The landscape for delivering banking services is changing rapidly, and with those changes come challenges to reaching customers and understanding what they want.  Changes in communications technology, regulatory environments, where and what services are delivered, cultural shifts and analytical capabilities create both challenges and excellent opportunities for engaging with your customers.

Whether you already have a strong voice of the customer program or are considering beginning one, here are a few things to consider for the future of your program:

Data collection methods need to reach both techno-savvy and traditional customers

As more customers use technology to do their banking, using the same technology to get their feedback is just common sense.  In doing so, however, some banks can forget about getting feedback from their customers who are either not connected online or for whom they don’t have online contact information.  For most financial institutions, this is still a large and very profitable customer segment.  While using a single data collection method is certainly simple and straight-forward, the most reliable data is collected using multiple modes of technology to reach the broadest sampling of customers.  Mail surveys or customer interviews by telephone are a couple of ways to reach traditional customers, but another, less expensive method is to use an automated phone survey introduced by a live representative.   Several Avannis clients have found this method not only acceptable to their customers, but also less expensive and a great way to reach customers who are difficult to reach online.

Mobile banking customers need the opportunity to provide feedback

According to a recent study by Cisco, the top three most interesting mobile banking features are real-time expense tracking and money management (22%), remote deposit by taking a picture of a check (21%), and using the mobile phone as a payment mechanism (18%).  (see article here). Fine-tuning these features as part of your product offering requires feedback from your mobile banking customers.  The best way to reach mobile banking customers is through their mobile devices.   Mobile customers can be invited via email to take a short survey asking about 3-5 questions about their experience soon after they complete it.  The email links them to a survey formatted specifically for their device.  Feedback from mobile customers is critical for remaining competitive in the current banking environment.

 Branch measurement needs to focus more on consultation

The same study by Cisco also recognized that the customer segment most strongly in favor of mobile banking (younger customer with an average age of 33), does not want mobile banking to replace other channels.  In fact, this segment of customers visits a branch 2.6 times a month on average, compared to 2.3 times across all respondents.  The preferred reason for visiting a branch is to apply for a loan or get advice from a representative.  As branches place more emphasis on advice and consultation, customer feedback measurement tools need to reflect those changes.  Simply asking if the representative smiled or shook your hand is not enough.  More focus needs to be placed on understanding if the customer’s primary needs were met, if they feel they are able to make informed choices, and if they are positive about their financial future as a result of their visit.

Greater emphasis needs to be placed on unstructured data

Closed–ended questions about service are indispensible to tracking progress and quantifying improvement, but often the most valuable insights come from unstructured customer feedback such as responses to open-ended questions, feedback from the company website, or complaint resolution processes.   Leveraging this data requires more than just reading customer comments and providing a summary to executive management.   Extracting themes and mapping them across time provides excellent insights that support and explain closed-ended data, and provide a higher level of actionable detail.  To take it a step further, themes can also be correlated with key measures of success such as loyalty, purchase activity, share of wallet, or overall satisfaction.  This provides further insights into which customer concerns have the most impact on the bottom line.