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Banks need to become a lifestyle brand

Banks need to become a lifestyle brand

By Christopher Evans, Director, Collinson Group

Banking on the move and online is widely available, and means that it is no longer a necessity to see a financial provider face to face. While this has brought a wealth of benefits to both customers and financial service providers, time spent with the customer in person has greatly reduced. At Collinson Group we believe that it is important not to lose this ‘human touch’ entirely as it remains critical to building trust with a customer. Technology does not have to hinder this, in fact it provides the opportunity to enhance a relationship between the two parties.

Communications that are contextually relevant and personalised offers demonstrate to customers that financial services brands can be a part of their lives to fulfil wider lifestyle needs beyond the core inventory of a bank account or loan facility.

The customer-centric bank

Collinson Group polled 6,125[1] of the top 10-15 percent of earners globally and found that over half (56 percent) feel more loyal towards brands that know who they are and treat them differently. Furthermore, nearly three in five expect their bank to proactively offer products and services that meet their needs.

Financial organisations are in a good position to act on this insight by analysing the wealth of data they holdto build richer profiles of their customers, and to engage on an emotional level with them. For example, they could analyse spending behaviour to identify key moments in a customer’s life such as getting married, starting a family, or booking an extravagant holiday. From this, customers could receive the tailored products and offers that truly reflect what they are doing with their life.

Research also shows that customers would value a one-stop shop for all their financial services products. However, it is often the case that there is nothing incentivising them to purchase everything through one provider. By analysing customer data to capitalise on key life events and providing relevant, tailored offers off the back of this, banks can deliver incentives to encourage multi product purchases.

To maintain the ‘human touch’ in banking, financial services brands should adopt a collaborative approach with third parties and explore an open API approach to data. In doing so, banks can deliver a seamless customer experience and a strong value add offering.

Clear goals and objectives also need to be set for customer engagement, putting the customer in control of the processes – be this in repeat purchasing, buying additional products, or accessing the rewards programme itself. For some companies, this requires an organisational shift in order to better align processes and resources. Although this may be challenging, there is significant pay off for those who get it right.

My takeaway:

There are three recommended actions to achieve a more customer-focussed bank.

  1. Personalisation: Customers want a choice of rewards and benefits to best suit their tastes and interests. Therefore, banks should be using customer data to build more personal relationships with customers.
  2. Not just a bank: Banks can foster loyalty by offering additional services to fulfil the customer’s broader lifestyle needs – such as health and travel insurance or ID and lost card assistance. Being customer centric is not just about listening to how customers want to interact with you, it is about recognising what they value beyond your products and services, so you can identify the total worth of the brand-customer relationship. For example, working with third party data sources, banks could better understand the customer journey to present more targeted and preferential offers across digital channels and others.
  3. Put the customer in the driving seat: Customers must feel in control of their purchasing process, and have a relevant choice of reward and redemption benefits. Customers expect to have an experience tailored to their individual needs and brands that offer this level of customer empowerment will achieve engaged and loyal customers.

Final thoughts

The rapid increase in demand for digital services provides financial services brands the opportunity to develop deeper meaningful relationships with customers by optimising and integrating data, interactions and offerings. The provision of more self-selected and tailored products and service could herald a new era for the role banks play in the lives of consumers now and in the future.

[1]Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates

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