As we welcome winter, the industry stands to remember a timeless lesson from nature. A snowflake’s form evolves as it journeys through the air; by molecular composition and physical structure, no two will ever be the same. While our naked eye may see snow as unremarkable white specks, it’s amazing that even two flakes floating side by side will each go through their own experiences to create a shape that is indeed unique.
People are no different. While certain financial or generational patterns certainly emerge, the timing and circumstances create small and vast variations. These can make a difference between a timely, well-received communication from a customer’s bank — or an ill-timed, inappropriate one. Much like snowflakes, which are differentiated based on their evolution through air and time, people’s financial journeys are as unique as each person’s individual’s life — and should be treated as such by their bank.
According to Gallup, 83% of consumers would consider their institution for their next product or service when they are both “satisfied and fully engaged.” That means fully engaging account holders on an individual level is an imperative. Account holder loyalty leads to their retention and fuels revenue growth and profitability.
Current customers make up the most significant foundation for a bank’s profit and growth. Established account holders can appear satisfied, but that does not necessarily mean that their relationship with the bank is robust or growing. In fact, do the banks even know how to assess or measure customer engagement? Meanwhile, customers that have a relationship with a bank that is secondary or worse relative to other institutions also present an excellent opportunity for nurturing and growth.
Seeing and treating either kind of customers as individuals means crafting tailored and personalized communications that pay heed to the timing and moments of customers’ unique financial journeys. Communication like this should translate into tangible relationship growth with existing account holders that is highly impactful and profitable. Happy consumers return to their financial institution for all their banking needs and freely share their experiences with their friends and family.
But not all engagement solutions are created equal, and banks must choose wisely. Consumers are inundated with communication, so engagement is not just about an increased quantity of communication. It’s actually quite the opposite: It’s about constraining communication to what is meaningful. Quality over quantity really matters when it comes to growing engagement. According to a recent survey, 51% of consumers want more help from their financial provider, but 40% of those who have received communication from their provider were unhappy with the generic advice they received.
More than half of financial marketers continue to homogenize their messaging, instead of personalizing the content to match the customer. With a 40% engagement opportunity, figuring out how your bank can engage customers uniquely and meaningfully — at scale — is a huge, wasted opportunity. Banks with a retail focus need to choose technology with platforms that utilize deep data and artificial intelligence-driven insights that help them engage individually and personally to scale. That technology needs to help these institutions uncover customers and invite them to apply or purchase a specific financial service.
Every bank customer is going to be the perfect target for a fee-based service or loan product at some time. When those current account holders are ready, they will either get these loans or services from their existing bank — or they will get them from some other financial institution. What they do depends on how and when they have been communicated with.
Account holders are such valuable assets for banks. Like crystallized snowflakes renowned for their uniqueness, each account holder is also a unique individual who deserves to be recognized and understood as such. When reaching out and communicating with customers, banks that make the effort to use what they know about their customers to ensure that they are genuinely connecting will be rewarded. Determining the right communication, with the right offer at the right time, increases customer engagement, the bank’s value proposition, customer loyalty and a greater wallet share. It provides the best path for them to become their customers’ primary financial institution.