Building generational brand loyalty in the digital age with omnichannel banking
This week, I watched our family bank lose a customer of over 40 years in 1 phone call. The breakup started several years ago, when this traditional bank moved it’s branch out of my grandmother’s closest town centre, and told her it’s time to set up her banking app.
As a long-time customer, she stayed loyal and has spent several years calling up and trying to manage her banking over the phone and asking friends for lifts to get to the closest branch an hour drive away.
This time, she needed to make a transfer, the communication went wrong, and she was told she’d have to hang up and call back again for data privacy reasons. That was the end. She switched banks and is very happy with her new provider.
At the same time, I grew up as a loyal brand advocate. When I got my first bank card, it made me feel like a grown up. When young digital banks started to come into full force, I pushed hard against the tide staying true to our family bank.
However, it’s hard to stay loyal to a business that doesn’t make you feel like it cares back. As the features of digital banks became more and more appealing, and my friends explained how those banks understood what we needed and gave it to us, I took the jump and have not been able to return to my traditional bank.
Despite their obvious attempts to copy the features I love, there’s something lacking. It just feels wrong.
In the space of a few years, a bank that had the loyalty of an entire family, lost it’s 2 most loyal members. This isn’t a unique story, and it isn’t just about the struggle businesses are facing.
Real people look to banks for guidance and protection, banks are built on trust and for our world to function at its greatest potential, people must feel connected to the banks they use .
The problem is, while everyone focuses on cost-cutting digitization improvements, traditional banks aren’t just losing their spaces to young FinTechs, they’re also losing their loyal generational customer base as they lose touch with the older generations.
The issue here wasn’t the customer service representative on the phone answering her call and following protocol, nor was it the decision to remove the branch in my grandmother’s local town.
The problem was an unclear channels strategy that doesn’t address today’s issues or manage change successfully. It makes sense to close branches in today’s climate, but the right omnichannel strategy would have picked up her service and addressed it appropriately.
For example, if when she called, there was an understanding of her age, and an intelligent automated AI powered service was able to lead her through her customer journey with compassion, ease and clarity, she would have remained loyal.
Or if when her bank branch closed down, there was a clear change management process that included physical mail and a guide on how to manage her banking over the phone, she would have understood the new way of doing things and not been left in the dark looking to move her money somewhere else.
Similarly, if my traditional bank had spoken to people my age about what we wanted, and had cloud and DevOps architecture already in place to be able to build and release the technology we needed when we needed it, rather than 3 years later, I would never have left. My brand loyalty would have multiplied as I saw that the business my parents loved cared about what I needed, that I was an adult and my money mattered now too.
People WANT to be loyal to brands. Other than a few fastidious savers always looking for the next bargain, most people want to love the brands they’re with, they want to tell their friends how great the service is and that they’ve found the right company for everyone to use. By leveraging clear channels strategies built for real people, the right managed services provider can bring you closer to clients, today. Here are the first steps to building generational brand loyalty with omnichannel banking.
Define what omnichannel really means for you
If your target customers are only Gen Z, then omnichannel banking can mean a digital app, a website and your social media channels. However, for traditional banks, your omnichannel strategy should consider your customer base and include channels such as your phone lines, the post and physical shops. Defining your channels and why you’re using them will help ensure you create a strategy that enhances loyalty rather than alienating your base.
Build your brand across every channel
Ease of use, great customer service and compassion should be visible across each channel. That includes phone, digital and branch.
In the same way you wouldn’t have one logo for your app and another logo for your TV adverts, branding shouldn’t be forgotten when ensuring your users and clients face the same high level of service whenever they communicate with you.
Understanding which channels may be lacking could be a good starting place. For example, how long does it take to get the answers to common questions in a chat feature, and when on the phone, how difficult is it to get put through to the right department? Are your customers able to get the information and services they need in a way that aligns with your branding through every channel?
Address the real-life issues people face
One thing young FinTech’s do right is talk in the right language, including providing genuinely educational and valuable insights at the right time to the right people.
This requires an understanding of the concerns their customers face and being able to address those concerns with features that update and improve regularly, and conversations that provide more than a traditional bank.
Once upon a time, if you were considering saving for a mortgage, you walked into your bank and you had a chat with them about your options.
With digitization and a move away from the physical, it’s not efficient for financial institutions to communicate in that way and physically be where their customers are, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Particularly, with today’s concerns, basing your channel strategy on being able to talk to people in person is often unrealistic.
Young FinTech’s understand this, and effectively use their channels to be the knowledge base when their customers need it. This might include, for example, short messages within an app offering some pre-written guidance on a topic.
Similarly, people face genuine tragedy in their lives. Sometimes partners die, sometimes people are fired, houses can burn down and robberies can occur.
Omnichannel banking needs appropriate systems in place to deal with these real-life issues with compassion and empathy. Often, that just involves being able to direct people in the right way without taking up too much of their time.
At times of stress, efficient processes can help people feel just a little bit more secure and save those same people the hours of additional stress trying to find the right resources or complete the right task. Having efficient compassionate processes in place within your channels at the worst moments for people can make a difference they will never forget.
Build channels for revenue, not just cost efficiency
Channel strategies should enhance your customer base and bring you more revenue, not just decrease your running costs. Including personal touches, a compassionate voice, and an insightful and genuinely valuable service will bring you loyalty and a strong customer base.
Features that build loyalty are founded in a deep understanding of your customers, that’s why we help businesses implement user stories into their development lifecycles.
User stories tell your team what real people are doing and which features will add value to their lives, giving you a unique insight into your client base and helping you develop features they will genuinely love.
When expanding and building your omnichannel strategy, ask your channels developer or partner how their strategies are going to bring you new revenue streams.
Giving your clients what they really need requires more than omnichannel tools and strategies. By leveraging cloud technology, DevOps and AI, our clients are able to innovate at an unprecedented speed, release their features with ease, and understand future trends today, bringing them and their users closer and building that connection.
As the leading digital transformation partner to financial markets in the Americas, we’re here to help financial institutions get the most out of digital transformation.
Why should you trust CPQi with your channel’s strategy?
Every single person at CPQi is trained in both banking and technology. We heavily invest in the education of our team, including having our own courses and our own “CPQi University”.
From the person you book that first call with, to the developer building or customising your platforms, we understand our industry and we see the human value in what we create. With data analysis and customer profiling, we leverage channels to enhance your user’s experience, without wasting valuable resources.
We integrate your multi-channel communications for a sustainable, evolved brand image that will keep you competitive in the digital age without alienating your current fan base.
The right managed services provider can build omnichannel systems for you. Having supported the world’s largest financial institutions for 14 years, we understand how to leverage omnichannel strategies to help you become the leader of your community. Book a channels consultation with someone in our team today.