Community financial institutions are facing unprecedented challenges. On one side you’re being squeezed by big banks with deep pockets and, on the other, by out-of-the-box thinking Fintechs and digital disruptors.
But perhaps the biggest threat comes from your customers themselves, who are increasingly demanding integrated, digitized experiences that match the service they’re getting outside the industry, from the likes of Amazon, Uber, AirBnB and Netflix.
Your traditional differentiators – like consistently delivering a personal-touch experience in-branch and on the phone – are being eroded, putting pressure on your community financial institutions to provide an equally high-quality customer experience across all touch points and all channels, all the time.
The bar has been raised. A fact supported by new research from Forrester, which highlights that consumers now expect to more easily connect with brands digitally to get what they want, whenever they want. And Accenture’s most recent Consumer Digital Banking Survey, which cites that the number-one thing that keeps consumers loyal to their primary financial institution is the quality of their digital banking experience.
Recognizing The Experience Gap
Community financial institutions that have not yet put sufficient focus on digital offerings may find they’re victims of something we call ‘The Experience Gap’ – the widening divide between customer expectations and their day-to-day experiences with their community financial institution.
How do you know if you’re trapped in the Experience Gap? Here are three telling signs:
- Inconsistent messages across channels
If your loan officer tells a customer she doesn’t qualify for a home loan, it’s not a good time to be emailing her about new low-interest mortgage rates. A better option would be to send her some tips for improving credit scores. If you don’t have the ability to avoid sticky situations like this, and demonstrate to customers that you understand and care about their needs, then you might be in the Gap.
- Mediocre online or digital services
Your customers now use online and digital tools to do anything they want at any hour, whether it’s to order a coffee, stream a movie or buy a plane ticket. They expect their financial apps to function just as well as those offered by Starbucks, Netflix or Expedia. If customers’ day-to-day digital or online exchanges with your community financial institution leave them wanting, then you might be in the Gap.
- Inconsistent experiences across business areas
When a customer feels highly satisfied with the service he receives through your account opening process, but then finds applying for a new loan is a huge hassle, the goodwill you earned quickly evaporates. If even one of your member-facing processes leaves something to be desired in terms of member experience, then you might be in the Gap.
Do any of these issues sound uncomfortably familiar? To get out of the Gap, download our eBook:
“The Experience Gap: The real threat for community banks and credit unions,” and find out 5 key ways your community financial institution can bridge the Experience Gap.
Sean O’Donovan, Chief Marketing Officer