling $4 trillion. [Source] With their adult children leaving home and establishing their own families, instead of settling in, Boomers are active and adventurous. They want to be able to keep up with their grandkids and are using their spending power to catch up with all the dreams they may have put off during their parenting years.

That might mean new car purchases, home renovations or relocations, or even starting a business – all things they’ll be looking to their banks to help them finance and navigate. These products aren’t just the territory of young adults getting established.

As we’ve reported previously, Millennials, too, are entrepreneurial adventurers who tend to value experiences over material goods. So while they may be renting a while longer before they purchase a house and putting off traditional milestones like marriage and child-rearing, they see that as freeing up capital to pursue their dreams while they still have youth on their side.

They’ve also absorbed their parents’ concerns about funding their retirements and, according to the Transamerica Retirement Survey, 74% of Millennials have begun saving for retirement a full 13 years earlier in life than Baby Boomers.

This knowledge should lead banks to carefully consider how and to whom they are promoting their small business, retirement, and home equity products and services.

Linked In with Technology

A major slice of shared territory between these two generations can be found online, and in particular, on mobile.

Millennials and Boomers alike are early adopters of new tech products and are comfortable navigating the world through the lens of their smartphone or tablet. 71% of Boomers bank online at least once per week, and their use of mobile is expected grow exponentially over the next few years.

So by prioritizing a streamlined, personalized, and mobile-optimized experience, banks can satisfy both sets of customers.

Where they differ, though, is in their concern about the security of their financial information. Millennials, who have largely grown up with tech, tend to be more trusting; Boomers are willing to adapt and learn, but remain suspicious about the trustworthiness of devices, networks, and data banks.

61% of Boomers believe the risk of their financial data being compromised will rise within the next three years, compared to 45% of Millennials. [Source] Adults who are not already using online banking options are even more suspicious and unlikely to be converted, no matter how slick the user experience. Nothing will send customers of any age on the hunt for a new bank like finding that their personal information is at risk, for which they unforgivingly hold the institution responsible.

With data breaches making headlines on a regular basis, banks who want to promote their online and mobile services must communicate a strong message of security, not just convenience.

Want to know more about the demands of different demographics within your target market? CSP can deliver all the intelligence you need and offer solutions to meet your specific goals. Contact us today with your questions and concerns.

4 Ways to Engage the Millennial Banking Customer

June 17, 2015

millennial customer engagement

Millennials want businesses to meet them where they are, and that includes their financial institutions. So how does a bank go about satisfying this demanding demographic?

In Part One of this series, we got into Millennials’ heads to see the world through their own lenses. Knowing what they value and prioritize can help you shape the customer experience to meet their ever-evolving expectations.

Appeal to their impatience.

Speed of service, whether online or human-to-human, is a must.

If a customer needs to get in touch with you to ask a question or resolve a problem, he’d rather open up a web chat or send a Tweet than be put on hold with a call center or wait for a response from the Contact Us form on your website. And if he does Tweet you a question, he expects you to answer it as promptly as he expects a friend to reply to his text.

He doesn’t want to be beholden to “business hours,” either – in his world, answers are always a click away, day or night. If 24/7 customer service is not something you can promise, at the very least, he should have the option to find his own answers through the resources you make available to him online, like FAQ pages, blogs and articles, or forums.

He’ll also appreciate a degree of automation to processes that would otherwise be tedious or require multiple steps and the intervention of a human employee. Take, for instance, mobile check deposit, or peer-to-peer payment, two innovations that streamline simple financial interactions into a matter of clicks, no middleman required.

Give them control.

Automation and self-service aren’t just about getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible; they allow customers to self-determine their customer journey and customize it to meet their own unique needs, rather than be lumped in with the generalized population of your customer base.

Personalization is important to this highly individualistic customer. Jane Q. Millennial doesn’t just want the Fifth Third experience, she wants Jane’s Fifth Third experience. Each channel she uses, digital or human, should greet her by name and anticipate her needs before she even has to state them.

