Is the world more connected today than it was 12 months ago? We’ve adopted Zoom calls and digital services at a rate many times faster than any previous year. Yet, most of us haven’t seen our extended family in months, much less the friendly people who staff our financial institution.
Consumers remain connected to their institution through technology. Personal connection — the kind created by face-to-face service — might seem unobtainable. Financial institutions, though, are finding just the opposite. Personalization can enrich the digital experience, both preserving and deepening the financial relationship.
Creating connection in the digital experience also uncovers challenges and opportunities facing the financial industry. Black swan events, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the onset of social distancing, stirred the pot for commercial and consumer relationships with financial institutions. Commercial borrowers were moving their entire relationships to the financial institution that gave them the most help securing PPP funding.
Many depositors looked for platforms with the most efficient remote banking tools. And the mortgage business — fueled by low-rates, low-inventory, and high-demand — has been in overdrive as borrowers seek lenders to help them refinance or purchase a home.
As the dust settles from Covid-19, financial institutions should have one goal in mind for 2021: Play for keeps.
The Goal: Win and Retain
When it comes to winning new business, playing for keeps means ensuring new consumers receive a personalized experience from the beginning.
Personalization used to mean providing a first name in emails automated from a banking platform. Today, it means anticipating consumer needs to help them quickly solve for that need, even when they search online. Target audiences should find you, see a result crafted for someone like them, and then land on a page with information on the product they were interested in.
When an institution doesn’t have this type of path in place, experts have called it “the single biggest mistake” a financial marketer can make. Total Expert survey results suggest that about 93% of financial institutions have more success converting new and cross-sell prospects when they personalize marketing.
Another element of personalization is providing current consumers with a unique experience. Can borrowers – either those in mortgage servicing or those who’ve financed with you before — easily shop your lending rates? Or do you make them go through the same process as those who have never worked with you before? Half of consumers — about 48% — expect customized treatment for being a great consumer, according to a panel discussion at Total Expert’s Innovation Leadership Council.
Case 1: Building a Deeper Relationship
Many community financial institutions have strategic advantages over competitors because of their investment in branches and the quality of service.
An effective combination of digital and legacy banking can often bring early, easy wins that provide a great experience and solidify a long-term relationship. But the handoff between staff and systems also is the most common breaking point for engagement.
A financial institution in California with more than 75,000 account holders for example worked with Total Expert on its depositor experience. The institution reported stellar service results from the branch team tasked with opening new accounts. When audited for the experience provided, the staff consistently went above and beyond at the time of account opening.
The bad news was that new depositors didn’t receive any communication for two weeks after opening the new account. They received no follow-up by email or phone to further engage them after such a personalized, one-on-one introduction to the brand. Long-standing account holders also saw no automated, segmented messages that would help uncover additional needs.
It’s important for new depositors to receive 5 to 7 communications from their financial institution in the first 90 days of opening an account.
For those successfully onboarded, the institution also needed to identify additional needs of the depositors so they could put them on journeys that could deepen those relationships further.
With the right partner, these communications can be automated, triggered, relevant, and personalized with modern technology. Using characteristics identified through analysis with data from its core, the institution created marketing segments to target depositors most likely to benefit from the organization’s wider menu of products and services.
Total Expert projected a 5% to 10% increase in revenue from smarter engagement during the onboarding process and more personalized, multi-channel journeys to cross-sell account holders.
Case 2: Accessing New Segments
When it comes to growing deposits, evaluating existing peoples’ needs can be cost effective and increase consumer loyalty.
A Midwest financial institution worked with Total Expert to increase its open rate on deposit accounts and lower its average depositor age. This institution wanted to increase their growth rate by 10% to put it more in line with national averages. Additionally, the household segmentation leaned toward a more mature consumer base and the institution wanted to expand more into the Millennial market.
An audit found that the institution was utilizing the same content to drive online account opening, regardless of who they were targeting. The brand’s social media also leaned toward their commercial banking services, even though strategic goals called for retail growth and demographic diversification.
Choose two targeted segments per quarter and provide them content directed at their life stage. Targeted segments included people with college-age teens in the household, loan-only consumers in their early 20s to late 30s, and those with new mortgages.
Total Expert also recommended the institution identify current consumers without checking accounts and define specific segments to build offers and encourage opening an account online.
Since the average cost of acquiring a new depositor is somewhere between $400 and $700, utilizing data from an institution’s technology is low hanging fruit that grows accounts while keeping acquisition costs down.
CX: A Road to Advocacy
Customer experience optimization is a key step on a financial institution’s digital journey. The goal, however, should not be to use data solely to float products and services to consumers.
The real vision is to serve borrowers and depositors so well that they have the confidence that their financial service provider has their best interest in mind — known as customer advocacy.
To become that advocate, institutions need technology ready-made for financial institutions to grab easy, early wins like segmentation and marketing journeys. Then, with staff freed from manual processes and custom messages, financial institutions truly can drill down on the interactions that delight prospects, depositors, and borrowers. The resulting experience will create real, personal, lifelong connection with a brand.
About Total Expert
Total Expert is a fintech software company that built the first Experience Platform purpose-built for modern banks and lenders. The platform enables sales and marketing teams to leverage consumer insights to seamlessly deliver products and services relevant to each person based on their financial goals.
Total Expert focuses on the unique compliance needs of financial services organizations that must integrate industry-specific data and applications to deliver a cohesive experience across the consumer lifecycle. For more information, visit totalexpert.com.