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Make It Personal: Growing Your Bank Through Customer Relationships

Posted by Keith Twisdale

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In today’s financial market, growth is your top priority — and your biggest challenge. Often a company’s first instinct is to build more products or offer more services that can generate revenue. However, if those efforts are not born out of serving a real customer need, they will be in vain.

Your customers are searching for financial institutions that don’t just satisfy their product and service needs, but prove that they truly understand them, their personal motivations and needs.  In other words, your customers want to feel known. If you are a community bank or credit union, that is probably one of the major reasons they chose to open an account with you (as opposed to a larger bank) in the first place.

Personalized service is more than just good practice. For financial institutions, there is a direct correlation between engaged customers and increased profits. Across all categories of consumer financial services, emotionally connected customers are proven to deliver higher customer value, use more products, and maintain longer relationships with the bank than the average customer. Over time, this can increase customer lifetime value by as much as 8x for financial services firms. 

A personalized experience and service model is the key to differentiation, growth and profitability among banks and credit unions. Every institution has the data required for personalized service, but few are leveraging it to build better relationships with their customers, and in turn, stimulate account growth. The most successful institutions are looking beyond one-size-fits-all tactics and building strategies that revolve around meeting a customer’s specific needs over the course of their lifetime.

Here’s how to deliver personalized service that leads to happier customers and a more profitable bank:

1. Collect the Data to Understand Your Customers’ Needs

Data from one study showed that consumers are willing to pay up to 41% more for an excellent customer experience, including personalized engagement across all touch points.  As the demand for personalized service continues to increase, banks must harness their customer data to meet that demand.

With the right tools, you can keep everything you need to know about a customer in a single, easy-to-access place. Insight into their deposits, loans, relationships, preferences and more will make each interaction feel friendly, personalized, and responsive. Record important customer and prospect interactions so your team can pick up where you left off, appearing helpful and informed in every encounter.

With all that information at your fingertips, you will be equipped to provide above-and-beyond customer service. Instead of the customer having to catch a new employee up on their entire relationship with the institution – don’t you hate when that happens to you? – they can view it with the click of a button. No matter who they speak to or are sitting across from, they will still feel at home and well taken care of. This emotional engagement is essential to building customer loyalty and growing accounts.

2. Recommend the Right Products at the Right Time

Recent research studies show that more than 50 percent of engaged customers get mistargeted communication. This includes communication about a product or service the customer already has, or has already expressed that they have no need for. Don’t make that same misstep. People expect personalized service. When you provide that, it will create sustainable growth, higher referral rates, reduced customer churn, and a distinct competitive advantage.

One of the best ways to communicate to your customers that you know them and understand their needs is to recommend the right products at the right time. Service and selling are exponentially easier when your product or service fulfills a real need for the customer in some way. It’s your job to gather the information that tells you what a particular customer is looking for, what benefit it will provide them, and when they will need it — then offer it to them in that moment.

3. Leverage Technology That Makes Data Actionable

The use of technology to empower better customer service is a huge trend, especially when it comes to meeting customers’ demands for personalized service. Investment in data-driven tools that afford a better understanding and build lifelong relationships with your number one asset — your customer — will be essential to delivering personalized service and surpassing the competition.

A platform that allows you to anticipate your customers’ needs and appear as a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson will position your institution as a valuable resource for them long-term. Whether your sales team is looking to track where prospects are in the pipeline, when the marketing team should trigger automated messages, or when a frontline employee needs quick access to customer information for the person who just walked into the branch, 360 View offers all the essential tools to maximize your team’s performance.

In order to shift your customers’ view of your institution and lead account growth, make it personal. By demonstrating that you care about your customers’ experience and learning more about them with every interaction, you can maintain the personalized service that makes people choose your institution over the competition.

Engaged customers are key to growth for banks and credit unions. Financial institutions will need to react with data-driven customer service and sales strategies, powered by a technology platform that allows them to meet customer needs, empower their staff, and grow their business. Get started with 360 View through our free Growth Assessment.

Topics: Customer Experience, CRM, Sales & Marketing