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Your Customers Want You To Think Of Them As More Than A Number

Thanks to the latest digital technology, consumers seeking the right financial institution has become more proactive. Not only do they research their own customer journey to gain more control, they also make their voices heard.

The voices of your customers are a key asset when it comes to their relationship with your organization. After all, if they’re enjoying a fantastic experience, they’re likely to share their views. Unfortunately, though, if they’re unhappy with the service you offer, they’ll communicate their dissatisfaction too.

As the chart above shows, consumers are even more likely to leave reviews after having a negative experience. So, making sure that your institution gives them the best possible experience is key. With this in mind, it’s essential to work out what your customers want and need.

The chart below shows more customers leave organizations because they believe they aren’t cared about than for any other reason.

How can you make sure your customers feel cared about?

Treating Customers As Individuals

The statistic above shows that customers want to be treated as individuals. All-too-often they feel as if they’re just a number, not a person to organizations. When this happens, they start to look elsewhere for service providers.

Personalization of the customer experience is paramount today. Customers don’t just want to be treated as people they want to choose service providers who are people too. Faceless institutions are no longer enough for modern connected consumers. They want to have a relationship with you.

So, how can you establish this sort of familiarity with customers in today’s digital communication age?

There are several answers. One lies in tailoring customer experiences to suit the needs of different consumers. Another lies in adopting the best customer service practices so customers remain in focus.

By listening to customers and rewarding their loyalty, you can remind them that their individuality is important to your brand. You can reassure them that they are far more than simply another statistic.

Adopting Best Customer Service Practices So Customers Stay In Focus

Too many companies treat their customers as if they were just a means to an end. Without customers, they cannot generate profit. Therefore, acquiring more customers is their sole goal. Yet, all-too-often, these same organizations fail to recognize that this approach is their downfall.

Consumers realize when they are just another number. This deters them from using your services. More importantly, they also report on their negative experiences, acting as a deterrent to other potential customers.

66% of consumers say they are happy to change brands if they’re treated as numbers not individuals. Not only that, but 63% expect engagement with the brands they choose to be tailored to previous interactions. Since it is so easy these days to switch brands, your organization must be at the forefront of tailored engagements.

Forging Strong Customer Relationships

Success for any brand comes from its customer relationships. While having a strong customer service department is important, it isn’t enough. Customers today expect consistency in service levels across all departments as the below statistic shows.

That means that customer-centricity must be placed at the heart of your organization.

Customer-centricity means asking some difficult questions. It involves making some changes to the standard operating procedure of your organization. Yet, by putting customer relationships first, your organization can benefit greatly. Not only can it enjoy customer loyalty and an excellent reputation, but it also benefits from customers who are brand ambassadors.

How does customer-centricity work in practice?

Primarily, you must manage your customer’s expectations. While most consumers have extremely high expectations, promising to always meet them could be the wrong approach. When you cannot keep those promises, you lose your customer’s trust. This negatively impacts your relationship.

Instead, make sure your customers are told precisely what they’re able to expect from you. Make sure your brand strives its hardest to exceed the expectations set out to customers.

Personalizing The Customer Experience

It’s easier than ever to collect data about customers. You can leverage this information to your advantage when it comes to personalizing customer experiences.

To provide outstanding customer service, you need information at your fingertips. Whenever there is engagement with a customer, gathering key data is imperative. The correct questions must be asked and information must be correctly entered into a CRM platform. This allows a more productive dialogue to be established between you and your customers.

This receipt and implementation of valuable feedback makes it easier to personalize future customer interactions. Not only that, but the availability of such analytics allows your organization to adapt in order to better serve customers.

CRM tools represent an invaluable way of personalizing customer interactions. By collecting, analyzing and organizing data, a CRM platform allows you to easily track every customer’s history and preferences. This allows every department to access this information and collaborate on it. In turn, this empowers your company to turn its standard customer service experience in a one-to-one customer journey.

With personalized interactions, customers can see that they are important as individuals and aren’t just a number. They have clear evidence that they are respected and appreciated by your organization. They know that their loyalty is rewarded, and that the quality of their customer experience is important to you.

Creating Customer Profiles

The most important element in delivering personalized customer service involves determining who those customers are. Obtaining customer information and demographic data allows you to effectively segment them into groups. This facilitates the personalization process, enabling you to customize experience to the individual desires and needs of each demographic. This is achieved by leveraging the in-depth insights and information that have been obtained.

Customers can be grouped in several categories. From location to income, and from gender to age, knowing how those factors impact on their product choices is imperative. With this data in hand, it’s then possible to tailor marketing and products to suit the needs of each group.

