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Macro Trends in Financial Services: Deepening Customer Relationships and Fostering Loyalty

Debora Evanovich headshot

by Debora Evanovich

Vice President

Strong relationships, whether personal or business, are built over time on a foundation of trust. In today’s highly competitive and challenging financial landscape, loyalty must be earned, so it is increasingly imperative that financial institutions work to establish trust with customers early on. Mutual trust provides the basis for meaningful partnerships that, with exceptional service and personalization, can evolve over time to foster greater customer loyalty.

Radius recently performed a Macro Trends Analysis across a wide range of research initiatives from the past 18 months within the financial services space, including retail banking, business banking, insurance, fintech, investment banking, and financial advisory services. From that analysis, the idea of deepening relationships rose to the top as a consistent and important theme across both B2C and B2B audiences.

Below, we dive deeper into what deepening relationships and fostering loyalty means for the financial services sector, why it matters, and what your brand should do about it moving forward.


How do customers define deepening brand relationships?

Customers’ nuanced perspectives on deepening brand relationships and loyalty are shaped by who they are and what they need. For consumers, it involves more personalized interactions, consistent service and feeling understood and appreciated. Professionals, however, often view deepening relationships through the lens of revenue growth, repeat business and long-term partnerships. Ultimately, though, both audiences want relationships grounded in trust and satisfaction that are mutually sustainable and beneficial over time.


People in line to see a bank teller

Customers’ nuanced perspectives on deepening brand relationships and loyalty are shaped by who they are and what they need. For consumers, it involves more personalized interactions, consistent service and feeling understood and appreciated.”


Why is deepening customer relationships important?

Our research uncovered a wide range of benefits that come from deepening relationships with customers:

Strong relationships increase customer lifetime value.

Both consumers and business professionals are looking for financial providers they can trust and stay with for the long haul. Switching providers is not ideal as it takes time and effort to onboard and build trust with a new provider. Building stronger relationships leads to higher customer retention and greater opportunity for growth among customers who value partnership.

Customer loyalty enhances cross selling opportunities.

Having a greater connection with customers and understanding their financial needs allows financial services companies to identify ripe cross-sell opportunities. Proactive recommendations of other relevant products and services will be received with less skepticism as a ‘sales pitch’ but rather seen as genuine advice from a partner with their best interests in mind.

Knowing your customer allows for better management of customer risk.

Strong customer relationships facilitate better risk management. A deep relationship means financial institutions know the ‘whole’ customer, including their needs, goals, personal circumstances, and risk tolerance. Financial institutions can tailor solutions that mitigate risk and align to customer needs.

Satisfied customers make recommendations and referrals.

Happy customers are the best source of advertising. Deeper relationships mean customers are more likely to refer family and friends to their financial provider because of their relationship and experiences, which can enhance acquisition opportunities and boost customer base.

Focusing on customers provides differentiation and competitive advantage.

In a crowded market, prioritizing relationship building can help financial services providers ‘stand out’ among competitors. This competitive advantage aligns heavily with personalized customer service and high customer satisfaction.


What steps can brands take to deepen customer loyalty?

Provide personalized service to strengthen relationships.

Take actions to demonstrate your brand is cognizant of the unique needs, goals, and circumstances of your customers, and focus on demonstrating your trustworthiness and deepening customer loyalty. Conduct research to segment your customer base into subsets with common needs, attitudes, behaviors, and/or priorities, allowing for prioritization and customization of interaction, content, products, and services to the unique wants and needs of each target.

Maintain consistent communication.

Institute exceptional customer service on a regular cadence through multiple channels, including emails, phone calls, and in-person outreach. Institute a Customer Experience research program to monitor customer touchpoints and align touchpoints with key measures of brand health, to identify pain-points and opportunities to optimize support services.

Offer value-added services to deepen customer knowledge.

Offer services that add value for customers such as financial education resources, workshops, webinars, and events that help clients improve their financial literacy and education. Research can help brands understand which value addshave stronger demand so brands can focus on those with the greatest impact on retention and recommendations.

Expand digital innovations to make it easy for customers to interact with your services.

Invest in upgrades to digital platforms and tools that enhance the customer experience with mobile apps, online account management, and financial planning tools. Innovation discovery research can help identify potential digital enhancements and new online tools but gauge customer interest and viability on a smaller scale before full implementation.

Asking customers for their feedback enriches the relationship.

Open the door to listening to what customers want from a financial service provider, building greater trust by demonstrating you value them and your partnership. Along with a Customer Experience program, in-depth qualitative research via focus groups and one on one conversations can provide deeper understanding of your customers needs, motivations, concerns, and opportunity areas for your brand to make improvements.


Deepening relationships with customers is paramount for sustaining brand growth in today’s highly competitive financial landscape. With trust at the core, there are opportunities for brands to drive greater loyalty and differentiation through personalized customer service. By using insight-driven approaches, brands can prioritize key areas of service, communication, and innovation which ultimately add value to their customer partnerships. This will help financial brands garner the strongest return on investment when it comes to deepening relationships.


Uncover new opportunities for building strong customer relationships.

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