How Can Financial Services Connect To Their Customers?

If it is one thing that is for sure, it is that technology is everywhere, and growing at a rapid speed. Tech has changed the environment of many industries, and the financial services industry is no exception.

Banks are adapting to new technology that is constantly developing in order to connect with their customers. Before making the plunge into a technology forward landscape, first, it is important for organizations to understand the tools that are transforming this relationship, as well as what customers would be beneficial to target.

The Connected Customer

The connected customer: someone who wants things to be done quickly, efficiently and probably from the comfort of their wifi signal. This customer has emerged in the digital age we live in today and they are likely to conduct all banking actions online. We can thank online banking for creating this kind of customer, as well as the development of smartphones.

“In fact, having the ability to stay on top of account balances has become not just what consumers want, but what they expect,” Techopia reports.

Since this customer has become so prevalent in this sector, we have seen businesses move towards innovation by integrating mobile banking apps and online banking into services. Meeting up with the demands of this mobile-friendly customer has to be a priority if your business is interested in connecting with them.

Getting customers to use your banking app may not be the challenge. The challenge may be getting them to stay. So, what qualities do banks possess that create poor relationships with their customer?

Not Enough Trust

It is no surprise that customers who use online banking are expecting a level of trust back from the bank. I mean, after all, they are providing the bank with personal financial information. It is the bank’s responsibility to make sure that there is a level of trust associated with the business, in order to keep customers loyal. Without trust, banks fall short.

“Banks consider trust a strategic imperative both because it is a key predictor of advocacy and future business and because the impacts can be highly destructive if it is eroded.” EY reports.

I drew insights from EY’s report on consumer trust within banks. I found keen insights that can help push banks toward building trusting relationships.

“Inspire a customer-centric culture by setting the right tone from the top and using the right incentives at every level of the organization”

Basically, this means that when the bank shifts its culture, the change must align with the entire organization. This can be done by making initiatives clear and strategic. These actions must align with the goals of the bank, which are most likely to meet the customer’s needs.

“Culture — like trust itself — is an intangible force, though there are specific steps banks can take to strengthen their culture around trust,” EY reports.

The organization can accomplish this by providing employees with the proper information that will allow them to make the intended changes. This will be beneficial because then employees will be able to provide customers with the right information in case anyone inquires. Many organizations take advantage of employee training to implement these initiatives. Teaching employees the goals of the organization on their first day sets the tone for the rest of their time on board.

This takes senior management to be aligned in order to carry a message to the employees.  Once a customer sees that the bank is consistent with their message, it makes the bank appear credible, thus, creating customer trust.

“Deliver complete transparency in product features and transaction fees”

Transparency brings trust. It is really as simple as that. When a bank is transparent with their message, it means that customers know what is going on from the start. EY’s report reveals that customers who see transparency within the organization are more likely to recommend that bank to someone else.

“The implication: fee transparency is a driver of advocacy and future business for banks; if customers do not feel the bank is being transparent about its fees, they are less likely to recommend the bank to others,” EY reports.

Banks can be transparent in a few ways. For starters, the bank can deliver on the promises that it offers customers, like the services or products that are found through the organization. Transparency can also be found in the bank’s message, logo, branding, and fees.

“Proactively protect customer data like it’s your own — and defend against cybersecurity threats”

It’s a no-brainer that customers will trust a bank that goes to great lengths to protect their financial data. Customers are extremely concerned with the issue of cybersecurity when it comes to their data. When banks go to great lengths to make sure that data is protected, it will make for a trusting relationship among both parties.

“Nearly two-thirds (60%) of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 59% worry about the amount of personal information private and public sector organizations have about them. Again, the country and regional findings are revealing.” EY reports.

Banks can go about protecting data by making sure that customers are always covered by potential threats. This means implementing controls and security measures into the products that they offer. This can be seen as an extra feature, which means that customers will be aware that they are being taken care of in terms of their security. Making security a priority is not only important but necessary. If you do not protect your customers, customers will not trust you.

“Radically transform the front line’s ability to provide unbiased, high-quality advice”

According to EY, the front line refers to the interaction between banks and customers which means that it is the place where banks can lose trust as fast as they can gain it. The front line staff of a bank has the ability to serve customers to the best of their ability by providing them with the most up to date and valuable insight that will ultimately benefit the customer.

This is where customer service takes place. It is the smiling (or not smiling) front desk employees who greet customers at the door, and the customer service representatives that answer questions and build relationships. If customers are met with good service, they are more likely to share more information and trust the organization.

“Respondents from countries that were more likely to say that their financial services companies offer the best digital experiences are also more open to sharing personal information if it meant their banks could better anticipate their needs. The implication is that mastering digital experiences opens the door to a broader relationship with customers — a greater share of wallet follows trust.” EY reports.

“Master customer touch points by eliminating errors, streamlining service and driving operational excellence”

Banks need to constantly meet their customer’s needs. This means that they need to make sure all infrastructure and services are aligned to create the excellence that customers are expecting.

“Expand into new territory to create an ecosystem of products and services, including nonfinancial services that customers want.”

Thinking about customers longterm journeys should be a priority for professionals. This means guiding them towards product and services that will help this journey flourish. Engaging with customers should not be a one track journey, professionals can broaden their engagements in order to deliver a “comprehensive customer experience.”

“A full 60% of global consumers agree that “banks have an important role to play in helping people achieve their life goals through their expertise across all types of financial products.” Clearly, the door is open.” EY reports.

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PUBLISHED BY Jenny Schecher

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