When it comes to the success of a financial institution, a comprehensive customer experience program is more critical now than ever before. But a poorly executed program will get you nowhere—and may even wind up hurting a bank or credit union’s reputation. At Avannis, we’ve dedicated decades to helping financial institutions understand and act on customer feedback to improve the overall customer experience. Over the years, we’ve noticed a number of mistakes that get repeated in customer experience programs. Here’s what a good customer service program can do for your financial institution, and how you can avoid those common mistakes.
What Makes Customer Experience Programs Pay for Themselves
Establishing a solid customer service program takes time, effort, and resources—and it can be all too easy to divert those funds towards things that feel more important in the moment. But the customer experience is essential to the longevity of any financial institution for a number of reasons.
Perhaps most importantly, strong customer experience programs combat both employee and customer attrition. Through coaching, training, and education, staff members can learn to improve their customer service skills, take further ownership of their performance, and identify and capitalize on sales opportunities. Excellent customer service provided by those staff members can in turn improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and even referrals.
Customer experience programs can also be used to reveal issues and pain points within the customer journey. Identifying and solving those issues will put a stop to any “leaks” that are leading to consistent customer loss. Collecting direct feedback from your customers, even those who may have chosen to take their business elsewhere, provides unmatched insight into areas that need improvement, which you can then address.
Common Customer Experience Program Mistakes
Here are some of the recurring issues we’ve seen impact customer experience programs.
1. Operating Under Assumptions
All too often, it’s assumed that customers already have what they need to remain customers. This can lead to oversights, missed cross-selling opportunities, and even lost customers. In reality, financial institutions must be proactive when interacting with each and every customer, whether that means anticipating and solving an issue or providing education on relevant services at exactly the right time.
2. Failing to Differentiate the Unique Needs of Customer Segments
Not all customer segments want the same things. In fact, it’s quite uncommon for generational segments to score the same on customer service surveys. Unfortunately, it’s common for financial institutions to make the mistake of lumping the desires of various segments together. Be sure to take some time to understand the wants and needs of each of your identified customer segments. Consider going beyond the traditional demographics to isolate and cater to more specific groups, such as customers with similar spending habits or online behaviors.
3. Investing in a New Touchpoint or Service Without Context
Financial institutions are making great strides in personalizing the banking process and incorporating cutting-edge products and services—but progress for the sake of progress merely leaves customers confused and unsatisfied. If you’re thinking of introducing a new touchpoint or service method, like video teller machines, be sure that you have the statistically relevant client voice to back it up. As a general rule of thumb, you should spend a quarter for every thousand to confirm your investment in a new product or service is warranted.
4. Sourcing Proof of Concept From Staff or Shoppers
It may be tempting to rely on an internal audit or mystery shopping program to evaluate your customer service, but your results will be skewed. This approach focuses too much on checking off boxes, like using the customer’s name, versus analyzing the actual experience of the customer. For a more accurate picture of your experience program, you’ll need direct customer feedback.
5. Assuming That Offering Relevant Products or Services In-Branch Is Off-Putting
Some financial institutions adopt the attitude that customers don’t want to be bothered with offers, and that waiting for inquiries protects the customer relationship. But the numbers don’t lie: branches that offer beneficial services actually receive higher overall satisfaction scores. Ther scores relating to personal connections made are also higher. Work with your staff members to identify sales and educational opportunities that will both anticipate and respond to the needs of your customers.
Refine Your Customer Service Program With Smart Data Analysis
Guilty of some of these blunders? Looking for guidance as your financial institution refines its customer service approach? Look to Avannis for high-quality tools, comprehensive surveys, and unparalleled expertise that can guide you in the right direction. We’ll put our decades of experience to work to help you improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention at your financial institution. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on the latest developments in financial customer service.