The following article was written by ForeSee’s Jason Veenker and Karaline Venezia.
Considering that in 2017 alone the Dow reached 15 new record-closing highs while NASDAQ recently saw its 30th, it’s easy to assume that Wall Street has fully rebounded from the financial crisis of 2008. Recent research, however, suggests there may still be some lingering implications from a consumer standpoint, especially when it comes to the banking industry.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the banking industry has experienced a significant loss in consumer trust in the past year. According to a new EY study, only 48% of customers have complete trust in their bank to keep money safe — and 22% have little or no trust that banks will provide unbiased advice. That’s unfortunate considering how retail banks now count on cross-channel selling of other financial services to maintain business growth. What’s more, those who don’t trust their bank are 3 times less likely to recommend the bank to others.
While these figures seem bleak, it does present a golden opportunity for banks to gain a major competitive advantage via a dedicated focus on measuring and improving the customer experience (CX). The right mix of technologies and services can help banks pinpoint and prioritize improvements to positively impact trust.
Here are three such ways investments in CX can help improve trust:
Leverage consumer ratings and reviews
Online reputation can be the first stepping stone to gaining consumer trust. When potential banking customers see positive reviews for a bank (even one they currently do business with), it creates a positive perception in the minds of consumers while building trust. And keep in mind, about 88% of people trust consumer reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Banking is personal after all! Customers are trusting you with their money (including nest eggs, life savings, college funds, etc.). That said, taking charge of consumer reviews can be even more potent for retail banks.
The real question is if and how you’re managing customer feedback from consumer ratings and reviews. If you’re already capturing feedback through customer experience surveys, you can save a lot of time and effort by leveraging the positive feedback and syndicating it out to Google, Bing, and Facebook to boost reputation.
Meet customer expectations on transparency of fees
Astoundingly, only 31% of traditional bank customers have complete trust that their bank is fully transparent about fees and charges. Combine that with 82% of customers going online first to research a product, and you have every reason to gain a competitive advantage by making sure fees are easy to find, understand, and comprehend in all of your digital channels. Just because a bank believes its fees are transparent doesn’t mean its customers agree. And this is where an investment in CX can really help.
Rather than basing your fee transparency satisfaction on a few data points, retail banks should leverage CX insights. These can be derived from customer experience measurement in conjunction with other data points to discover the gaps between your internal perception and customer reality.
Improve customer touch points
In banking, nothing impacts trust more than spotty, unreliable, or unsatisfying service. Imagine the perception of trust in a bank brand if the online portal is difficult to use, or if banking information sought out by a customer is unclear? What about if customer care agents have to put you on hold for extended periods of time to simply find your information?
Focus on meeting customer expectations where customers want to meet you: online, in branch, on a phone call, and through a mobile app. CX measurement — and the scientific prioritization of improvements across the journey — is the surest way for banks to know if they’re creating efficient processes that eliminate errors and exceed expectations. It’s also useful in gaining a better understanding of how each touchpoint contributes to success in others (aka digital contribution).
In conclusion, avoid data paralysis
The three previous recommendations can’t be achieved if a myriad of tool sets and applications are cobbled together. It will slow the iterative improvement process down and create competing priorities from different data sets. Strive for a solution that consolidates your view of CX insights while eliminating the need for juggling various platforms — working together in concert to create a symphony of customer experience measurement, management, and improvement.
Trust might not rebound as quickly as stock markets, but if banks make a commitment to cater to and exceed customer expectations with CX investments there could be a very bright future ahead. By focusing on aspects of the customer experience that directly impact trust, banks can turn the tide and earn a place in the lives of consumers as a trusted, reliable source of financial security and advice.
For more helpful information on assessing and improving your bank’s CX strategy, download the latest e-book in our ForeSee Stairway series: Five Steps to Win on Customer Experience for Retail Banks.
Jason Veenker is a passionate advocate for customer experience measurement and serves as a trusted adviser for financial CX at ForeSee. He has more than 13 years of experience partnering with Fortune 500 organizations to help maximize their technology investments.
Karaline Venezia partners with ForeSee’s Financial Services clients to help them build and scale enterprise level CX programs. She has over 12 years of experience consulting with Fortune 500 companies to help them leverage data to drive business decisions. She earned her BS in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University.