Recently we were Finextra’s guest for a webinar on ‘Big Data: Empowering banks to drive customer-centricity’ (rewatch the full webinar here). In an interesting panel conversation with Elizabeth Spenko (SVP, Director of Digital Experience Solutions, Northern Trust), Mariela Hunter (Head of Consumer Bank Strategy, Citizens Bank), and myself, we shared insights on how we see the banking industry changing due to several causes. An overview.
Stand out with relevant, real-time messaging
In the UK and the US, one-third of millennials are multi banking. Mobile devices and digitized processes empower the customer with the liberty to choose which financial services to consume and when. This is all great for the customer, of course, but it takes away the exclusivity of the primary bank relationship, thus raising the bar for banks.
When we look at acquisition or retention, it’s not a matter of or, it’s a matter of and. Retention starts with eliminating the key pain points that cause customers to leave or not to do more with their banks. Acting quickly on customer feedback and continuously improving the service and the overall experience, is good, but that’s not going to be enough anymore. It’s really about delivering a service that is incredibly straightforward, yet valuable in order to keep those customers and to attract new ones. But as said before, the bar keeps moving and it’s moving at an increasing speed. Timeliness is essential so provide your services at the right time, often meaning real-time.
Drastic lifestyle changes require a drastic strategy re-evaluation.
Now with this global pandemic, our need for relevant customer-specific messages is highlighted more than ever. As we as companies and individuals try to figure out what this pandemic means for our daily lives and stability – our wait times stretch into the hours to get ahold of routine services we have come to instantaneously expect. How companies respond to and partner with their customers during this time of frenzy will leave a lasting impression. Digital messaging has been stretched to its limits of effectiveness as every company we have ever done business with now bombards us with form letters about their precautions. However, they are mainly focused on individual business’ operations rather than helping us get through our day.
Let’s dig deeper into ways to improve that customer relationship in times of a global pandemic. Because drastic lifestyle changes require a drastic strategy re-evaluation.
Digital messaging has been stretched to its limits of effectiveness as every company we have ever done business with now bombards us with form letters about their precautions.
6 quick wins to improve your customer-centric messaging
So as we are all receiving tons of communication every day, you need to find a way to stand out. Banks with a customer-centric messaging ability, for instance, are advised to stop sending the form letters and instead begin with the following actions:
1. Monitor your customers’ savings accounts and patterns, and notice which customers are dipping into their savings during this time. To these customers, you can then direct specific balance transfer offers, decreased interest rates, and short term loans. As such, go the extra step to set the limits of these offers to be reflective of each customer’s individual spending patterns.
2. For customers with investment accounts, look at the types of asset classes each customer is invested in and curate news and advice based on their current holdings. Next to this, offer phone consultations with an advisor who will review their currently self-directed accounts, depending on their levels of investment.
3. Monitor customers with existing mortgages and generate messages that are reflective of their individual interest rate as well as how long they have owned their homes. This is in order to stem the flow of your best customers away from their bank by proactively offering them a better rate in this environment. For newer customers, however, they may have locked in rates in the last few months that are close to the current rates. Informing them about what the federal funds rate means for mortgage interest rates will then help them figure out if they should be seeking a better rate.
4. Proactively reach out to customers with known student loans at their primary bank to help them refinance and consolidate those loans with one that may have a better rate.
5. Notice when a customer’s normal paycheck doesn’t get deposited on time and inform them about options for payment deferrals without penalties. While a lot of messages have gone out with general information now, customers will likely have forgotten about these possibilities when their jobs get interrupted in the coming months.
6. In case banks want to go the extra mile, they can help filter and curate accurate news for their customers about what the federal and state assistance means for them.
- For customers with school-aged children, banks could highlight state and federal emergency child care assistance programs.
- Primary customers who don’t appear to have filed their taxes, for instance, can be notified of the federal extension and their state and local filing deadlines as they approach.
- Small businesses can be informed about the access to funds and tax credits for paid sick leave for employees.
This will only affirm the customers’ bank truly being their financial partner.
Step up to the role as your customer’s trusted advisor
Every business, including and especially banks, is struggling with resource constraints as most people work from home now and have divided attention. Banks are, of course, also having an increased demand for their services as customers grapple with the financial implications of this crisis.
So this is why banks should be stepping up to the role as a trusted advisor during this time, however, they will only be able to do so if they invest in technology that allows them to easily direct and filter relevant messages at the right time to their customers.
When talking about a relationship with personalized communications, we need to be able to connect all customer behavior and interactions. Whether the customer is calling into your call center, going on a mobile device, visiting the website or making a transaction with their physical bank card, we need to be able to stitch all that data together. This is despite the fact that it all comes from various platforms at various speeds, and with lots of different structures to that data. Our Intelligent Engagement Platform (IEP) can easily figure out how to connect those different strings of data in the most real-time way possible. Because if we’re thinking of personalization, we need all of our models and intelligence to be updated as quickly as the person is interacting.
Banks should take on the role of trusted advisor during this time, however, they will only be able to do so if they invest in technology that allows them to easily direct and filter relevant messages at the right time to their customers.
Sending a loan offer or payment deferral at the right time for a customer experiencing job loss and curating news for that customer about the programs in the state where they live, allows banks to build a trusted and enduring relationship in this time of turmoil. Also, realizing when customers are in industries not likely to be impacted by job loss – for instance, healthcare workers – send them messages that are more focused on potential loans to help with emergency childcare needs, links to resources as they are released, investment advice if their cash savings are growing at this time rather than falling, and/or just simple messages expressing thanks for their service will help banks achieve higher customer satisfaction and loyalty even as hold times in call centers grow.
When you follow this approach, it is important to measure your messaging and campaigns at the smallest possible denominator possible. Create metrics to measure how your personalized communication is driving engagement at the individual customer’s level. Only then will you really be able to see if the investments pay off and then you’ll have the flexibility to quickly adjust when they’re not working.
Investing in the infrastructure that allows you to send truly curated content to each customer is not only worthwhile in this time of crisis, but its necessity is only further heightened as your customers are searching for answers and reassurance that we are all in this together.
Your customers are searching for answers and reassurance that we are all in this together.
Now that you’ve seen some examples of the loyal customer relationship you want to achieve – especially during this time of crisis -, it’s time to learn what you need to achieve this.
Read our white paper on ‘The value of customer data’