If a new bank or credit union offered you a better savings interest rate, a slicker app and a few compelling credit card products, would you switch? If you're like most Americans, you wouldn't – and it's not because you love your current financial institutions. In fact, a recent poll found that only a minority of Americans are "very likely" to recommend their bank to others, but 67 percent are likely to stay anyway.
In the recent past, it was time-consuming and expensive – not to mention difficult – for consumers to change financial institutions. In short, consumers stayed with their financial institutions, but often for all the wrong reasons.
With technological advances, widespread availability of data and increased competition from emerging fintech providers, consumers are realizing they’re no longer “stuck” to their financial institutions.
Translation: winning customers’ trust, keeping it and offering them a convenient way to handle their financial lives are crucial to the health of financial services brands.
One way to reinforce your customers’ trust and keep them in your marketing flywheel is to ensure your brand’s ecosystem of products and services not only delivers on the expectation of convenience but can also be served up when it makes the most sense to them.
Evaluate Your Offerings By Asking Your Customers What They Need
To grow a healthy ecosystem of products and services, you’ll need to audit your current customer or member experience. Get feedback directly from the people who use your products most. Listen to them to find:
- Holes where new products might be introduced to fill a need.
- Places where you’re not yet connecting customer needs with products or services that are already available.
- Ways to create additional value and set customers up for financial success including workshops, free resources or opportunities to work with professionals at your bank or credit union.
This is a great way to take the pulse of your product and services ecosystem. Like regular doctor’s appointments, these check-ups are part of the road to health. Once you pinpoint gaps in the customer or member journey, you must build out a communications plan with a content and outreach strategy to address them.
Map Your Products
Use your audit to build a visual representation of where your products sit in relation to each other within your ecosystem of products and services. For example, if someone takes out a mortgage with one of your loan officers, does the borrower know they can get $500 if they open a checkings account? And when they open a new checking account, do you educate them on the rewards they’ll earn if they apply for a credit card? This exercise will allow you to evaluate whether or not your services align with what your financial brand needs to make a profit from the top down, in addition to identifying gaps in your customer experience.
It’s important to reiterate that this bird’s-eye view will show you where you need to re-engage consumers during places where there are large transitions or long periods of time with no contact.
Make It Easy For Customers to Work Within Your Ecosystem on Their Own Schedule
Whatever their entrypoint into your brand ecosystem, one of your goals should be to provide an excellent customer experience and simplify product application processes from the get-go.
Look for places where you can remove stress without being intrusive. For example, we partner with Blend, a provider of digital workflows, to share data that allows our customers to have a clearer picture of where their customers are in their loan application and lifecycle. This data empowers them to deliver the right messages to their customers at the right time to better anticipate their needs and increase pull-through rate.
Going above and beyond in this way makes applications for a car loan or a mortgage more flexible and easier to complete. Our customers can fill these forms out over different periods of time: inputting what information they have, saving their progress, and returning when they’ve gathered the facts they need to continue.
If someone’s been stalled out for a couple of days, we’re able to check in and ask if they need any assistance to move forward. These well-timed, human connections make all the difference in our customers’ experience and respect their time. This positive experience will drive customers back to you when they’re looking for help with their next loan.
Build a Brand That Puts Customers First
Financial brands realize that the products and services that they have are somewhat commoditized: the ability to provide a superior customer experience is the differentiator. And the key to doing this is having the data and the communications plan to deliver this experience.
While 74 percent of banks consider customer experience to be their greatest strategic priority, how many are actually excelling at it? If you have the data to provide a hyper-personalized experience and deliver humanized communication to your customers in a timely way, you’ll find your organization ahead of the pack.