Dayle HallDayle HallAugust 24, 2017
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7min804

Financial services brands have a unique challenge in engaging today’s digital consumer. Based on a recent Lithium study, we found that 59 percent of adults in the UK prefer to do their banking digitally. Surprisingly, however, only 23 percent of those adults said they trusted digital banking (versus the 58 percent who said that in-person banking was most trustworthy).

Herein lies the problem: consumers want the autonomy of banking online from the comfort of their own home, but still expect the personalised service that comes with in-person banking.

This presents financial services brands with a huge opportunity – as long as they make an investment in aiming to surpass the wants, needs, and expectations of increasingly skeptical and demanding banking customers on digital channels. Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither is trust.

Financial services brands may still have a way to go before they can close this expectation gap, but those who harness the power of digital to put customers at the heart of their banking experience stand to gain the loyalty (and trust!) of customers for life.

Here are a few ways financial services brands can win the digital customer experience game:

1. Build Community
You can’t earn trust if you don’t take any steps towards building a relationship with your customers. Fostering a sense of community, with people who are passionate about your brand, is a great way to start. An online community – either hosted on your website or a third-party social channel – allows your customers to interact and collaborate with each other to ask questions and get answers. This helps alleviate the growing costs and pressures placed on customer care teams today.

2. Empower Agents
Customer care teams are only as strong as the information they have on their customers. Agents must have a comprehensive view. They need to have access to a customer’s latest transactions and past conversations with customer care just as much as they should know what social media channels they use and how influential they are on those channels. All this information combined helps create holistic customer profiles that provide the context agents need to be effective and efficient.

3. Embrace Technology
Technology is at the heart of the digital customer experience. The systems and platforms brands use to automate, streamline, and unify that experience across the organisation – from marketing to customer care – need to work together, seamlessly. Doing so can simplify internal processes, speed up go-to-market efforts, and spark long-term growth.

4. Understand Your Customers
Do you know what your customers care about most? Or why they remain loyal to your brand? Or, on the contrary, what motivates them to move on to the nearest competitor? You have to understand your customers intimately in order to deliver the kind of personalised service that leads to long-term loyalty and trust. Data is your answer. Fortunately, brands today have access to a tremendous amount of quality data that translates into actionable customer insights. The more you know about what your customers want, the better service you can provide them.

5. Share Information
A cohesive digital customer experience isn’t created in siloes. The work you do to create that experience shouldn’t be either. It’s important to share information about campaigns, communications, customer insights, and more with utmost transparency across the organisation to ensure that everyone involved knows exactly what’s happening, at all times. The digital customer experience is everyone’s responsibility.

6. Automate Publishing
As the saying goes, “Content is king.” It doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon. However, it can be challenging to find content that resonates with your customers at a day and time that’s likely to pique their interest most. By coupling customer data with automated content recommendation and publishing tools, you can more effectively share content your customers want – when they want it and in the right place and format. Why rely on educated guesses when the customer data and insights you have at your fingertips can already do the heavy lifting for you?

7. Measure Performance
So, how do you know if everything you’ve done actually works? You have to measure it – again and again and again. In fact, measuring performance is an ongoing effort as you strive to create outstanding digital customer experiences. From social media analytics to marketing campaign metrics to customer data, it’s essential to measure every customer interaction across every touch point in real-time to ensure that you are delivering long-term value. This is how you keep service-level promises. Not everything you do will be perfect 100 percent of the time. However, by constantly setting and reaching new success benchmarks, you will get there, fast.

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Dayle HallDayle HallMay 9, 2017
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8min1407

There was a time not too long ago when all that mattered was the product. In fact, a quality product was enough to leave consumers with a positive experience of a brand.

Then the digital world exploded! The always-on digital and mobile world we live in has completely shattered that simple customer experience. What makes consumers happy today goes way beyond how they feel about your product alone. In fact, 76 percent of adults say having a positive experience with a brand is just as important as the experience they have with the product or service purchased. Any impact made at the product- or service-level, whether positive or negative, is only one part of the new customer experience equation.

So then, what makes a happy customer? The easy answer is: when a brand creates a seamless, consistent, and positive end-to-end experience across all consumer touch points; and they are digital first. In fact, 29 percent of consumers say their first choice would be to engage with a brand via its website, blog or social channels. This is compared to only 17 percent who prefer to connect in-store.

Consumers today are fickle, demanding, and impatient. They leave brands with very little room to fail. When a brand can’t deliver on its promises – or inadvertently misses a step somewhere along the way – consumers are quick to jump to the next best option, without hesitation. Plus, they make sure to let you and the rest of the Internet know just how they feel about your brand. So, it’s now incumbent upon brands to follow through and make customer experience a priority. Here are a few things brands can do to win customers for life.

Create an Emotional Connection

Consumers have a very different kind of relationship with brands today. They will do practically anything for a brand they love, but should a brand fail them in any way, then negative feelings can run deep and will likely last a long time.

By creating more of an emotional connection with consumers, they open a two-way dialogue that invites consumers in. It encourages them to be part of the overall brand experience and thus the emotional connection grows into brand advocacy, and hopefully, brand love.

It’s a strategy that works. 74 percent of adults say they are willing to spend more on products and services from a brand they love, suggesting a strong correlation between “brand love” and “share of pocketbook.”

Be Digital-First

When people need information on products and services, they turn to digital and mobile. This means brands must make it a priority to strengthen their digital presence. After all, the customer mindset today is all about self-service. Consumers want to be able to find information on their own, and they expect brands to deliver an experience that makes it possible. Our research* shows that consumers will visit a brand’s website, blog or social channels first to: engage with a brand; ask questions about specific products and services; learn more about a brand; or find published information on specific products and services. Long story short, if consumers today are digital-first, then brands must be as well.

Encourage Sharing

Word of mouth holds a lot of power and influence – and it goes without saying, people like to talk. So, when the time comes to make big purchases, consumers almost immediately look to product reviews and other people’s experiences to help them make a decision. Brands must seize this opportunity to turn their own customers into their biggest brand advocates. More often than not, happy customers are more than willing to give brands praise when it’s due. In fact, 64 percent of adults say they would share a positive experience with other consumers. Just be aware that they are almost equally willing (57 percent) to share a negative experience with friends and family as well. If that happens, don’t let it set you back – see it as a new opportunity for you to connect directly with a customer and, hopefully, bring them back over to a happy place.

So what now? Well, remember happy customers come in all shapes and forms. The way to win their trust and loyalty is to put their wants, needs, and expectations at the centre of all you do, think digital first and build your brand experience around that core. Because the reality is, if you fumble somewhere along the way, you may lose a customer for life. To underscore this point, 76 percent of adults agree that they would be unlikely to ever use a brand again after only one bad experience. Customer happiness is a 24/7 effort, and delivering a solid customer experience will be your recipe for success. In today’s digital world, sometimes there are no second chances.

 *Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Lithium from December 28-30, 2016 among 1006 adults ages 18 and older in the U.K. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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