Millennials personify the omnichannel customer experience. Take advantage of the Voice of the Customer insights and transactional data you’ve collected on them to craft personalized and intuitive experiences.

Participate, and invite participation.

Tap into the Millennial customer’s social side by engaging with him, not just broadcasting to him. We won’t claim that it’s easy, but you’ll have to reconcile traditional customer service language and behavior with his native tongue. Show personality in your communications, demonstrate social values that align with his own, and he’ll find you more approachable than the out-of-the box Customer Service Rep™.

Give him opportunities to engage with you beyond the standard problem/solution model of service. Social media is an excellent platform for conducting (completely non-scientific) surveys or hosting contests. You can blend information and entertainment with things like “Did You Know?” trivia or “Caption This” contests for funny images. The prize might be as simple as public recognition of the winner’s cleverness, but that’s still more than he was likely expecting to get when he logged on today.

Be their entrepreneurial ally.

In the past, banks might have targeted the 18 to 35 demographic with messaging around financing their homes, cars, and children’s college educations. But Millennials are famously delaying typical young-adult milestones like marriage and home ownership in favor of pursuing their dreams, creating the perfect opportunity for financial institutions to step in as allies, coaches, and incubators. Make them aware of both consumer and business products.

Consider hosting workshops for start-ups or the self-employed; offering sponsorships, grant opportunities, or other competitive rewards; or coaching them on career advancement or salary negotiation via your blog (you are blogging, right?). Seek out the places in your community where these young entrepreneurs are gathering, like TED Talks, networking groups, and even street fairs, and make sure you have a visible presence there. Think about it: how cool could it be to have a reputation as THE bank that young self-starters turn to?

While we’re on the topic of business products, consider this: Even if your business customers aren’t run by Millennials, they’re certainly employing them. The person responsible for managing banking interactions at any given business, start-up or established, might be a 28-year-old man or woman, who expects your B2B experience to be as modern, flexible, and streamlined as your consumer-facing experience.

 

So, how does your customer experience measure up against the Millennial mindset? By this point of reading, you’re either patting yourself on the back for a job well done, or you have new insights into potential areas of improvement and innovation.

CSP is passionate about improving the customer experience for customers of all ages. Read about our solutions and services, and contact us when you’re ready to take the next step.

Report: Techy Competitors Turning Bank Customers’ Heads

April 29, 2015

Capgemini has released the 2015 World Retail Banking Report and their Customer Experience Index, calculated from the results of a comprehensive Voice of the Customer survey of more than 16,000 respondents in 32 countries.

The CEI has dropped only slightly from 72.9 in 2014 to 72.7 in 2015, indicating that customer satisfaction is stagnating as banks try to keep up with modern consumer demands and innovative competitors in the digital space.

More highlights from the report:

  • smartphoneGen Y customers registered lower customer experience levels than other age groups.
  • North America continued to have the highest level of overall positive experience compared to other countries, but still saw a dip in positive experiences compared to last year.
  • Customers around the world reported increased likelihood to leave their bank within the next six months. Gen Y in particular has a tendency to move banks, and are more open to internet-based providers or simple financial products offered by retailers.
  • Banks and customers don’t agree on the role of the branch. Banks would prefer that customers purchase simple products online, and visit a branch for help with more complex solutions. Customers continue to use banks for simple transactions and don’t trust that the online options will be as helpful to them as a live person.
  • The rise of FinTech firms means customers can complete their entire banking lifecycle without ever approaching a bank.

You can read the full report here.

Customers are clearly not thrilled with the status quo. They want their banks to keep in step with the other digitally savvy experience they’re having elsewhere in the consumer marketplace, from retail to healthcare to entertainment. The newest young adults have grown up with the convenience of instant, constant connectivity, and highly customizable products and solutions.

“Status quo” is what you get when you assume you already know your customers. The global numbers won’t tell you what intelligence you’ll gain from your own Voice of the Customer research. Every bank serves different customers and it’s their needs and expectations you need to be listening to, measuring, evaluating, and integrating into your customer experience.

