Many Americans used to choose their banks almost solely based on proximity. There was a distinct advantage to opening an account with an institution down the block or right on the way home from work — especially considering even the simple act of depositing a check had to take place in person.
But nowadays, in an era when most or all of banking can take place online, customers have different criteria for deciding where to put their money. Banks have become brands vying for customers’ valuable loyalty in a competitive market. Marketing has the power to make or break the bottom line. Pulling in new customers is important, but keeping customers is an even more crucial consideration.
Here’s how banks are aiming to attract and retain customers today.
Customizing the Customer Experience
People expect banks to know what they want and need before even asking. As Payments Journal describes, banks today need to know and understand “even the smallest details of a client’s banking requirements.”
Customization is a key tenet of an overall stellar customer experience. The best banks understand who a customer is based on demographics and past actions — and figure out exactly what they expect. Surveys can help banks understand customers’ innermost thoughts and feelings on their services, not to mention which offers get the most positive response from various customer segments.
Speaking of segmenting, it’s increasingly vital to customize offers closely to niche subsets of customers rather than casting a wide net in the name of universal appeal. The goal is to boost the relevancy of product offerings and marketing messages based on subtle differences between groups.
Here’s just one example: Rather than treating customers aged 22-25 as one target group, consider the difference between a fresh college graduate and someone a year or two into their first salaried job. Speaking to this difference in their priorities and financial standings can go a long way in earning and keeping their business as needs shift.
The ability to effectively segment, understand and “wow” audiences depends increasingly on having financial analysis tools up to the task of mining a massive amount of data for useful insights. Pivoting toward self-service analytics empowers employees of all stripes to crunch numbers, draw conclusions and make data-driven decisions, while artificial intelligence-driven analytics helps organizations uncover insights otherwise hidden within a huge sea of data. The insights are there; it’s just a matter of whether banks have the tools to extract them and the culture to incorporate them into regular decision-making.
Marketing to Millennials
Banks are starting to understand just how important it is to capture the attention and loyalty of millennials — and, sooner rather than later, the members of Gen Z behind them. But many members of this group feel their current approach to banking leaves much to be desired. And where there’s dissatisfaction, there’s opportunity to do better and forge lasting relationships with customers.
Research is showing millennials want highly convenient mobile experiences, more personalized experiences and accessible financial advice. One bank even utilized a human-like robot named Pepper to offer visitors “a charming, charismatic and fast alternative to waiting in line for a teller,” according to Forbes The result? The bank saw year-over-year growth of 44 percent in addition to an uptick in employee morale.
Making Cyber Security a Selling Point
In our age of data breaches and cyberattacks, customers want reassurance their funds are safe. Banks with a strong cyber-defense strategy are positioned to build trust with customers. According the American Bankers Association journal, the pillars of cybersecurity excellence within the financial industry today are protection, detection and resolution. Strengthening this foundation and communicating these efforts to customers can go a long way.
Banks today can use data analytics, cybersecurity advantages and personalized customer experiences to attain and retract customers today.