A Future Customer Communications Strategy Is About Customer Communication Preferences, Innovations and Trends – Not the ‘New Normal’!

by | Feb 26, 2021

Customers’ communication preferences are constantly shifting, so organizations must ensure that they are communicating with customers accordingly

We have been weathering the COVID-19 pandemic storm for a year now, so most of us have grown tired of the phrase “new normal.” It started out as a catchy buzz term many months ago, but at Keypoint Intelligence, we have often contemplated whether this phrase really applies to the customer communications market. You see, customer communication channels have been in a state of flux for several years now, long before terms like “global health crisis” and “social distancing” became part of our everyday lexicon.

What could be considered a game-changing “new normal” for the financial services industry started over five years ago when the world began to take on paperless adoption. The truth is that communication channels are in a constant state of flux, ebbing and flowing with their intimate connection to customer communication preferences. Rather than shifting on a dime with the so-called “new normal,” consumer preferences hinge on innovations and the timing of how (or even if) consumers gravitate toward them.

Concerns About Data Security

While we can hardly dismiss the “new normal” that 2020 ushered in, it’s important to take a step back and truly understand the forces that drive customer communication preferences. We could overwhelm ourselves with a myriad of data points, but it is much easier to simply look at the trends in the financial services industry.

Past and existing trends contribute to understanding how certain customer communication channels come in and out of favor, but they can also be predictive of emerging trends-and more importantly, emerging innovations.  It is clear that consumer communication channel preferences are changing all the time- the pandemic has only served to accelerate these changes.

According to Keypoint Intelligence’s most recent transactional communications research, COVID-19 has caused many consumer respondents to rethink their communication preferences.

  • About 40% of survey participants were thinking more about the channels they chose to be communicated with
  • 39% Reported heightened awareness about the security of online bills and statements. Keypoint Intelligence’s ongoing research confirms that these concerns have increased over the past three years, and consumers have become particularly wary about the security of their financial information.

COVID 19s Impact on Data Security From Keypoint Intelligence Research

Although these consumer concerns have existed for a while and are therefore not representative of a “new normal,” computer security software vendors are certainly heightening consumer awareness via TV and social media and thus contributing to the uncertainty surrounding digital channels. .

What Do Consumers REALLY Want?

At the end of the day, the primary objectives of any enterprise or brand are to strengthen customer retention rates and increase share of wallet-and both of which hinge on customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty is often rewarded with discounts or special offers and it is a primary focus for credit card providers, credit unions, and more recently credit-related mobile apps. Although discounts and special offers are certainly a benefit, they may not be top-of-mind for consumers.

According to Keypoint Intelligence’s transactional communications research, consumers had different ideas on how their providers could make them more engaged and loyal customers.

Rather than discounts or other incentives, consumers most cited the following:

  • Ensuring that personal data was kept secure when using digital communications.
  • The ability to select one’s own customer communication preferences.

In a similar vein, it is important for service providers not to make assumptions about their customers’ communication preferences based on age or other demographics. Despite its “old school” nature, roughly half of total respondents to Keypoint Intelligence’s transactional communications research reported that they liked receiving paper statements. Even more compelling, was the evidence that younger consumers were more likely to cite an aversion for going paperless than their older counterparts!

Opinions about paperless communications from Keypoint Intelligence research

The Bottom Line

In the coming months, my colleague Eve Padula and I will share some of the key trends uncovered by Keypoint Intelligence’s recent research. As was the case with this post, we will explore how no single trend stands alone-instead, all are woven together in an intricate relationship between consumers’ ever-evolving preferences and propensity to change communication channels.

In future blog posts, we will take a deeper dive into customers’ channel preferences and explore which types of communications are best suited to which channels. We will also cover more recent innovations that are driving customer communications in the financial services industry, like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hyper-personalization. Finally, we’ll explore how trends that are influencing adjacent industry sectors can directly impact customers’ channel preferences in the transactional space.

As you review your existing customer communications strategy, we leave you with one final thought-just as businesses become more keenly aware of their financial burdens and monthly expenditures during an economic downturn, so do consumers. Credit card, cable, and cell phone bills that might have been overlooked during better times are now being scrutinized in detail.

Economic uncertainty plays a key role in the mindset and well-being of consumers, particularly as they increase their focus on their financial bills and statements. Today’s consumers do not want to be frustrated with where or how they receive their communications; the information that they require must be clear and concise to ensure satisfaction and loyalty.

It is clear that customers’ communication preferences are constantly shifting and enterprises, as well as brands must ensure that they are communicating with customers according to their individual preferences.

Innovations continue to impact all customer communication channels, and what worked for a consumer six months ago might not be good enough anymore. Enterprises need to respond to their consumers’ ever-changing needs in real time, which is no easy task as these preferences have been changing for years.

Rather than focusing on the new normal, prepare yourself for the interactions of tomorrow, which rely on up-to-the-minute data and personalization to drive loyalty and improve engagement.

Speak to a Doxim CCM specialist about future-proofing your customer communication strategy. GET IN TOUCH

3. Expansion of digital products

As banking customer behavior shifts, banks must move with the times, or risk getting left behind. Many banks today are exploring the power and potential of open banking, which can allow them to offer more innovative products and services to their customers, as well as to better compete with fintech companies and other non-traditional financial service providers.

As you shift your banking business model to reach new segments or provide an enhanced array of services, communication becomes even more pivotal to your success. After all, if your customers don’t know which new services they qualify for, or how those services will help them meet their goals, then they are unlikely to explore them further. CCM technology can be leveraged here to provide personalized on-statement messaging that directs customers to the right products and services, as well as 1:1 personalized “explainer” videos to help them get started.

Adjusting your bank’s priorities to thrive in 2023

In an era of constant change, the key to successfully transforming your bank’s business model will be to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of customers, and to be open to exploring new opportunities and technologies that can help your FI stay competitive and relevant. But these new opportunities are doomed to fail if you do not clearly communicate their benefits and make it simple for customers to access them.

That is why transforming your customer communication strategy is the best first step to broader digital transformation. By updating your approach to communications to meet omnichannel customer needs, you also position your bank to communicate the benefits of changes in your broader organization, like new or enhanced products and services. The pace of change in banking has never been brisker – but with the right strategic approach to these changes, the future is bright.

Investing in a modern customer communication management and engagement platform is an essential part modernizing your banking strategy, as it can provide the personalized digital experiences that will keep your bank or credit union ahead of the competition. It helps provide a great customer experience, and builds rich relationships, which in turn results in customers for life and a competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving financial marketplace.

How Doxim can address the banking customer communications trends identified and help future-proof your digital banking strategy

banking customer communications trends

Doxim’s experienced consultants and omnichannel platform can help transform your customer experience in many ways, including:

  • Gathering and utilizing customer data to continually improve the personalization of communications.
  • Building trust with customers via communication (via print, PDF, HTML, email, text, and online interactive experiences).
  • Leveraging interactive video to drive personalized digital customer experiences, such as interactive statements, bills, or reports, that offer visual engagement and real-time interactivity
  • Putting customer data, including customer statements, at the fingertips of your service representatives for immediate and personal service.
  • Making a meaningful connection with value-added content, like information about philanthropic activities, on customer statements.

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