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customer loyalty in the banking sector

9 tips for improving engagement and customer loyalty in the banking sector

In the finance and banking sector, customer communication isn’t easy, which makes building customer loyalty in the banking sector an even bigger challenge.

Why? For one reason, the products and services that finance and banking companies offer can be complex and difficult to explain. In addition, regulation for consumer protection is particularly stringent and places limits on how they can communicate with customers. In addition, given recent industry happenings, it’s even more important, even urgent for banks and credit institutions to create a communication strategy that effectively combats this image and conveys trust.

For these reasons (and many others), the main banking groups are investing in digital transformation in order to reposition themselves in the eyes of customers, increasing their involvement and providing a quality customer experience.

If investing in digitization is essential for remaining competitive, simply going digital alone isn’t enough to increase customer engagement and customer loyalty in the banking sector. In fact, it’s necessary to implement a series of behaviors that, if combined correctly, allow you to retain your community, influence attitudes about your company, and, in the ideal scenario turn customers into real brand ambassadors.

 

Tip 1: Know your customers

It seems obvious but it is so: to effectively involve, you first need to know them.

It is therefore necessary for each bank to be equipped with professionals capable of reading and interpreting data to manage the relationship with customers. For this reason, credit institutions require new roles such as data analyst and CRM Specialist.

The data analyst manages the collection and analysis of data from the network. In particular, he must understand the origin of the data and any anomalies, analyze the flow of information, use statistical methods to identify trends and relevant behaviors and, finally, make all of these considerations intelligible. Of all the digital professions, the data analyst is certainly one of the most sought-after positions, even in the field of finance and banking, given that 14% of data analysts work in this sector.

The CRM Specialist, on the other hand, is the one who manages the relationships with customers in the broadest sense: he categorizes and collects them within specific clusters that are consistent with, for example, their needs and requirements, the socio-economic context in which they are placed and what stage of customer journey they are in.

This allows the bank to build more effective marketing campaigns because they take into account the characteristics of the target, reaching it with tailored messages and using different channels.

 

Tip 2: Digital first

Banks must take into account how the average user has changed in recent years. Among all, the trends that must be taken into account, without a doubt, is the fact that the customer is increasingly digitally addicted, connected, often on multiple channels, independent and autonomous.

It is no coincidence that customers prefer to use services and content that are born and operate directly on the web. The customer journey, in essence, must be designed to take place entirely online, without the need for physical touch points.

This should lead banks to reconsider how they weigh the various components of their marketing mix. In order to control the territory, it is no longer necessary to have a large number of branches as in the past, but rather to increase their presence on social networks.

 

Tip 3: Business is social

The third piece of advice for increasing customer engagement and customer loyalty in the banking sector is to integrate social media into your marketing strategy.

As shown by a recent study by the Italian Banking Association, many banks have understood this and have begun to systematically monitor the main social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin). Almost all the respondents confirmed that they use these channels to create and nurture their customer community and to provide efficient and personalized customer care service.

The use of social media is strategic because it allows you to build a solid relationship with users, who in turn, feel valued. Moreover, at the communication level, it represents a valid way to partially replace the physical branch, since the sense of closeness can be transmitted through the types of content that you share.

Banks with a social media presence use it to talk about their charitable or sustainability initiatives or topics related to entertainment or local events. In this way, the bank can speak directly to customers using a familiar and recognizable tone of voice, which allows it to position itself in a manner consistent with its vision and values.

 

Tip 4: Content is king

Despite major technological developments and changing customer habits, one rule still remains true: what you communicate counts.

For this reason, the bank must carefully decide which messages to convey, bearing in mind that the services and products offered are often complex and the number of communications issued is limited.

Research by Microsoft (a bit dated, but still relevant) regarding the threshold of attention of an average user is lower than that of a goldfish (9 seconds versus 8) and is constantly decreasing, also due to the large amount of information and stimuli available to us. In addition, users only pay attention to the messages that interest them most (e.g. transparency of rates, ease of communication with the brand, and the ability to keep track of the status of services in use) and discard all others.

All this must guide the banks to create clear, direct and easily understandable content.

 

Tip 5: Keep it simple

Clarity in content must go hand in hand with simplicity in processes.

To ensure a good level of involvement of its customers, each bank must build procedures and use a call to action that are simple and immediate, also because in the digital field, time is precious and closely linked to the level of customer satisfaction.

Basically, the “two taps rule” applies, which must be a real mantra for those who work to provide a quality customer experience. This rule, put forward for the first time by Marissa Meyer, summarizes the user’s need to achieve what he wants with the least effort possible, namely two taps or clicks.

In general, this translates into the need to take into account the usability of any piece of content. Therefore, the use of a captivating layout, infographics, and recognizable fonts and colors is essential to offer customers a dynamic and satisfying experience.

 

Tip 6: The container is the content

While content is of fundamental importance, how it’s packaged is decisive for effective communication.