Personalized Marketing

Creating marketing and online content that is highly personalized to customers is a top priority these days. It is by doing this that your organization can prove demonstrably that it doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Through content and marketing materials tailored to meet the customer’s needs and preferences, organizations can show a personal touch.

It stands to reason that a personalized approach to marketing is a good idea for financial institutions. After all, it’s the best way to retain customers and to highlight new products that suit their needs. Yet, it’s also a highly effective way to show that you know about each individual customer as a person.

Rather than sending out blanket marketing emails promoting generic products, tailor each one to the customer’s requirements. Have they recently had a baby? Then emails detailing the best children’s saving accounts are extremely relevant.

Are they ready to head off to college? Information about student financial products would be well-received. Perhaps they’re approaching retirement? Then details about pensions, investments and post-retirement plans would be welcome at this time.

There is little point in sending marketing emails that have no meaning or relevance to the recipient. Telling someone with a poor credit rating about your top-rated credit cards and loans is pointless. Not only does it waste your time and effort, but it can actually alienate the customer.

By sending non-targeted marketing materials, you’re basically telling the customer that your institution knows nothing about them. Worse, it may even be interpreted as you not caring about them.

As the above statistics show, 78% of consumers believe organizations that provide customized content are interested in forging good relationships. When you take this into account, it’s clear that adopting this type of personalized strategy couldn’t be more important.

The strategy also should be executed across multiple channels. Personalized incentives take into account the ways in which customers have responded in the past. This means it’s easier to deliver optimal deals for the greatest return.

Collection and segmentation of data into certain consumer profiles allows your organization to execute this strategy throughout all channels. From social media and email to web content, the personal touch drives up conversions, sales and revenue. It also, most importantly, improves the customer experience for a more positive relationship.

Giving The Customer Choice

The chart below shows the preferred communication methods that customers use to connect with organizations. Clearly, there are plenty of different choices for them to pick from.

It’s vital to give customers access to customer service teams in ways that are convenient for them. While some customers prefer face-to-face contact, others prefer telephone. Email is the most popular choice among consumers these days, but social media and online chat are on the rise. To only offer customers limited choice is tantamount to saying your organization doesn’t care about their preferences.

Self-service experiences are another key factor in proving to customers that they aren’t just a number. Customers today demand convenience and speed in their interactions with organizations. With self-service options, you can demonstrate that your organization has listened and responded appropriately. By addressing this all-too-common pain point, you are showing your customers that you care about their experience. Most importantly, you’re proving that you’re prepared to do whatever you can to improve it.

Customers want and need your organization to be contactable whenever they need you. Fail to provide them with the contact options they prefer, and they will look elsewhere. Again, by taking this simple step, it’s possible to provide a more customer-centric experience that shows customers they’re important.

Listening To The Customer And Rewarding Loyalty

Customers want to be listened to. More importantly, they want what they have to say to be taken seriously. Feedback loops represent an excellent way of listening and learning from customers.

By adopting a systematic way of collecting feedback from customers, you can hear customer’s opinions directly. By then using that information effectively, you can easily optimize your customer service experience.

Customers who are asked for their opinions and feedback after using your services are reassured that they are valued. When they are also rewarded for sharing those opinions, or for remaining loyal to your brand, they’re even more reassured. Incentivizing customer loyalty is an excellent way to prove to customers that they are far more than simply another statistic.

It reveals they are appreciated and valued as individuals with a key role to play in improving your brand. When customers believe their voice matters, they become more loyal and more likely to become positive brand ambassadors.

The Importance Of Staying Up To Date

Although all of the above is important, it’s also vital to stay up-to-date with your customers’ wants, needs and preferences.

Customers are ever-changing and their requirements are always fluctuating too. Just because you have a clear picture of their desires today doesn’t mean those desires will remain the same tomorrow.

Ensuring customer satisfaction and a highly quality customer experience isn’t something that is a one-time thing. It’s a process that is ongoing throughout the customer journey.

Nurturing your customers is the key to ensuring that they never feel as if they’re just a number.. By offering them a personalized experience that is tailored to their needs, you’re showing them that they matter as individuals. By anticipating their problems and addressing those pain points, you’re proving that you know and understand them well.

Yet you must stay abreast of any changes and be ready to adapt to different circumstances in the future. It’s only by maintaining a personalized touch that you can demonstrate how important your customers are to your organization.

About the Author:

Shondell Varcianna is the founder of Varci Media. A content writing
agency for financial institutions. She can be reached at 
shondell@varcimedia.com .

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine + WEB ACESS and THE TEAM BUILDER (GROUP SUBSCRIPTION) members only.
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