In the ever-evolving financial service category, customer service stands out as a linchpin that can either elevate an institution to new heights or leave it struggling to play catch up. Technology has reshaped the landscape, and with customer expectations soaring, financial institutions now find themselves at a pivotal juncture where service can make or break customer loyalty.
Over the past year and a half, Radius Financial has seen customer service surface as a key consideration for top financial brands time and again. This trend suggests gaining profound insights into customer service is not a “nice to have” for financial institutions — it’s a strategic imperative.
Radius recently performed a Macro Trends Analysis that looked across a wide range of research initiatives conducted during 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 customer service rose to the top as a consistent and important theme across both B2C and B2B audiences.
Technology has reshaped the landscape, and with customer expectations soaring, financial institutions now find themselves at a pivotal juncture where service can make or break customer loyalty.”
Below are some questions that dive a little deeper into what customer service means within the financial services sector, why it matters, and what your brand should do about it moving forward.
How do your customers define customer service?
Consumers and business professionals alike define customer service as easy access to omni-channel support when needed, proactive outreach and information, and expertise they can trust. In this day and age, consumers want both the convenience of digital support and quick access to a real human who can solve complex problems quickly, so they can choose the level of service best fitting their needs. And service must go beyond just reactive troubleshooting; it should include proactive elements that address new-account onboarding, a level of personalization in communications to foster relationship building, regular sharing of thought leadership, and a deep bench of experts that customers can tap into.
Why is Customer Service important?
Within financial services, our macro analysis indicates that customer service is an important trend for several reasons:
Customers want to run a tight ship, financially.
Both consumers and business professionals expect financial service providers to keep their money safe, secure, and easy to access. That means that when any problem arises, the ability to solve it quickly, easily, and completely is required to maintain confidence in a provider. Whether a customer needs to report a fraudulent transaction, or a financial advisor is having an issue with a client’s portfolio, instant access to service that can solve the problem is critical.
Customers need help navigating a myriad financial options.
Whether your target customer is a retail consumer or a business professional, no customer is going to be an expert on the ins and outs of every financial offering. This is where being both proactive and reactive with support is paramount. Offering seamless, straightforward on-boarding for all new products and services can help set customers up for success, while continuing to share relevant information so they can stay educated helps it feel like your brand has their back.
Service expectations are higher than ever.
Customers now live in an omni-channel, app-based world, where their needs are well met by many brands across the categories they interact with on a daily basis. Whether it’s technology, entertainment, or durables, customers are used to brands anticipating their needs and rectifying issues quickly, and they hold financial institutions to these same standards. A best-in-class omni-channel customer service offer is quickly becoming table-stakes, allowing customers to pick the channel that best meets their needs for the solutions and information they require.
Yet, not all brands are successful at service.
While expectations for strong omni-channel service are sky-high, not all financial brands are delivering. This means creating a strong, personalized service experience can actually help differentiate and set apart a financial brand, adding value and building brand equity.
All customers want an edge when it comes to finances.
When it comes to selecting a financial provider, most customers want not only stability, but growth. They want to feel that they’ve made the best choice possible with where to save and invest their hard-earned dollars or where to leverage loans and debt support. Customer service is more than just problem solving — it’s showcasing your brand’s expertise through subject matter experts and specialists that can give both retail and business customers the confidence they need to reach their goals.
The increased importance of customer service in the financial landscape offers massive opportunities for brands to drive more loyalty, differentiation, and even delight their customers.”
What should brands do based on this information?
Stay competitive by understanding how well your brand delivers on ‘service.’
Incorporate a range of service-related attributes, including the components of your omni-channel experience and an overall service benefit, in your brand research (tracking or other landscape assessments). This will allow your brand to keep a pulse on competitive performance and measure the pay-off of investments in customer service.
Keep service sharp with a strong CX feedback loop.
Implement a cutting-edge Customer Experience research program to monitor every single brand touchpoint with customers AND connect the dots between these touchpoints and brand equity/health. This includes monitoring digital, phone, and in-person service experiences to identify pain-points and opportunities for improvement across the omni-channel service loop. It is critical for CX programs to be embedded with business stakeholders, so brands aren’t just monitoring touchpoints, but using information to drive strategic improvements to service offerings.
Tailor your service model by business line or product offering.
While chances are high that your brand will need an omni-channel approach to service in some areas of the business, it may not be critical everywhere. Offering full omni-channel customer service for every business line can be costly, and optimization research can help identify areas where your brand can benefit from scaling up, or scaling down, service.
Understand where to invest in a proactive service strategy.
Similar to full omni-channel services, strong expertise and thought leadership will have a stronger payoff in some areas more than others. Research can help brands understand which topics, services or offerings have stronger customer demand for proactive information and specialists, so brands can streamline their strategy and focus expenditures on areas with the highest ROI.
The increased importance of customer service in the financial landscape offers massive opportunities for brands to drive more loyalty, differentiation, and even delight their customers. By using insight-driven approaches, brands can home in on key areas of service and optimize their strategy to get the strongest return on investment when it comes to customer service.
Want to leverage insights to drive positive customer experience?