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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.

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

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.

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.

More Than Just a Program, Voice of the Customer is a Promise

February 4, 2015

Instating a Voice of the Customer program to capture customer experience insights has many practical benefits:

  • It takes something vague and subjective, like customer experience, and turns it into quantifiable metrics.
  • It clearly identifies the key drivers of customer satisfaction that are unique to each business and each customer base.
  • It shows trends, progress, and declines over time, allowing you to adapt to changes as you go, and see warning signs ahead of time if something is awry.
  • It plays an informative role in employee training, performance review, and shaping a company’s internal culture.

And that’s just naming a few.

But while all of those reasons are worthwhile, to the customer, they’re just corporate jargon that has little to do with the reality of their lives and their relationships with your business.

Looking at the notion of customer experience from their perspective, Voice of the Customer isn’t a toolbox, it’s a promise.

voice of the customer is a promise

By actively listening to customers, you promise to value their opinions just as much as those of the shareholders or owners who are profiting from their business.

rio bank newsletter voice of the customerThis newsletter produced by Rio Bank for its customers puts that promise front and center by telling customers what steps this Texas institution is taking to look out for their interests, and transparently discloses exactly what goals will be satisfied through Voice of the Customer measurements and initiatives.

Customer loyalty starts with accountability to your promises. Accountability starts with a Voice of the Customer program.

A guarantee to put customers front and center in business decisions can inspire confidence, especially if they see enough direct action to prove they’re not just empty words. It also gives them an invitation to raise their own voices and participate, knowing those voices won’t fall on deaf ears.

While it’s still true that the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease, for any vehicle to move forward, all of the wheels must get enough attention and care to roll along smoothly.

Voice of the Customer keeps the customer-facing side of any business running like a well-oiled machine, lubricating relationships between employees and customers, customers and products, managers and staff.

Are you delivering on your promises? CSP is passionate about improving the customer experience, and can show you how you measure up against your customers’ expectations. Contact us today to find out more.

Welcoming the Era of the Universal Banker

January 14, 2015

Innovations in mobile and digital platforms have influenced significant paradigm changes in how bank and credit union customers interact with their institutions in the virtual space. Now that wave of change is bleeding over into the physical world, with the invention and adoption of the universal banker.

The future and function of the brick-and-mortar branch continues to be a subject of debate, especially as digital solutions have taken their toll on teller transactions and branch foot traffic. Universal bankers are one response to this, with the potential to not only affect the customer experience, but address some of the challenges of staffing and workforce management across bank networks.

The title “Universal Banker” first started catching the industry’s attention in 2015. That year, BAI named increased implementation of universal bankers as one of the most anticipated trends in retail banking. Job listings seeking universal bankers spread rapidly across online platforms among banks big and small.

What is a universal banker?
universal banker

In a nutshell, the universal banker role is a hybrid of the traditional teller and the personal banker. Their specialty is being unspecialized – or, maybe more accurately, specializing in everything – and they can be found everywhere on the sales floor, rather than chained to a desk or booth.

Universal bankers take staff roles out of their silos to function across multiple tasks: basic transactions, new accounts, loan applications, and general customer service, to name a few. The degree of universal function will likely vary from bank to bank, but cross-training is the common theme.

How does a universal banker make a difference to customers?

No one likes being given the run-around, whether it’s for a simple transaction or a more complex situation. Handing off a customer from one specialized-but-limited employee to another is not only frustrating for the customer, but has implications for productivity and resource utilization behind the desk.

Universal bankers can handle a customer request from start to finish. Certain sensitive or complex tasks, like mortgages and business loans, may eventually require involving someone higher up the chain, but the average customer can expect a universal banker to take them all the way through the interaction.

In a way, you might consider the universal banker as an accessible middle ground between the convenience and flexibility of automation and the nuance and additional context of personal customer service.

What are some of the challenges of introducing the universal banker?

The universal banker may be agile and adaptable, but that doesn’t mean this model will be appropriate to every institution and every branch.

Implementing universal bankers is not a silver bullet to increase branch traffic, but rather serves to better meet the needs of those customers already coming through those doors. Banks considering this model will need to closely examine just how appropriate it is for each branch.

The other major hurdle is getting employee buy-in. The daily routine at the branch may not be so routine anymore. Training programs and resources will need to be updated, most likely on an ongoing basis, to accommodate this role and its demands. Some long-standing employees may feel threatened by this new breed of coworker.

This isn’t just another position at the bank; it’s a paradigm shift within both customer experience and employee qualifications. The implications for the internal culture cannot be downplayed or dismissed.

What will be the impact of universal bankers?

As banks begin experimenting with universal bankers, ongoing measurement of their internal and external impact will be critical.

That’s why this new trend in retail banking interests us at CSP – we’re passionate about improving the customer experience, and the first step to that improvement is measurement. Voice of the Customer programs like ours can be customized and optimized to capture insights into the effectiveness of universal bankers.

For more information on our VoC and Customer Intelligence solutions, explore our website or contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter@csprofiles – for regular updates and insights on customer experience management.