By Ryan Joyce, Head of FinTech UKI at Salesforce
In recent years, banks have begun tapping into areas of our lives previously uncharted by the financial services sector. Whether it be cash-back rewards for your favourite shops or complimentary cinema tickets for referring a friend, today’s banks are rewarding customers for their loyalty with exciting everyday experiences that keep them front of mind at all times.
So how are these organisations creating an offering that enables them to stand out from the crowd and satisfy their customers? Investing in technology that provides a 360 degree customer view can be a great place to start to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Make your customers feel like one in a million
Today’s consumer wants to feel seen and understood. This can be as simple as knowing that a customer already has two credit cards with their bank so targeting them with offers for an additional one will be frustrating. Although people demand the convenience of digital offerings like mobile and online banking, they still want to know they have access to a person that understands their needs and can escalate a problem, when required.
Taking the time to understand where your customers are in their lives and offering services to best fit them at that moment in time is integral to delivering an exceptional customer service — whether that’s refinancing student loans or creating a new savings account to prepare for a family.
With experience becoming central to relationships, customer service in banking must become connected and seamless, anytime, anywhere, and on a preferred channel of choice. This starts with putting the customer at the centre of everything.
By deploying technology that offers a 360 degree view of every single customer, banks can use these data insights to predict their customer’s individual needs and provide a personalised experience. The advantage here is that all areas of the business have access to this data, so every customer touch point becomes consistent and connected. From a customer perspective, this improves the overall experience and fosters long-term loyalty by making them feel valued.
Take inspiration from everywhere
Gen Z and millennials in particular, are not afraid to switch banking providers if their loyalty is not being recognised. In recent years, loyalty programmes have become a popular tactic to improve customer service, whether that be in retail or hospitality. This has not gone unnoticed by the banking sector, with many big names in the financial services sector introducing their own rewards programmes – including Lloyds bank ‘Club Lloyds’, Citibank’s ‘Thank you’ programme and the Co-operative Bank’s charity rewards initiative.
The latest Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report has revealed that 56% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand with a loyalty scheme. However, merely establishing a loyalty programme does not guarantee customer retention. How these programmes are executed and delivered is integral to their success, for instance two thirds (61%) of consumers would use a loyalty scheme more often if rewards were automatically applied and over half (55%) would opt in to the service if it offered personalised rewards.
Be where your customers are
Today’s customers want convenience, speed and efficiency. Digital banking services are now standard, which means customers will be comparing the speed and usability of different banking providers’ online and mobile offerings. For banks, this now means the mere presence of an app on which people can address their banking needs is no longer enough. The functionality of that app and how it works in tandem with other aspects of customer service in banking will be the differentiator. Investing in technology that integrates with other tools and platforms that customers use in their everyday lives, makes processes simpler and keeps customers happier.
If younger customers’ preferences are an indicator of the future, digital footprints will expand. Millennials are the most digitally-inclined generation, followed closely by Gen Z — a cohort yet to fully come of age. Recent Salesforce research also revealed that over two thirds (65%) of Gen Z and millennials now prefer to engage through digital channels, as opposed to in-person services. Now is the time to communicate with these customers, understand their needs and invest in enhancing your digital offering.
Enhancing the customer experience is paramount to success in the financial services sector, and taking the time to understand your customer’s evolving wants and needs will be integral to continued success. Today’s customers want to feel like their needs come first, and banks that can deliver on this will ultimately come out on top.