How to have a relationship with a customer you’ve never met
Expectations of what a bank should be are constantly being raised and not just by other banks. Banks are being measured against providers of non-financial services too.
Consumers are comparing the digital experience they have with their bank to the digital experiences they have with companies like Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and more.
Speaking of Amazon, recently it was reported that Amazon is considering offering chequing accounts.
What’s curious about this possibility is not so much that Amazon would be considering this, but rather that customers would consider signing up for this service even though they’ve never met or spoken to anyone from Amazon.
Despite being a faceless entity, Amazon has been able to build a strong relationship with their customers; a relationship so positive that Amazon feels it’s likely that a good percentage of their customers would trust them for banking services.
If Amazon can build this type of relationship with customers without ever actually meeting them face-to-face, why can’t banks? The good news is banks can.
It starts with changing the mindset
It’s safe to say that up until now most banks have always focused on pushing out their next product, service or offer to their customers.
A big fault with this approach is that in reality there aren’t that many times when a bank’s products, services or offers are actually needed by customers. So in the end these messages come across as self-serving, fall on deaf ears and do nothing to build a relationship.
This is why a change in mindset is in order.
Banks must shift to generating win-win interactions with their customers. Instead of being fixated on selling their next product, service or offer, they should be focused on improving the financial health of their customers.
Source: Webinar, “Solving the Digital Dilemma: How to have a relationship with a customer you’ve never met”.
By doing so both the customer and the bank will win.
JP Morgan, Bank of America and US Bank are all examples of the win-win approach in practice. An initiative all three of these banks have implemented is based on the idea that consumers feel like car salesmen always try to rip them off, so these banks will help the consumer find the car they want, at the price they want. The hope is that because the banks have assisted the consumer with the shopping and buying process, the customer will reciprocate by choosing them for their car loan.
Banks are realizing customer experience must come first
Banks across the board have realized that the key to boosting sales in the digital age is to first enhance the customer experience.
This point was echoed in a recent study banks conducted by Celent, which found that in 2016, 70% of the banks surveyed ranked “improving their customer experience” their most important priority-- more important than sales results or cost reduction.
Source: Celent NA RB Technology Survey 2016, n=12 (Tab 5) Respondents ranking answer #1 or #2.
The advantages banks have over outside competitors
Even though banks are being forced to up their game by outside competitors like Amazon, they still have some solid advantages over them:
- Established, creditable financial services brand
The last point, data, is especially critical. The majority of banks are sitting on a gold mine of customer data that they have yet to fully tap into.
Data is the key to being able to deliver the personalized messages that will allow banks to help improve the financial health of their customers.
In this day and age, especially in a highly-regulated industry like financial services where the majority of the offerings are me-too products, customer experience becomes the differentiating factor.
Various research has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for great customer service. Case in point, Quicken Loans: they don’t compete on price. In fact, their rates are generally 1/8th to 3/8ths higher than their competition, yet their business is thriving because they deliver a superior customer experience that is quick and seamless.
Knowing what a “superior” customer experience should encompass can only result from having a deep understanding of your customers. That deep understanding comes from data. The more data you have, the greater the understanding you can gain.
You can then use this data to craft personalized, win-win messages that will allow you to build strong, high-value relationships with customers and prospects—even ones you’ve never even met.