Every bank, and every company in general, must carefully choose how to convey its CTAs and transmit its services or products, so as to reach the right target at the right time and in the right way. Obviously, there is not a single formula that fits every case, but, as seen above, it is necessary to have in-depth knowledge of the audience of (potential) customers to reach them in the most appropriate way.

However, even in this case, there are some trends that can be followed, regardless of the recipient.

For example, any content has to take the increasing trend towards mobility into account. According to a 2018 study by We Are Social in collaboration with Hootsuite, the number of mobile users out of 59.33 million inhabitants is 49.19 million in total, which is about 83%. Italy in third place among all countries in the world for penetration of unique mobile phone users compared to the population.

In addition, users spend an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes a day on their mobiles and 68% of those who use mobile banking do so from home, therefore, not necessarily on the move. Mobile is a must if you want to be sure to effectively engage customers with ad hoc content or services.

The same applies to the format to be used.

Static content generates, at least according to the parameters of social networks such as Facebook, more engagement, while a video is more effective if your goal is awareness.

In any case, the tendency is to prefer images to words, as they are more likely to attract attention, and if used well, they lead the user to pay more attention, share content, and make it viral.

 

Tip 7: Open up to omnichannel

As mentioned above, with the advent of digitization and new technologies, the modern consumer is often connected to several devices at the same time. This means that, compared to the past, each company has many more opportunities to get in touch with its customers (shops, social pages, mobile applications, websites, ecommerce, email, etc.).

Therefore, financial sector operators must deal with this reality and build a communication strategy capable of exploiting all the different touch points mentioned above and create a network in which the different channels are properly integrated with each other.

To achieve a true omnichannel marketing approach, it is necessary to provide the customer with a perfectly connected and integrated environment in which all channels are aligned with each other and provide consistent stimuli and responses to customer needs and the specific part of the customer journey level in which it is located. This new marketing concept allows us to provide customers with an absolutely innovative and high quality customer experience.

In this way, any financial advisor, for example, can better understand the customer in front of him, provide the most appropriate advice, and guide him towards a satisfactory solution, all without wasting time or unnecessary repetition. And, the relationship with the customer will become stronger, also because the latter will feel at the center of an ecosystem that knows him and that is able to quickly solve his problems.

If this is accompanied by a certain ability to collect and interpret data (which is one of the recommendations listed above), you can even arrive at a predictive management of risks and services, which enables you to anticipate what each customer needs.

 

Tip 8: Personalization builds customer loyalty in the banking sector

In the banking sector, too, there is a need for a radical change in the approach of one’s own marketing strategies. As we have seen, it is no longer enough to spread “product-centric” messages in order to have a dominant market position for the product or service you want to sell. On the contrary, we must gradually shift our attention to the customer. In other words, marketing must become customer-centric.

The client and his needs and requirements must be at the center of attention.

In this sense, it is essential to guarantee consumers a high level of customer experience. Because many different elements make up the customer experience, there’s no single way to do this. In any case, the key must be personalization.

Today’s consumers are no longer willing to be passive subjects; on the contrary, they are constantly looking for experiences that place them at the center and allow them to play an active role in the various processes.

This means that services, content, and even the communication strategy must be tailor-made.

It is no coincidence, in fact, that in terms of marketing, we no longer talk about targets but about people, indicating a narrower, more specific categorization of individual customers.

The relationship with customers will only be perceived as relevant only by providing personalized interactions and content to engage all of the various types of customer. And what is more relevant than something that directly affects us?

In this sense, the measures may seem obvious and yet they are incredibly effective. To provide an illuminating example, consider the new dynamics of customer care.

As we have seen, most banks are now constantly monitoring social channels with the goal, among others, of providing effective customer care. In this way, credit institutions can reach their customers directly, even calling them by name.

In this way, the user and the bank can speak directly to each other. The bank, for its part, is willing to listen and the customer feels that they are part of a valuable relationship from which they can obtain assistance and useful information.

In other words, it’s a win-win situation. On social networks, the bank can monitor its reputation effectively and react quickly to negative comments with speed and professionalism, turning them into an opportunity to increase awareness.

If this behavior on social platforms is pursued long enough, this can improve the perception of the bank, and the channel can become a reliable point of reference for its own customers.

 

Tip 9: Tell me a story

The last piece of advice is about providing customer-relevant content. As seen above, everything about a user is relevant to them. But there’s more.

We all love listening to stories. Even a brand can have a story to tell that reflects its principles and values. Storytelling is a very effective way to engage users that gives them the opportunity to enjoy content that is not just commercial in nature. Being able to tell a good story allows each bank to address prejudices related to the sector and to develop a relationship of empathy with its customers.

Again, in order to do this effectively, it is necessary to carefully choose the channels to be used.

An unexpectedly effective channel is email. It allows you to reach the recipient directly, at the most appropriate time, and with content that is highly personalized. Even better if the story is included in a video, where the customer is in complete control of the experience.

Doxee provides all of this, and much more through Doxee Pvideo®, the personalized and interactive video service developed by Doxee, helping brands convey messages in an efficient and memorable way and win customer loyalty in the banking sector.

 

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