Making it easier for financial institutions to engage and connect with their customers

Making it easier for financial institutions to engage and connect with their customers

When the Coconut Customer Experience Team first works with a new financial institution, we often get asked how to make it easier for their customers to engage and connect with them. The philosophy of easier engagement and connections between financial institutions, their staff, customers, and prospects is music to our ears. It aligns with Coconut’s philosophy and mission of building a world class customer engagement platform that schedules, measures, and manages customer and staff engagement. 

The question that follows after these financial institutions share their engagement goals is usually “How do I do this? How do I know it’s working and there is a deeper connection to us?”

Todays’ customers are a savvy bunch. They have unlimited resources on hand to research the companies they want to interact with. 

When it comes to where they are going to put their money, your customers have a massive number of advisors and experts to choose from, right at the tip of their fingers.  81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store. They can read reviews on Google, check out Glassdoor, scroll through LinkedIn profiles not to mention talk with friends, colleagues and neighbours for their recommendations. By the time your customers book an appointment, they already have done extensive research on you. And more importantly, most financial institutions don’t even know the numbers of prospects who don’t even make it to the “book an appointment” phase of the engagement journey. 

Given the immediate access to knowledge, it has become tablestakes for customers and prospects to engage with your advisors and staff where and when they want to. Everything else becomes a competitive advantage. 

Based on our years of working with, and focusing on, financial institutions to help them become best in class, we share three key learnings: 

  1. Go where your customers go
  2. Measure, review, iterate 
  3. Ask for feedback

1. Go where your customers go

To elevate the customer experience and deepen the connection, you first must be where your customers are. Understand how they found you in the first place and then reduce the barriers for them to connect. Leverage marketing systems to identify how your customers found you and make it easy for them to book an appointment, call or email you. No one likes the company that hides how to refund their plane tickets and no one likes the Financial Institution that makes it hard to book a meeting with.

A few tips we’ve collected over the years:

  1. Review your customer connection points: Everything from the signage on your branch doors, the emails they receive, and the links on your website. 
  2. Leverage marketing analytics to identify your customers’ digital journey: Where are they coming from, how did they first hear of you, how many times did they have to hear of you before the call to action worked. 
  3. Add in UTM codes: Track performance and understand which visits and leads end up converting to actual revenue generating customers 
  4. Just ask: “How did you hear about us?”

2. Measure, review, iterate

When a customer engages with your financial institution, it’s rarely a one time event. 

The rule of 7 is a generally accepted idea:  a human needs to hear the same message seven times before they truly remember it. So consider – are your customers and prospects hearing the same message (bank with us!) seven times? Or are you saying it once or twice and hoping it’ll stick? 

This leads to why tracking and analyzing the average number of engagements a typical customer has with your organization. Then understanding how the engagements are conducted, and the outcomes, are the next important step.

Tracking engagements, whether its website clicks, email opens, white paper downloads, app engagements, location visits or booked appointments will give you much better understanding into what are the key triggers to get a customer engaged, and ideally meeting with an expert for a high value service. 

At Coconut, these data points are all captured in our Insights and Reporting module. The financial institutions we work with use these data points to uncover and optimize their customer journey.

One savvy company that we worked with noticed that a generic “book an appointment with us” call to action button on their website’s homepage had a lower conversion rate of customers compared to the appointment booking link on a specific product or advisor page. The data indicates to us that a customer that has gone through the steps of awareness and research and are closer to the bottom of the funnel where they are ready to select a financial institution or advisor to go with. 

Data points within the customer journey can also help pinpoint areas for development for branches and teams.

Interior Savings, a Coconut client and credit union based in British Columbia, leveraged real time data on the customer journey to understand where their team is succeeding and where there may be an opportunity for a coaching with staff.

“I love to look at the insights. I love to see performance and match it branch by branch, location by location, individual by individual. When I’m sitting with my contact center manager it’s great for me to be able to pull the information up and for us to take a look at the agents and see how they’re booking to get insights into coaching opportunities and drive further results… We never really had that data before, so that’s probably the most exciting feature from a member perspective.”

3. Ask for feedback 

Quantitative measurements are important but it only paints one side of the picture. In addition to measuring and leveraging data points, our best in class financial institutions look deeply into feedback of their customers after each appointment. 

After an appointment, Coconut Software sends out a feedback survey with a rating request and an opportunity to provide open ended feedback.  This is then tied back directly to the appointment and to the staff that supported the customer. 

This feedback loop helps identify areas to improve in the customer experience as well as motivates and encourages staff on how they are doing. 65% of employees want more feedback and customer surveys equip managers with the material and insights to provide feedback and coaching. 

And finally 

Map out your buyer journey from end to end (we wrote a blog post that will help you here.). Leveraging the data from how your customers found you all the way to the number of engagements, who they engaged with and the feedback of the whole experience, helps to drive understanding of and empathy for your customer. This understanding will help your financial institution find the right ways to engage with your existing customers, and win new customers to your base. 

Data points can help you understand the commonalities of your customers to elevate their experience, sprinkle in some surprising and delightful moments to truly make an unforgettable impact. 

The easier and more convenient you make it for your customers and prospects to bank with you, the better the customer experience, the deeper the connections, and the higher the loyalty.