It’s pretty easy to make kids happy. As a kid, at the bank, you would probably get a lollipop, or even two, when you visited the teller. Suddenly, what was a chore just turned into a fun experience thanks to a little sugar. While it’s easy to delight a child, it’s a little harder to delight adults. However, it is possible, and it’s not just about lower fees, either. Providing excellent customer service is important for any company, but it is crucial for service industries like banks. While lower fees can help a bank in the short term, delighting customers with excellent service will be much more beneficial in the long term.
Customers have access to tens if not hundreds of options when it comes to choosing banking services, and the quality of a customer’s experience will determine if the customer becomes loyal or switches to another provider. Banks should realize that what they offer is more than just a product or service. A customer’s banking relationship is a journey that includes onboarding, transacting, maintaining, and problem resolution. There is real value in the way banks deliver these customer experiences.
Focus on Improving the Customer Experience
It’s not a secret that many banks have struggled with delighting their customers. For many years, banks focused more on practices and activities that made money for the bank and paid less attention to their customers. This led to banks depending on what many call “nuisance fees,” as well as hidden penalties, for a substantial portion of their earnings.
If banks are serious about wanting to delight their customers, they could start by seeing where they currently stand. Banks can do this by looking at where they focus their attention and separating current activities into two classes:
- Activities that could help customers
- Activities that are primarily intended to make money for the bank
If banks really want to delight their customers, they need to shift from focusing on making money for the bank, or shareholders, and, instead, focus on improving the customer experience.
Make Delighting Customers Your Goal
Delighting customers isn’t just a job for the teller handing out lollipops. Banks who want to delight customers must realize that this is a team effort. Delighting customers should be the job of everyone in the organization. So what does delighting a bank customer look like? It might be releasing a loan before the scheduled date. It could be personally delivering a loan check without being asked to do so. A simple way to delight customers is just by greeting them and then thanking them after each and every transaction, including withdrawals, deposits, inquiries, and credit card applications. These interactions can happen in person, on the phone, or online.
For this customer experience transformation to take hold, it needs to start at the top. Executives should model the customer-experience behaviors that they want to see. They need to make it clear that making money is no longer the goal. By delighting customers, a bank should end up making more money than before, but those earnings are the result of the bank’s actions, not the goal itself. This goal shift requires different behaviors for many banks.
Create Loyal Customers
Banks can apply the same tests that they use for productivity programs to customers’ experiences. For example, banks can work to identify customers’ pain points that lead to a call to the call center. Banks can isolate the most frequent pain points and work to create solutions that alleviate that pain point. Eliminating pain points for customers leads to greater customer satisfaction.
Finding these pain points isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Everyone in the bank needs to take a look at what they do and how they do it; there is always room for improvement. Managers should constantly be evaluating and evolving their bank’s practices. Banks should stop worrying about what they think they have to sell, and instead approach their products and services from the customer’s perspective. What are the customers’ needs, and how can the bank solve them? Customers want to feel valued, appreciated, and confident. Listen to your customers, find their pain points, and offer them solutions. The benefits of creating superior customer experiences and delighting your customers will include a boost to your bottom line, making employees happier, and creating greater customer loyalty.
When your customers have a great experience with your bank, you create loyalty and build trust. Those loyal customers will recommend your products and services to others, providing you with even more value to your business.
At Safeguard, it’s all about you and your business. You can count on your local Safeguard advisor to have the products, services, and advice you need to run and grow your business. Contact us today.