“SERVICE” – Our Last Name, Our First Priority!
“SERVICE” – Our Last Name, Our First Priority!

Reinventing Relationship Banking

Life has become increasingly hectic and, as a result, consumers have little tolerance for goods and services that are not easy, convenient and fast. The same is true for how customers view their banks and financial institutions.

As we all know, there’s an inverse relationship between technology and authentic touch points. Banks have heavily invested in cutting edge digital technologies – apps, interactive tools, data collection, back office efficiency programs – and while these investments are undoubtedly creating new ways of interacting with the customer, it isn’t sufficient at creating brand loyalty. Interestingly enough, the 2014 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey, a survey of almost 4,000 bank customers in the US and Canada, found that, despite the fact that nearly 40% of customers in the US (64% in Canada) have been with their current bank for 10 or more years, traditional banks have a tenuous relationship with their customers. All this technology doesn’t translate into a personal relationship between the customer and the bank.

The survey also found that:

  • branchless banks are becoming acceptable, which will decrease even more the number of human interactions
  • banking is viewed as a transaction, not a relationship
  • most customers don’t receive actionable advice
  • customers want proactive advice for their overall financial lives

We’ve all heard about “share-of-wallet,” the percentage (share) of a customer’s expenses (wallet) for a product that goes to the firm selling the product. In banking, the more products a consumer buys, the more and more that bank “owns” this consumer. We’re not wallets, and we don’t want to be treated like one!

So here are a few questions. Instead of “share-of-wallet,” is it possible to have “shared relationships?” Is it possible to take advantage of all tools available, especially technology, and still become a trusted partner to the consumer? Can we turn making a trip to the bank from a transaction chore to a more holistic financial experience? Can we build brand loyalty?

Yes, but it means taking on a different mindset. We need to:

  • see the customer in a different light,
  • use technology to understand the customer’s needs, habits and desires,
  • hire and train real people to develop and nurture this relationship,
  • meet the customer where s/he wants to be met,
  • increase the level and quality of touch points with each consumer so that they feel valued. Because, in the end, we all want to feel valued.

Ideas? Consider how Virgin Money in the UK has created a customer experience that is not only creating community around the bank, but also encouraging a loyal following among its customers.

They’re called Virgin Money Lounges, and they’re run like an airport lounge for first class flyers. Reminiscent of Burger King’s jingle “have it your way,” Virgin Money’s is “Your Lounge, your way. Whether you need to brush up on a few points before a meeting, or simply unwind with a newspaper, our Lounges can be used in a whole host of ways.”

The concept is to provide a place for their customers and local community to come together for complimentary refreshments, wifi, and ipad use. Customers can also bring a friend or family member which translates into new customers once they get a taste of what Virgin Money’s service is like. No selling of bank services occur in Virgin’s Lounges – there isn’t even an ATM located at the Lounge — as these are really meant more as “relationship” lounges; however, Virgin Money found that there was a 200% increase in sales at branches located near the Lounges.

Virgin Money may be about money and banking, but their differentiator is service and relationships. One customer summed it all up in his/her comment “I can move my money elsewhere and get better rates but the Lounge has created a personal relationship with the people handling my money. The Lounge is worth more than better rates.” Through their Virgin Lounges, they are creating very personal experiences between customers, their communities, and Virgin Money, all without doing a hard sell of products.

https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/about-lounges/index.jsp

Other ways to create these touch points between a bank and her customer? Absolutely. We just need to think outside the box and meet the customer where they want to be met. As Virgin Money found, putting the customer at the center of their business has tremendous pay-offs.

Life has become increasingly hectic and, as a result, consumers have little tolerance for goods and services that are not easy, convenient and fast. The same is true for how customers view their banks and financial institutions.

As we all know, there’s an inverse relationship between technology and authentic touch points. Banks have heavily invested in cutting edge digital technologies – apps, interactive tools, data collection, back office efficiency programs – and while these investments are undoubtedly creating new ways of interacting with the customer, it isn’t sufficient at creating brand loyalty. Interestingly enough, the 2014 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey, a survey of almost 4,000 bank customers in the US and Canada, found that, despite the fact that nearly 40% of customers in the US (64% in Canada) have been with their current bank for 10 or more years, traditional banks have a tenuous relationship with their customers. All this technology doesn’t translate into a personal relationship between the customer and the bank.

The survey also found that:

  • branchless banks are becoming acceptable, which will decrease even more the number of human interactions
  • banking is viewed as a transaction, not a relationship
  • most customers don’t receive actionable advice
  • customers want proactive advice for their overall financial lives

We’ve all heard about “share-of-wallet,” the percentage (share) of a customer’s expenses (wallet) for a product that goes to the firm selling the product. In banking, the more products a consumer buys, the more and more that bank “owns” this consumer. We’re not wallets, and we don’t want to be treated like one!

So here are a few questions. Instead of “share-of-wallet,” is it possible to have “shared relationships?” Is it possible to take advantage of all tools available, especially technology, and still become a trusted partner to the consumer? Can we turn making a trip to the bank from a transaction chore to a more holistic financial experience? Can we build brand loyalty?

Yes, but it means taking on a different mindset. We need to:

  • see the customer in a different light,
  • use technology to understand the customer’s needs, habits and desires,
  • hire and train real people to develop and nurture this relationship,
  • meet the customer where s/he wants to be met,
  • increase the level and quality of touch points with each consumer so that they feel valued. Because, in the end, we all want to feel valued.

Ideas? Consider how Virgin Money in the UK has created a customer experience that is not only creating community around the bank, but also encouraging a loyal following among its customers.

They’re called Virgin Money Lounges, and they’re run like an airport lounge for first class flyers. Reminiscent of Burger King’s jingle “have it your way,” Virgin Money’s is “Your Lounge, your way. Whether you need to brush up on a few points before a meeting, or simply unwind with a newspaper, our Lounges can be used in a whole host of ways.”

The concept is to provide a place for their customers and local community to come together for complimentary refreshments, wifi, and ipad use. Customers can also bring a friend or family member which translates into new customers once they get a taste of what Virgin Money’s service is like. No selling of bank services occur in Virgin’s Lounges – there isn’t even an ATM located at the Lounge — as these are really meant more as “relationship” lounges; however, Virgin Money found that there was a 200% increase in sales at branches located near the Lounges.

Virgin Money may be about money and banking, but their differentiator is service and relationships. One customer summed it all up in his/her comment “I can move my money elsewhere and get better rates but the Lounge has created a personal relationship with the people handling my money. The Lounge is worth more than better rates.” Through their Virgin Lounges, they are creating very personal experiences between customers, their communities, and Virgin Money, all without doing a hard sell of products.

https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/about-lounges/index.jsp

Other ways to create these touch points between a bank and her customer? Absolutely. We just need to think outside the box and meet the customer where they want to be met. As Virgin Money found, putting the customer at the center of their business has tremendous pay-offs.

Source: Level Brand