Today’s financial services customers have very high expectations of sales and service interactions, and those expectations aren’t being met, especially online. Perhaps that’s why 71% of younger customers would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying.
The Experience Gap: The chasm between the service your customers expect, and their actual interactions with your financial institution
But all is not lost. As a community financial institution, your organization is uniquely positioned to close the gap between customer expectations and service realities.You already have stronger relationships with your customers than many big banks and digital-only fintechs, and your community-centric values set you apart. So for your credit union or community bank, the real challenge is to maintain your personal touch and tradition of service excellence while making the shift to a more digital model.
Below are 5 practical ways to do it. To learn more, watch our on-demand webinar on customer experience.
1.Identify your customers’ top priorities
When a customer steps into one of your branches, the staff may well recognize him, and understand his usual banking patterns and a bit about what’s going on in his life. But when that same customer logs onto your website or banking app, is he treated like a person, or just a customer ID?
To provide a personal touch even in the digital space, leverage rich data you have about the customer and business analytics to understand each customer’s unique profile and needs, and then provide the right product recommendations at just the right moment. In essence, what you are doing is replicating the customer service offered by your most seasoned representatives, who know how to make a perfect match between a customer’s needs and your products and services.
2.Honestly assess the experience you deliver
Credit unions and community banks know they provide great service in person and over the phone. But don’t rest on your laurels! Your customers’ perceptions of your organization are formed by their interactions across all your channels, so you need to do a thorough review of customer interactions online as well.
Follow your customer’s keystrokes to identify bottlenecks and friction points in your business processes. Exactly how many fields are you expecting an applicant to fill in when opening an account on a tablet? On-device keyboards aren’t much fun to use. Or, how long do impatient customers have to wait to have a loan approved, and what can be done to keep them in the loop? Streamlining processes, and especially those all important “first impression” experiences like account opening, can dramatically improve the customer experience.
One more thing to remember here – in-person interactions can also be impacted by poor technology. After all, a lender who is having to re-enter mortgage data multiple times in a green screen isn’t going to have time to create a meaningful customer bond! So don’t forget to evaluate how staff-facing technology is affecting the customer experience as well.
3.Engage more fully with each customer
Make it an organization-wide priority to engage in a meaningful and consistent manner with every customer, whether it’s during a service interaction or when promoting products. One Doxim client, Conexus Credit Union has crystallized its customer experience vision into one achievable goal: “Customers should tell their story only one time.” That powerful shorthand helps Conexus make strategic investments in technology and has contributed to a rise in the credit union’s net promoter score from 47 to 64 in two years.
Remember, customers see every interaction with your financial institution as one conversation, even if those interactions occur over multiple days, across multiple channels, or with multiple service representatives. Your underlying technology needs to help your staff track omni-channel interactions, so you can meet this expectation.
Similarly, if your promotional messages are one-size-fits-all, or even worse, are related to products the customer can’t qualify for, or already has, you need to assess how this is impacting your customer relationships. Keeping every mess
age relevant and eliminating non-sequiturs goes a long way to making customers feel like their financial institution really understands them and their needs.
4.Set priorities for improvements
When it comes to setting priorities for customer experience improvement, start with the best opportunities and the quick wins. For example, 81% of successful cross-selling occurs during the onboarding period, so implementing a customer onboarding solution can offer you fast, measurable ROI that will help you make the business case for future customer experience enhancements. And don’t be afraid to celebrate your success! Setting up metrics related to customer satisfaction, and incentivizing them, can go a long way towards making customer experience champions out of your staff members.
Remember, enhancing customer experience is a cross-departmental initiative, and it touches the day-to-day jobs of many of your staff members. To get buy-in for your CX projects, you may need to adjust processes and mindsets through training and targeted coaching. Make sure staff understand how new solutions will benefit them. After all, many of the technologies that improve customer experience also make employees’ lives easier.
It’s easy to get into the mode of fighting fires, picking stand-alone solutions to meet immediate customer engagement needs. That’s how technology has historically been implemented in a piecemeal fashion at many community financial institutions. Then, the situation becomes exacerbated as credit unions and community banks expand into areas such as wealth management and insurance.
Beyond inefficiency, patchwork infrastructure that ties legacy systems together can prevent the kind of information-sharing that provides an at-a-glance overview of every customer.
Ideally, you want technology that allows all your service providers to work together to better meet each customer’s needs. To get to that point, make sure every solution you select going forward is expandable and easily integratable. There’s no need to rip and replace all your technology at once – just make sure that the solutions you select now will work together to help you achieve your broader strategic goal of overall customer experience improvement.
Want to learn more ways to fight the status quo, modernize your customer experience, and prevent poor customer experiences from threatening the future of your credit union or bank? Watch our on-demand webinar to see how community financial institutions can increase customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction.