Is it possible to talk about customer engagement in the banking sector, a sector that is perceived as technical, complex and, in a certain sense, inaccessible ?
Not only is it possible, it’s a must if you want to build a lasting relationship with your customers and grow your business while improving your bank’s reputation. Doing so is far from simple, but fortunately, digital solutions are a valuable resource to be exploited in order to work toward this goal.
What does customer engagement mean in the banking sector?
If you look closely, the concept of engagement in marketing existed long before the advent of the internet and digital technologies. And even though digital transformation has transformed this very concept, its core still remains, and is pursued by banks and in general by all those who want to build and develop a business.
We can define engagement as the involvement and emotional attachment of a consumer to a brand that stems from specific experiences during interaction with the brand itself, as well as with other customers.
Customer engagement, therefore, implies the desire on the part of the brand to create a personal, stable, long-term relationship with customers and consumers, even more so when it comes to banking institutions, which are directly involved in fundamental choices for the lives of individuals.
At the same time, it also implies the necessary participation of customers, understood as the behavior of the consumer himself, who plays an active and constant role in brand communication, in the conversations that take place within the brand community in various ways (for example, opinions, reviews, comments, etc.).
To achieve this kind of reaction, lenders can leverage several aspects of customer engagement that also represent its three main dimensions.
The three levers of customer engagement
There are three types of interactions that brands (including those in the banking sector) can exploit to build a truly solid relationship with the customer. This also represents angles on which to base their communication and storytelling.
The first dimension is the cognitive one, and it is the expression of a certain psychological state of the consumer towards a brand that is considered relevant, because it is perceived by the individual as in tune with his or her own values and lifestyle. It usually implies the activation of certain positive cognitive associations that increase the relevance of the brand in the eyes of the consumer.
The second dimension, as well as the second perspective to leverage, is the emotional or affective one. The emotional dimension of engagement is based on a greater emotional charge of the message and the involvement of this irrational part of the consumer that feels in tune with the brand, for reasons that cannot necessarily be described on an objective level. Despite this, it is undoubtedly effective because it makes it easy to stimulate an attitude of consumer loyalty towards the banking institution.
Finally, the third dimension, which is in some way “triggered” by the first two, is the behavioral dimension that represents the degree of activation of the consumer towards the brand that he considers relevant.
These three aspects, if properly set in motion by a coherent marketing strategy, are able to generate a high level of customer engagement and, consequently, to greatly strengthen the customer-banking institution relationship.
But what are the benefits of developing good customer engagement for a company in the banking sector?
The benefits of effective customer engagement for the banking industry
If you think about it, it’s natural that every banking or financial operator devotes time and attention to building a close relationship with their clients; after all, the banking sector is one of the most customer-centric sectors.
The bank is often asked to preserve, manage, and guarantee one’s savings and, as we have said, it is precisely banks that are involved in very important moments in people’s lives (buying a house, starting a business); hence, there is a need to develop maximum trust between the parties so that every choice is correct and conscious.
Obviously, there is more to it than that. In fact, a high level of customer engagement for banks is not only natural, it also offers many benefits.
For example, improving customer engagement can also lead to improved revenue: it has been observed that the greater the involvement of customers, the greater their interest in the services and activities carried out by the bank, as well as the exploration of new financial instruments. Suffice it to say that, on average, customers engaged in this way generate a 10% increase in deposit balances and a 14% increase in investments.
Another interesting aspect is that effective customer engagement places one’s own institution above others. In fact, it’s normal for a consumer to be a customer of several banks at the same time. However, using customer engagement, you can also create a “preferential” relationship.
This means the possibility of selling the same customer many different services, from current accounts to credit cards to checks.
In the same way, making the customer feel at the center of a relationship of trust serves to make the bank a true point of reference in the client’s professional life and even a life long relationship.Not only does this increase the number of services that can be provided, it also transforms the customer into a sort of “ambassador” whose experience and choices demonstrate the validity and reliability of the bank itself.
All of these advantages are fundamental for being competitive and, above all, for guaranteeing a long-term growth perspective for the business. For this reason, it is essential for every institution to increase its customer engagement. We’ll share some tips to help you along.
