We’ve learned a lot of crucial lessons from the errors of larger financial institutions in the last decade. One of the most important is that trust is a touchy subject, and financial institutions both large and small have very little margin for error in the eyes of the customer.
In light of the increasing number of online banking apps and other options out there, showing customers that your institution is a reliable, trustworthy choice for their needs is more important than ever. We’ve put together some essential information on gauging customer perception of reliability, as well as some strategies for improving customer service in this respect.
3 Qualities of a Reliable Financial Institution
Here are some of the key qualities that contribute to the customer perception of a financial institution as reliable.
Strong Problem Resolution Process
Over our decades of working with community banks and credit unions, we’ve found that reliability is strongly linked to the absence of problems. Avannis has surveyed a significant number of banking customers who say, “I’ve been with them for years and never had any problems.” That being said, errors and mistakes do happen—and the way a financial institution handles an issue can actually increase customer loyalty in the end.
Customers bring their business to a financial institution with the understanding that the banking system as a whole is inherently reliable—they don’t expect their money to go missing from an account. But they are wary of being “ripped off” or taken advantage of, and questionable behavior can quickly destroy their perception of a financial institution. Does your financial institution take ownership of problems? Do representatives call banking customers back as expected? Responsiveness and clarity of communication are key here.
Individuals who are not reliable will inevitably chip away at the reputation of an entire financial institution. It’s an unfortunate fact, but one negative interaction can destroy a customer’s trust in you. A well-trained, knowledgeable staff is essential to minimizing this kind of reputation damage.
Gaining and Maintaining Customer Trust
Financial institutions are expected to be trustworthy and reliable from the start, and those that struggle in these areas may suffer lasting damage to their reputations. Here are some customer service strategies that can help you better understand and cater to customer needs.
Customer service surveys are a crucial component in keeping any growth strategy on track, but only the right questions will get you relevant data. The wrong questions, on the other hand, can cause further problems. Many financial institutions that create their own survey questions will ask customers whether or not their transaction was completed accurately, for example. This type of query can make customers think that you don’t already know the answer. You’re likely to get responses like, “How should I know?” or “You tell me!” If you do run a survey, ensure that you’re asking open-ended questions that leave room for a variety of sentiments and feedback.
Personalize the Banking Experience
Banking customers want to be treated as individuals, rather than valued for their money. This means that they need to get served relevant, personalized opportunities, as opposed to messages that feel like they’ve been sent to an email list of thousands. Whatever method of communication you choose to focus on, whether digital or in-person, ensure that you’re catering to the needs and desires of specific segments.
Provide a Consistent Experience
Consistency is key to creating a smooth, reliable banking experience. To that end, evaluate your current channels and consider implementing an omnichannel customer approach, if you haven’t already done so. Creating a cohesive experience across channels and touchpoints will help customers become familiar and comfortable interacting with your services.
Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Bigger banks are still struggling against being perceived as greedy and untrustworthy. Whatever the size of your financial institution, make sure that you make customer perception a priority. If you’re not sure how to identify further actionable ways to improve customer service, loyalty, and satisfaction, remember that your strategies should ultimately take a customer-centric approach. The main point to keep at the forefront of every decision is that customers should feel as though you believe their interests are more important than the interests of your financial institution. This is where you can build a solid relationship with new, loyal, and future customers—by showing them that you’re on their side.
Improving Customer Service With Avannis
Whatever your current customer satisfaction score, there’s always room for improvement. Let Avannis step in to identify your next steps. We’ve dedicated years to developing digital tools and providing industry expertise to financial institutions across the country. Our customizable surveys can provide you with an in-depth understanding of how your customers view their interactions with you—and what you can do to strengthen your relationship with them. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.