This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
Financial institutions, especially banks and insurers spend millions to create and enhance their brands. A strong brand evokes strong emotions. A brand promise is much more than a marketing slogan or advertising strapline. Organisations will put customer loyalty at risk, if the brand promise fails to reach the front-line and deliver a consistent, integrated customer experience. Despite this known fact, most of the time the brand promise is not perfectly aligned with contact management strategy, which results in customer dissatisfaction. This in turn escalates customer retention costs, pressure to acquire new customers faster than they are being lost, and shrinking bottom lines.
Empowered customers are disrupting every industry and banks are no exception. The new age customer will place harsh and unfamiliar demands on institutions, necessitating changes in how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services. A common strategy to attract customers and to stay ahead of competition that is adapted by financial institutions is to introduce new innovative offerings in the market. Products and services, introduced with alarming frequency these days by these institutions increasingly "look like each other" and cannot be the leading differentiators. These institutions, therefore must invest to provide superior, effortless and most importantly, consistent customer experience in order to acquire new customers, retain existing customers or to win back lost customers.
Most customers nowadays exercise choice, using multiple financial institutions to meet their banking needs, diminishing the role for the main bank. In order to optimise its customer experience, banks and similar financial institutions must understand the needs and behaviors of its customers and hence optimise the ways it interacts with the empowered customer to live up to their expectation. It is important to note here that whatever the profile of the customer may be -- whether segmented by age group, net worth, social status etc -- the customer always seeks ease, convenience, choice, familiarity and consistency in service delivery levels to match their expectation from the brand they are associating with. Failure in any of these parameters may lead to a break in the relationship.
In the past, customer interaction happened in siloed, closed-off settings, either via a walk in to a branch, a phone call or email. However, in the era of the "always-on" world ruled by mobile experience, customers are now able to interact with their favorite brands and vendors, anytime and at any place at their own convenience.
Customers also want familiarity with more personalised interactions with their banks. However a plethora of interaction channels available today has led to a big gap in the familiarity the customers are expecting and what these institutions are delivering. A study conducted by Ernst & Young on "Retail banking in Asia Pacific - Pursuing customer loyalty" (2011) showed that 75 percent of customers believe personalised attention is highly important, but only 52 percent believe they are receiving it.
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