For Australia’s beleaguered banking sector in particular, driving positive engagement has never been more important. Damaging revelations from the 2018 banking royal commission have seen the reputations of many high-profile institutions take a battering. As banks and financial services businesses continue to implement the policies of reform which have ensued, forging better relationships with customers and rebuilding trust is an imperative.
One way of doing this will be by delivering digital experiences that consistently meet and exceed customer expectations. Indeed, providing a superior customer experience is frequently the only way in which businesses, financial services institutions included, can distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace.
Gauging customer experience in the digital arena
Australian banks are ways off abandoning their branches but these bricks and mortar outlets have ceased to serve as the face of the brand for a growing number of customers. Today, many Australians conduct their banking, exclusively or substantially, online. Opportunities to interact with them in real life to garner customer experience feedback can be limited.
While it is possible for financial services firms to get a handle on how they’re doing on the customer experience front using digital metrics, many misunderstand which metrics should be focused on. While clicks and likes on social media platforms can provide insight, industry experience has shown they’re shallow measures. While, they may provide a snapshot of how customers and prospects feel at a certain point in time, they don’t necessarily reflect long-term customer commitment and brand loyalty accurately.
So, what should financial institutions do that need to analyse, measure and understand how they’re doing from a customer experience perspective? Below are a few tips to consider.
Understanding visitors’ intent
Determining how to deliver an optimal customer experience to an individual starts with understanding their back story. In the digital arena, that begins with capturing visitor intent data – information about the problem or need they are looking to address or the reason they’ve sought out the company. It’s tough to target prospects with personalised, relevant offers in the absence of this information.
Examining the ways in which individuals engage with a company’s online presence can give some insight into their motivations. Some may have navigated their way via a social media post or news story that relates to the financial product or service on offer, while others may come from a seasonal spike in activity – the start or end of the financial year, or some other significant date on the calendar, for example.
The amount of time a customer spends engaging with a site is also a good indicator of whether the value proposition from an offer is going to resonate and whether it will result in a sale.
If customers are switching off quickly or navigating a site haphazardly, it may be a sign the online experience is poorly designed and is turning users off, or that the product offering itself needs to be reviewed.
Gauging customer satisfaction
Getting customers is one thing; keeping them is another. Financial services providers stand a better chance of doing the latter if they find ways to gauge customer satisfaction, not just by way of an occasional feedback survey, but regularly, and at every stage of the customer journey.
Happy customers tend to become loyal customers and brand evangelists who laud products and services voluntarily within their business and personal circles.
A steady stream of referrals and positive online reviews are good signs this is occurring. Keeping tally of both makes sense for firms that are serious about doing digital experience well.
Engaged employees equal improved customer experience
It’s impossible to deliver excellent customer experiences without an engaged team of employees. Workers who feel happy and valued are more productive and more enthusiastic in their interactions with customers, and more likely to stick around – all positives for any business.
Keeping the lines of communication open, inviting employees’ feedback and demonstrating their input is valued by acting on concerns and suggestions are all practices that will stand financial services providers in good stead.
Time to act
In today’s crowded and highly competitive landscape, Australians have no shortage of banking and insurance options to choose from.
Long-term loyalty is not a given and organisations that don’t strive to win and retain customers by delivering superlative customer experiences are unlikely to survive.
Finding ways to measure the effectiveness of online efforts will help institutions that are serious about doing so up their game, boost customer loyalty, and steer their way to safety and success.
Chris Gibbs, general manager Asia-Pacific and Japan, Acquia
Eliot Hastie is a journalist on the wealth titles at Momentum Media.
Eliot joined the team in 2018 having previously written on Real Estate Business with Momentum Media as well.
Eliot graduated from the University of Westminster, UK with a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism).