Forget sales and bottom lines for a moment. For financial institutions, the only currency that should matter is customer loyalty, even more so when the financial landscape is becoming increasingly competitive.
Financial Brand currently lists a staggering 320 global challenger banks in its online database. This new reality represents more than just volume, but one in which new entrants are already making their presence felt. Case in point are the 70% of Canadians who did not first seek a loan with a traditional institution.
Aware of their choices, digital-savvy customers – particularly millennials and Gen Z – expect seamless, consistent and holistic experiences from their financial institutions.
It is important that financial institutions differentiate themselves in this crowding market. Customers need compelling reasons to choose and stay with your organization, and so here are 3 best practices for building and maintaining customer loyalty.
1. Know your customer.
When you know your customer, you add value to every interaction. Knowing your customer, however, involves reaching beyond data points like name and address and relating to customers in a person-to-person way, as humans. By listening to and understanding a customer’s needs and problems, you discover what truly resonates with them.
As trusted advisors, lenders are perfectly positioned to ask the right questions that add value. Taking the time to understand a customer’s current challenges will not only find the best solutions aligned with their needs, but it is this kind of personal conversation, whether in-branch or virtual, that builds a trusting relationship that wins loyalty.
Data, of course, has its uses, but it needs to be strategically collected rather than, say, automating impersonal email blasts that introduce generic products. Instead, institutions should focus on granular geographic or demographic data, or correlate customer information to other trends (e.g. how many first-time mortgage-seekers are also buying cars or living with their parents).
Bringing a wealth of data collection experience, strategic partners can help financial institutions generate and aggregate insights that will continually narrow in on customer needs. Leveraging your insights and those of partners will help you know your customers even better so that you are always personalizing solutions and cultivating authentic relationships.
2. Offer exceptional experiences.
Whether in-branch or online, customers interactions need to be simple and consistent at every touchpoint, and backed by targeted products, services, and support.
The experience of securing a loan, for example, should be seamless and integrated whether the customer applies entirely online, or visits a branch halfway through an application to ask more questions. Nobody wants to answer the same questions twice, repeat steps, or have the system limit what they can do online versus in person.
By allowing customers the opportunity to apply for, collaborate on, and finish a loan in the manner and location of their choosing, financial institutions are meeting customers where they are and where they want to be.
The right lending platform will let you scale in a way that is cost effective and efficient, so your institution is always ready to deliver exceptional experiences. And, when a supporting product purchase is made easy and convenient – through a combination of technology, integrations, and personalization – the customer experience flows seamlessly, which builds the trust necessary to inspire customer loyalty.
3. Invest in customers by investing in your team.
Customer loyalty is directly correlated to a financial institution’s staff, who need both the soft skills to maximize engagement and the intimate product knowledge to become subject matter experts that can communicate effectively.
Busy, virtual, and multiform, today’s work environment demands that staff have strong client support and 24/7 access to training platforms where they can learn new skills online at their own pace.
However, not all organizations have the resources to support this development in-house, so working with an experienced provider with a robust training platform can onboard teams faster and deliver more successful programs. Product and system knowledge enhances everyday performance, including how they engage with customers.
When a financial institution invests in its staff, it empowers the entire organization to deliver experiences that nurture customer loyalty and foster growth.
Relationships for life.
More pressing than ever, financial institutions need to know their customers, create and offer seamless, consistent and holistic experiences, and ensure lending staff have the knowledge, training, and technology to deliver exceptional customers experiences – and stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.
Partnering with the right strategic provider that shares these values can bring the innovation, training, and insights you need to cultivate lifelong, authentic customer relationships that grow your organization.
Look to Valeyo.
Valeyo is a leading provider, delivering purpose-built business solutions that help clients grow, innovate and create stronger, more connected customer experiences. Learn how we can help support your institution. Book a consultation with a solutions expert at Valeyo.
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