A CX vision for community banking
The Avannis leadership team got their start working for regional and national banks, developing comprehensive research and reporting solutions. During one visit to a large banking client we observed every wall of every cubicle covered with WOW! Items – little cards with quotes from customers about the outstanding service that team members had provided. These small tokens of recognition had become a central driver to the service culture, and it was clear how proud each team member was of the recognition they had received.
As we presented an in-depth and expensive statistical analysis requested by the bank, we were hard-pressed to see how the items discussed in the presentation could be more effective than what we had just seen on the floor. Simple but effective, our ability to identify unique and special experiences (both good and bad) was having a huge impact on the employee, the customer, and the institution’s bottom line.
We recognized that not all financial institutions could commission complex marketing analyses, but anyone could develop a service culture if members and customers can be connected to the team members who serve them. Based on this concept, in 2007 we launched Avannis with the following goal:
Leveling the playing field for smaller financial institutions – large bank solutions and service levels scaled for community banking.
Stepping up to the challenge
After the 2008 economic downturn, many financial institutions turned to online feedback hoping for significant savings. For Credit Unions and community banks, however, there were significant barriers, including difficulty accessing volume discounts, low response rates, reporting tools that didn’t align with the industry, and the cost of managing the program in house.
Avannis’ response was to partner with industry-leading online survey providers to bring their services to community banks and credit unions at the same volume rates offered to large banks. We also innovated an approach to collecting data called “Just a Conversation” that is more personal, fits better with local banking culture, and has a higher response rate for low-volume touchpoints.
To resolve the reporting challenge, Avannis created new software from the ground up driven exclusively by feedback from our community bank and credit union clients. At its center is the tool’s ability to display feedback for each manager, branch and team, customized to the client’s organization structure.
A CX partner, not just data
As we worked with our early clients, we recognized that many were a 1 or 2 person shop without much background in CX and needed more than just data collection services. We set to work developing regression-sourced question sets that we knew would drive loyalty and satisfaction. From that groundwork, industry benchmarks evolved, allowing our clients to compare themselves to others. Additionally, we decided that if we really wanted to have an impact on CX in community banking we needed to share our learnings without added cost to our clients. We continue to do that today as we offer our benchmarks and regular client consultations at no additional cost.
Service that connects
As the digital revolution grew, companies began looking for ways to reduce contact through automation. Credit Union members and community bank customers, however, continued to value the personal connection they had with their financial institutions. Avannis felt it would be sadly ironic if we didn’t offer the same kind of personal connection to our clients. We decided to ensure that each client had a direct line to a dedicated project manager who always picked up the line without any intervening menus, and always responded to messages within a couple of hours. We developed a set of service standards that put our clients first and let them know we cared.
With these elements in place, Avannis has achieved consistent year-over-year growth since our humble beginning in 2007. Our intentionally managed growth pace ensures our clients continue to receive the high level of service they have come to expect from us.