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How Financial Institutions Can Use Industry Benchmarking to Stay Ahead of the Competition

November 15th, 2019

Keeping an eye on the competition is harder than it sounds. Sure, you can glance at the website of another bank or credit union, but you can’t really know what’s going on inside that institution when it comes to key elements like customer journey or internal service efforts. Where does your own financial institution stand in terms of customer satisfaction? What about Net Promoter Score? Wouldn’t it be nice to see how you compare to competitors on these points, and more?

Industry benchmarks provide financial institutions with clear developmental goals that can inform growth strategies and be used to refine the customer experience. They can even help to uncover actionable insights that were otherwise hidden by internal processes. Maybe you need to improve your internal customer service team. Maybe a significant number of unresolved complaints are driving customers to other banks or credit unions with higher customer satisfaction scores.

Unfortunately, smaller institutions may find it quite difficult to get included in JD Power rankings or other similar indexes, due to an inability to collect the data required to make a firm’s cutoff. At Avannis, we provide invaluable benchmarking solutions for all of our clients, regardless of how many surveys they complete.

Whatever the size of your financial institution, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your financial institution measures up. Here’s what you need to know about industry benchmarking—the benefits, the caveats, and how you can use financial benchmarking solutions to stay a step ahead of the competition.

The Basics of Industry Benchmarking

As the banking industry moves towards complete personalization and a more intuitive customer experience, competition for customers is growing fiercer. Simply meeting expectations is no longer enough to create and retain loyal customers. Benchmarking offers a continually moving target to shoot for, as well as hints at the practices and strategies that other financial institutions are employing. 

Where Do Industry Benchmarks Come From?

Internal data is relatively easy to come by—but the same can’t be said for industry-wide data that matches your own metrics. Things get even trickier if you want to know what’s going on in your specific region. There are certain firms that release financial sector benchmarking data based on averages from their own larger clients, but these results can only go so far and may not even help smaller or regional financial institutions.

At Avannis, we conduct an ongoing post-transaction study in four different regions, across four types of financial institutions (community, regional, national, and credit union). That means we have a wealth of industry data that can be narrowed down according to geographic location, institution size, and other factors that will create an accurate comparison for your own financial institution to analyze. And because our ongoing survey includes a large number of measures, you won’t find yourself stuck manipulating your own data—you’ll be able to choose the metrics that are the most useful to your current customer experience strategy. This study also allows us to identify new trends that need to be measuring and pass that information along to our clients.

Why You Should Be Utilizing Industry Benchmarks

The obvious benefit of industry benchmarking is that it helps to establish a performance baseline, giving you an idea of how your financial institution measures up to the competition. But another benefit of utilizing this analytical strategy is that it can help you identify best practices that your institution has yet to incorporate into current practices. 

Depending on the performance metrics that you choose to focus on, industry benchmarking can reveal both quantitative and qualitative gaps in the customer journey, in your service and product offerings, and in your financial institution’s overall approach to the customer experience. With reliable data to depend on, the sky’s the limit. 

Using Industry Benchmarks

Industry comparisons can offer a clearer picture of where a bank or credit union stands in the local or regional space. At Avannis, we help financial institutions identify areas in which they are “best-in-class” when compared to their competitors. We can tailor these comparisons based on big questions, like satisfaction or likelihood to recommend, as well as for specific service behaviors like using the customer name and making him or her feel valued.

Here are just a few different areas that can benefit from competitor comparisons:

  • Teller transactions
  • Loan application and experience
  • New account opening
  • Online banking
  • Mobile banking
  • Call center contact

With the vast wealth of data available from your own financial institution, you should hone in on specific performance indicators before expanding your search to produce a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape. Once you’ve gotten the full picture, it’s time to get to work. Identify any trends amongst your competitors, and ensure that your financial institution is keeping up or seeking alternate avenues of improvement. Once you have that best-in-class designation, don’t stop—the best banks and credit unions are constantly developing new ways to drive growth and enhance the customer experience. 

Find Your Place in the Financial Landscape With Avannis

With our leading-edge tools and unbeatable expertise, Avannis can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of where your financial institution falls among your competitors and industry leaders. Depending on your growth objectives, we can help you figure out exactly how to maintain that place—or how to improve on certain aspects of the customer experience. The best part? When you do research with us, we’ll include any and all available benchmarking metrics in your results, at no additional cost.

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the latest tech updates and developments in financial marketing. We look forward to working with your financial institution.