All too often, we see financial institutions making changes to the customer experience that aren’t backed up by data. Of course, a new touchpoint or service might seem helpful, but these additions and changes might just end up creating confusion and frustration—and costing you money and customer loyalty. When it comes to improving the customer experience, it’s the opinion of those customers that really matters.
Ask yourself this: how well do you really know your base? Let’s take a look at the importance of understanding your customers and some strategies for getting to know them better.
Going Beyond Satisfactory Customer Service
In order to compete in the increasingly crowded financial industry, financial institutions large and small are revamping the banking experience with new services, a more personalized customer experience, and smarter feedback tools. It’s important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing—but merely copying them isn’t effective.
Your advances, whether they be technological or people-oriented, need to make sense for your own customer base. When institutions introduce new services just for the sake of having them, they run the risk of damaging their brand’s reputation and negatively impacting customer perception. To succeed, you first need to understand who your customers are, what they want, and what they already like about your financial institution. From there, you can work to provide your customers with what they actually want, rather than your best guess.
5 Strategies for Better Understanding Your Customer Base
Here are some strategies for connecting with, engaging with, and otherwise learning more about your customers. Keep in mind that every financial institution will benefit from a unique approach—you might find that just one or some combination of these strategies produces the understanding that your financial institution needs to progress.
Engage Current and Potential Customers on Social Media
Find out which social media platform your customer base frequents, and begin to build a solid online presence there. Whether you choose Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even Snapchat, your goal should be to create and post valuable content while encouraging engagement. Ultimately, a strong social media presence will allow you to build genuine relationships with current and future customers, generate leads, and encourage followers to leave reviews. All of these outcomes offer in-depth insight into what your customers think and say from the casual safety of their phones.
Implement Innovative Customer Segmentation
If you’re not already segmenting your customer base, you should be—because the different demographics you serve have vastly different needs and desires. But don’t simply split customers by age range and call it a day; if you have the data, consider taking a more nuanced approach and creating segments based on behavioral commonalities, such as saving patterns and online behavior. Isolating and analyzing these demographics will go a long way in helping you put a finger on the pulse of the customer experience.
Offer Live Chat Services
If you offer live chat services on your website, consider utilizing all of that data to glean further insight into your customer base. How simple or complex is the typical query? Do customers feel comfortable utilizing your chat services? How smooth is your problem resolution process through this touchpoint? You might even want to invite customers to complete a short survey directly after engaging with a chat to find out what they thought about the experience, and what they might like to see in the future from this feature.
Run Customized Surveys
On that note, customer surveys are a highly effective method for better understanding your customer base and generating actionable insights. But some methods of surveying are more effective than others. Take a look at your current practices; if you’re only running an annual survey, you’re working with very limited insight into the real-time experience of your banking customers. At Avannis, we can run surveys for any touchpoint in your organization, providing you with a comprehensive view of the customer experience,
Execute Sentiment Analysis
You may want to run sentiment analysis on all or a portion of your business to create a general picture of customer opinion. If you already have a solid survey program in place, you can easily code customer comments and sort them by sentiment. With that data comes a more thorough understanding of exactly how your customers are experiencing certain touchpoints or moments in the customer journey. If you receive overwhelmingly positive comments on teller interactions, for example, you may want to reward your high-performing front-office staff and institute training to continue to strengthen that person-to-person experience.
That being said, cataloging all of that data can be quite difficult for smaller financial institutions. At Avannis, sentiment coding and analysis are part of our standard offering. Each comment can be marked with multiple codes, allowing you to get a better grasp on the nuances of the customer experience. For example, you’ll be able to see if a customer is mostly happy but also has a few concerns. That could mean that they’ve had years of excellent service but recently had an uncharacteristically poor experience. Armed with a deeper understanding of customer voice, you’ll be better prepared to speak to your customers’ concerns.
Improve the Customer Experience With Avannis
If you’re struggling to connect with your customer base, we can help. At Avannis, we offer a comprehensive set of online tools, customizable surveys, and expertise. We’ll help you arrive at a clearer picture of customer understanding—and then we’ll work with you to ensure that this information is put to good use in streamlining the customer experience, boosting loyalty, and increasing satisfaction. Contact us today to get started. We look forward to working with you! And in the meantime, make sure to follow us on Twitter for updates.