Originally published in ABA Bank Marketing
Improving the customer experience (CX) has been the driving force in bank marketing for many years now. Yet, achieving the goal of a seamless experience still presents challenges when it comes to a bank’s marketing efforts. Campaigns and other customer communications are often undertaken by different departments within the organization to upsell and cross-sell viable financial products. So, while each of those marketing efforts may have merit on its own, there is often an issue with them from the customer’s perspective.
Too often, each communication sent may end up looking and feeling like it is coming from a different banking organization—or worse yet, doesn’t acknowledge the customer engagement already in place.
Customers today expect better communications. They want to know their bank has a unified view of all their transactions with them. Disjoined marketing efforts risk leaving your customers with the impression that your bank is interested in selling them a lot of products, but not interested in understanding their actual needs or acting in a cohesive way—as their trusted advisor.
Taking a different view.
The way to avoid this risk is to make an organizational effort to move from an inside-out to an outside-in point of view when communicating with customers.
The outside-in approach views every communication from the customer perspective. It uses the data your bank has to gain an understanding of what the customer’s needs are. And it communicates with customers about those needs in a way that is consistent in brand and tone across all touchpoints. The result? That seamless customer experience.
How can you get to an outside-in approach and the resulting CX? In part, it will require overcoming three important hurdles:
- A recognition of the fundamental problem—that many siloed departments are sending independent marketing messages to customers that, from the customer’s perspective, appear disjointed and not personalized to their needs.
- Gaining access to customer data from across the organization to fully understand the customer’s needs and how your bank is communicating in response.
- Collaboration from all involved stakeholder departments.
Start with the content.
Examining how all three of these hurdles affect your bank’s customer communication workflow is the first step to overcoming them. Engage cross-functional members who have the knowledge and access necessary to address the many technical, process, and business issues that often arise when producing customer communications. With their help, create a communications assessment to provide a clear picture of how your bank is presenting itself to customers.
This communications assessment will reveal the extent to which inconsistencies exist in the communications that are being sent out. It should ask a set of critical questions that include:
- Does the branding look different?
- Are there different tones of voice?
- Do the content and the messages seem unified?
The path to achieving and maintaining the desired CX requires first leveraging each customer communication with relevant and cohesive messaging that builds loyalty, adds value, and enhances the experience of customers in new and more profitable ways.
And then consider technology.
In many organizations, existing technologies and systems present a fundamental barrier to optimizing customer communications and achieving strategic results.
A lack of agility is an obstacle to improving customer experience—especially when multiplied across large volumes of communications with numerous versions and variations. To achieve consistency in your marketing efforts, it is important to have the capability to manage content from every channel in a robust way, independent of IT.
Further, you must modify that content to meet set standards for consistent branding and tone, as well as the personalized messages customers are looking to receive.
The second part of your communications assessment, then, is to identify the tools or platform that could enable those involved in marketing to have access to customer data to create, modify, and approve personalized messaging content in customer communications across channels. Here are the types of questions you should ask when selecting technologies that will achieve your customer communications goals:
- Do they enable a collaborative work environment?
- Do they put capabilities directly in the hands of those doing the work or do tasks need to pass through organizational gatekeepers?
- Do they meet expectations for ease of use?
While good content needs to be the initial driver to successfully engage customers, good content requires the right technology to support it.
Finally, don’t forget to measure
Continuous improvement needs to be part of every communication plan. A mindset aimed to "measure and improve" will help select communication strategies grounded in real-world measurement, accurate data, and activities that strengthen customer communications and drive a meaningful return on investment.
Building strong client relationships is the goal of every bank and bank marketer. Taking an "outside-in" approach to your bank's customer communication strategy is the best way to ensure that your bank's customers see your organization as their ally and trusted advisor, instead of just as an organization that wants as much of their business as possible. In the quest for an excellent customer experience, every communication sent to customers matters. Personal attention and responsiveness is why they chose to bank with your organization in the first place—and why they will remain loyal and happy for the long haul.
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