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By: Lauren Kirkley, Group President, Print, Payment & Engagement Solutions, Vericast
Assessing consumer satisfaction and expectations in the vacuum of a single industry view is a recipe for failure. To have a true impact on the needs and expectations of today’s consumer, financial institutions must adopt successful practices from retail sectors, such as e-commerce, travel and entertainment that successfully deliver on expectations for consistent, personalized experiences through every stage of the buying journey.
Consumer behavior has changed in a relatively short period of time. Lockdowns have transformed many into more health- and wealth-conscious, environmentally aware, technologically savvy shoppers loyal to businesses located in their communities.
Retailers have adapted by leveraging access to groundbreaking technology and a wealth of data to rebuild relationships, strengthen new ones, and bolster their brand through increased personalization, more empathy and consistent, relevant messaging.
It’s no different for retail banking.
Financial institutions are no longer competing only against each other, they are contending with every other experience across every other retail sector. To compete, financial institutions must take a page out of the retailer playbook to deliver in these four key areas:
- Making an Emotional Connection
Empathy-based marketing is seeing through the eyes of consumers. Consumers want to talk to real people who care. Although technology and innovation continually transform commercial interactions, the desire for human connection remains strong. Post-COVID, many crave more human connection. Consumers want to know a real person — not a digital bot or algorithm — is helping them make important decisions.
Financial institutions must balance digital and human interactions to optimize the convenience of digital banking with the need for personalized service.
- Delivering Value
Experience is the new value. Studies show consumers are willing to spend more on products and services in exchange for superior experiences.
What’s the payoff for delivering value?
According to McKinsey, top banks that adopt consumer experience strategies pioneered by other retail sectors have a higher deposit growth.
- Be Environmentally Responsible and Socially Conscious
Today’s social climate means consumers have become more discerning about what they buy and from whom. They want to shop local and buy from brands that demonstrate socially responsible behavior.
According to Vericast’s 2021 Consumer Intel Report, “THE CAUTIOUS RETURN TO A NEW WORLD,” fifty-four percent of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand or store that shares its efforts to be environmentally responsible or has sustainable/ethical business practices.
Financial institutions must take a stance and act on social issues because consumers just don’t prefer socially responsible companies, they actively look for them.
- Gaining Trust
Trust, confidence and credibility are best built through community investment. Even large financial institutions can think locally. Listen to your frontline managers who live, work and play where your customers bank to identify ways to be present in your local communities.
Trust is earned. Be authentic. Think value over profit. Be approachable and accessible. Back up your promises. These are all the key qualities for building strong consumer relationships that grow and last.
About Lauren Kirkley:
Lauren brings more than a decade of financial services experience to Vericast with expertise in operational performance management, change management, business transformation, and risk assessment.