If you’re concerned about your status quo or want to know what you can do to change it, contact Customer Service Profiles today by phone at (402) 399-8790 ext:101, via our website, or on Twitter @csprofiles

5 Reasons Why Banks Should Blog

April 22, 2015

It seems like everybody and his brother has a blog these days, including businesses. Some industries are more suited to blogging than others, and financial services is one of those industries. Some banks are already on this bandwagon, but for those who still need some persuading, let us tell you about some of the benefits you might be missing out on.

5 reasons why banks should blog

  1. You have experts in-house. Use them.

    Finances, whether personal or business, are hardly self-explanatory. Put your staff’s specialized knowledge and years of experience to work by asking them to contribute content on their particular area of expertise. From basic how-to’s and definitions to explanations of more complicated concepts, your team can contribute directly to your customers’ financial literacy.

  2. Reinforce your value to your customers.

    Every little thing you do to go above and beyond standard service wins you points with your customers. Publishing a blog transforms your bank from a vendor to a valuable resource. It shows your customers you care about their financial well-being, not just your own bottom line. It also gives them a venue to ask you questions – just be careful not to leave those questions sitting unanswered in the comments section.

  3. social media iconsKeep your social media pipeline full.

    It’s not enough to simply have a social media presence; if you expect your customers to subscribe and stay engaged with you on that channel, you want to feed them a steady stream of fresh, original, valuable content. Blog posts can be used and re-used to keep that pipeline full and balance out any promotional messaging you’re sending out.

  4. Improve your search engine ranking and site traffic.

    It used to be the case that the only reason any brand started a blog was to stuff it with keywords and attract traffic from search engines. While SEO has evolved beyond keywords since then, Google and other search powerhouses are biased towards websites that are loaded with quality content. Your site is more likely to show up in the results for a search on “home mortgage refinancing” if you’ve published several articles on the topic.

  5. Cross-promote your products and services.

    Never miss an opportunity to cross-sell. As you’re writing about any given topic, inline links can point your customers to other pages on your site without distracting from the matter at hand. Online users are used to this kind of linking in news articles, Wikipedia pages, and Tweets, and because it comes across as intuitively relevant, they find it harder to ignore than an intrusive display ad or obvious sales message.

Data-Driven Content Planning

Data isn’t just for setting goals and measuring progress. You can learn a lot about what your customers value and need from both your transactional and Voice of the Customer data. That knowledge feeds directly into your brainstorming if you get it out of the ‘data silo’ trap and integrate it into your content strategy.

faces and dataWhat products are your customers using most, and what more could they stand to learn about them? Which ones could use some more time in the spotlight, to increase awareness? What are some frequently asked questions about your branch, your bank, or finances in general?  What areas of expertise do you want your institution to be known for? All of these questions are great starting points for a brainstorming session.

Of course, your blog can also be a suitable venue for company news, press releases, and letters from the president, but in terms of value to the customer, informative and entertaining content carries the most weight, and is the most likely to be forwarded and shared.

Getting Started Blogging

The two essential ingredients to successful blogging: a plan, and people ready to stick to it.

editorial calendar deadlineA blog need not be complicated, and you don’t have to go from 0 to 60 posts a month (!) immediately. But blogs don’t just happen on their own without some planning – topic brainstorming and research, an editorial calendar, and possible production of other multimedia (like infographics or videos).

You also need staff who have both the time and the talent to follow through, both on the production side and the publication & promotion side. If you find yourself short-handed in that department, you could hire freelancers or content-specialized agencies, but remember that no one knows your customers or your business quite like the people who are there every day. (See point No. 1 above.)

Bottom line: Blogging contributes to a well-rounded, holistic customer experience. It positions you as a thought leader, differentiates you from your competitors, and provides additional opportunities for customer engagement. This makes it a natural fit for a bank’s digital strategy.