The financial market has become saturated, bringing competition to a whole new level. Today financial institutions are ensuring their competitiveness by offering traditional banking services, following emerging digital trends, highlighting bonuses, and lowering their prices.
This situation leads to highly competitive prices and service similarities, making it hard for customers to make a choice in the sea of options. Furthermore, the price of becoming an industry leader is much higher.
So how do you win the game these days? The key market players have recognized that the key company differentiator is customer experience. A Gartner survey has shown that about 66% of companies compete in the area of customer experience, which is a 30% increase compared to the results from 2010.
And they should! Another study found that companies with a customer experience focus generate 4%-8% higher revenue than the rest of their competitors. All signs indicate that companies with a customer experience mindset perform better and grow more quickly.
However, what do the actual customers think about customer service? They agree, as 69% of surveyed finance customers claim that poor customer service is the primary reason they switched companies.
You may now be wondering, how can you improve customer service in your own financial services business? Here are the top proven ways to do it. Let’s dive in!
1. Solicit quality feedback
There is no better way to improve customer experience in financial services than to simply ask customers what their expectations are and what they would like to change. You can have the most advanced CRM, but only customers truly know what is on their mind.
A helpdesk software gives you enough information regarding the customer’s name, city, and state. However, you still don’t have a proper insight into their preferences, which is why you need quality communication tools and techniques to unveil their doubts and start working on improving the quality of the time they spend on your company.
First, make sure that your feedback actions are conducted on a regular basis to keep track of your changes and measure improvements. The feedback mechanism can be established for all communication channels and touchpoints. If you provide phone call assistance, then you can train your customer support reps to ask for feedback politely at the end of a call.
However, the best way to gather an incredible amount of feedback data is through customer surveys. The main thing here is to make them short and sweet, as the long ones are too time-consuming, which is why people tend to skip them.
You can ask them the following questions:
- How satisfied are you with the service?
- Did it take long for you to get an answer?
- Was the customer support rep kind?
- Are you happy with the solution?
Answers on all these questions can be offered on a scale from 1-5. Here, a customer only needs to click on the number to answer your question. You can send the survey to their emails or create a website pop-up that will appear after they complete a certain transaction.
2. Provide empathetic customer service
Empathy has become essential for providing superb customer experience in financial services. To observe an issue from a customer’s perspective gives you a huge advantage in understanding their fears and wishes completely.
Following the knowledge you gain through this reflecting process, you are in a better position to solve their issues efficiently. Empathetic customer support is crucial for the financial industry because people need to highly trust you to give you control over their hard-earned money. Thus, make sure to earn that trust to build long-term customer relationships.
3. Determine key business drivers
The cost of losing a customer is astronomical compared to establishing feedback best practices. For instance, imagine you acquire 3,000 customers per year and pay $500 for each acquisition. If those customers have an average life-span of 10 years, your company Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) would be $29,500 (3,000 x $500). If you lose a customer due to poor customer service, you won’t lose only the current sale, you would lose part or all of the $29,500.
Once you collect your customer feedback, it’s now time to analyze all the data to get a complete picture of your current customer experience quality. Identify the factors that lead to customer loss and those that make your customer support look great. You can use NPS, CSAT, or other KPIs to determine customer satisfaction level. Then use the results to develop effective customer service strategies.
4. Create customer journey histories
Customer loyalty is hard to earn, so once you have it you should nurture it carefully every day. Building a loyal customer base should be your priority as that ensures business stability.
To make this happen you can create customer journeys that consist of information on any step they took while doing business with your company. Having these customer records can help ]make your company even more customer-centric by providing a more personalized experience.
To have a 360o view of your customers you can:
- Create customer profiles: Based on their activities, you can identify types of your clients. They can be private bankers, homeowners, or a commercial entity. By creating these customer personas and assigning each customer one, you will have a better overview of their needs and behavioral patterns.
- Determine the type of engagement: Determine which channel a customer engages with the most and try to reach out to them there.
- Minimize the customer churn: Unfortunately, the customer attrition rate is high (25-30%) in the financial sector. However, by identifying the pain points or at-risk customers you can focus on engaging with them on a more personal level with a goal to improve their experience.
5. Develop omnichannel customer experience
Even though digital technology is revolutionizing the banking, insurance, and investment industries, due to the lack of trust, people still prefer visiting you at a physical location to open an account and deposit their cash. On the other hand, today clients would rather send you a message then drive or commute miles to your office to ask a simple question.
Thus, optimal contemporary customer experience in financial services implies a combination of traditional and digital tools. To provide excellent customer experience, you need to establish omnichannel customer support. This strategy relates to enabling as many digital communications channels for your customers to reach you as possible. People like the comfort of having many options that are suitable for their different needs.
Depending on the time, location, and preferences you should consider:
- Installing an AI Chatbot: Your 24/7 customer support assistant that uses machine learning and advanced reading skills to answer basic customer questions such as, “What time do you open?”. However, the best AI chatbot can answer even more complex questions such as, “Where is my order?”
- Creating a helpcenter: Having a helpcenter is customer support heaven for both customers and customer reps. Now your customers can find the answers by themselves by typing a question in a search box on your website. This reduces the number of tickets drastically, freeing up your reps’ time to focus on more important issues and getting you five stars reviews.
- Adding Live Chat: There are customers who still prefer communication with the human touch, thus having a Live Chat available helps you create this expereince for this type of customer.
- Employing an efficient ticketing system: A helpdesk ticketing system enables you to have all customer emails in one place, giving you a better overview of customer histories and current needs. Here you can assign the requests to agents as well as to keep track of the request progress.
- Having a mobile-friendly tool: Today customers simply won’t forgive you not having a mobile and tablet friendly chatbot or help center. They are constantly on their phones and expect instant solutions.
Having omnichannel support can become a nightmare if you don’t have one inbox for all the requests coming from all the available channels. Thus, having one helpdesk software to cover all the communication areas may be extremely beneficial for your business.
6. Encourage financial literacy
The biggest untapped revenue source is certainly financial literacy programs. Many customers lack both basic and advanced financial education which can help them make more purchasing decisions. It is usually hard to find a credible source explaining certain services, thus banks and financial institutions should take this task into their own hands.
To educate your customers, you can create webinars for specific financial topics that are connected to your services. Another way is to train your customer support team to be able to answer any question.
You can even add through articles to your helpcenter and ensure that they are easy to find by using popular phrases as article names. Similarly, your app can be a great source of the educational material, too.
A good way to start is to check successful financial education programs developed by the American Bankers Association and the National Financial Educators Council. It is simple, if you don’t educate your customers on your services, you most likely won’t sell them.
7. Establish GLBA Compliance
You can do all the previous steps right, however if you don’t have the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) compliance, your financial business operations don’t have legitimate purpose in the eyes of the law.
GLBA regulates the way you disclose or use your clients’ nonpublic personal information (NPA). Now consumers have the right to be completely informed about the use of their personal data as well as to delete such information.
Without their consent you are not allowed to share their data with any third-party organization and definitely not allowed to sell it. To keep your database far from hackers’ malicious intentions, GLBA also introduced the Safeguard rule that gives specific measures and procedures that you need to establish to increase the overall security of your customer data collecting, processing, and storing.
Establishing GLBA compliance can be a real struggle if you go the traditional way and keep hiring more legal professionals. If you choose AI tech advancement such as a support helpdesk, you can solve this business dilemma within minutes!