No longer just services and products, but a real experience
The first way to do this is to radically rethink the experience you want to offer the customer, starting from the first contact until the relationship has become stable and habitual. In this sense, it is essential to meet the needs of users also in terms of the digital solutions available.
For example, implementing a system of apps for mobile devices is a strategically winning choice because it meets a widespread recent trend: where customers are increasingly managing many operations, including banking, via their smartphones.
Another aspect that plays a key role in transforming the customer experience in order to increase customer engagement is the level of service that banks are able to offer. Customers have come to expect immediate assistance and answers to their questions, especially when it comes to financial matters.
That’s why intelligent chatbots, based on artificial intelligence, are increasingly useful: thanks to their particular technology, these digital assistants don’t just sort customers’ requests, they also learn from their behaviors, anticipating a customer’s needs.
On the other hand, advance planning is fundamental for increasing the level of the customer experience offered at every stage. For example, by mapping the customer journey within its own digital ecosystem, each bank can improve the browsing experience even before the user signals a problem and regardless of the touchpoint used.
If this is combined with the bank’s ability to interact with its customers in real time, then it becomes possible to simplify certain procedures and reduce time, even in the case of complex operations, making assistance faster and more effective and, most importantly, significantly increasing customer satisfaction.
You can’t have customer engagement without personalization
Another fundamental element in creating effective customer engagement that leads to the creation and consolidation of a long-term customer-bank relationship is personalization.
This aspect is very important, as much in the banking sector as in other sectors that place great importance on the customer and on building a solid relationship based on trust.
Obviously, there are different ways to carry out personalization, which can be achieved through the use of many touchpoints, integrating them into a single experience and perhaps taking advantage of an omnichannel approach, which leads the user to live a fully immersive experience that is tailored around him. For this to be possible, you must first collect and analyze data about your customers: what they search for on the internet, the online conversations they take part in, how they navigate the site, how often they open emails, and so on.
This is accompanied by profiling, which not only serves to understand the reliability of customers and their solvency, but also to understand more about them, which products are best suited to them and, above all, where they are in the customer journey in order to choose the most effective message to reach and interest them.
With that done, you can start working on customizing your touchpoints.
For example, customer communications can be made more captivating and engaging by inserting personalized videos into them, by using a product such as Doxee Pvideo capable of combining personalization with interactivity.
Doxee Pvideo enables you to create videos composed of scenes that are specifically identified according to the characteristics of each individual recipient. To this, you can add personalized text and banners, as well as ad-hoc chosen images, and a personalized voice chosen through text-to-speech and the audio library.
In this way, the storytelling becomes more immersive and engaging for the user. Among other things, Doxee Pvideo also ensures a lot of customer interaction, thanks to the large amount of interactive features.
For example, you can show in-depth pop-ups, insert links to a data collection landing page, and include precise call-to-actions that allow customers to complete a purchase or make a payment.
Customer engagement is based on data
It’s worth reiterating that in order to pursue a certain level of customer engagement, the role of data is crucial.
First, it’s essential in the strategic planning phase, since, as we have seen, we need to know the user in order to increase their involvement. Secondly, data is also important afterwards, to verify that the strategy has worked and to track how the relationship has transformed. There are many evaluation metrics that you can use, and these can change depending on your business and your goals.
For example, an interesting KPI to consider is the conversion rate, i.e. the ability of a site to transform users into leads or customers. This index helps banks evaluate the effectiveness of their communications and to evaluate their pages from other points of view, such as optimization, cookies, and privacy management.
Another is the bounce rate, which represents the percentage of customers who leave the site after visiting a single page; this can say a lot about the effectiveness of your page and the usability of your web architecture.
Even for email, there are obviously KPIs to consider when evaluating the level of customer engagement for the banking sector. Among the most important is obviously the open rate, that is, how many delivered emails are actually opened or the bounce rate, which indicates how many emails are “bounced” for various reasons.
Starting from this, we can then derive how to improve our strategies to involve users, which can vary from the type of content to include to the best time to contact and involve users.