In the financial sector, the only constant is change. Well, perhaps not the only constant. Yet it is virtually impossible to speak to anyone in the financial sector without mentioning change or uncertainty as a driving topic of conversation.
With that in mind, most financial professionals are all but too aware of the fickle nature in today’s retail banking customer. Numerous surveys have resoundingly concluded that more than 50% of retail banking customers today would consider changing banks within the next six months. Furthermore, Gallup has concluded that of all the factors affecting a customer’s loyalty, positive experiences resonated most as driving factors for customers staying where they are.
This insight begs the million (or perhaps billion) dollar question: how do banks transform a positive customer experience into long-term loyalty?
Deliver Service Experience
The first step involved in delivering a differentiated customer experience relates to the execution of such, as this is the first impression that will be made on any customer.
So how do you transform a customer experience into something that is truly unique and differentiated from the competition? At Forum, we have found that thinking backwards, or, having the end goal in mind before you even think to design the solution, is best.
To think backwards and truly transform your service model, you have to start with
- A comprehensive profile of each client type that is served by the financial firm
- The driving principles of client service and factors of service quality that resonate most with your prospective customer base
Once the above have been identified, you are ready to begin considering what the ideal client-interaction model might be. It is important to keep in mind that a positive customer experience is not necessarily differentiated from your competition. Think of customer experience/service as if it were akin to writing a 3 minute speech – value must be provided with every interaction, along every turn of the way (or in every line, as is the case with a compelling speech).
Linking Sales Skills to Customer Experience & Transforming Engagement
In our experience delivering results in sales transformation and customer engagement, there seem to be a few common denominators that unite these two areas of focus. The following skill-sets transcend both sales and customer experience:
- Connecting – Establishing a personal bond with the customer.
- Encouraging – Keeping the customer participating in the interaction.
- Questioning – Gaining in-depth information about the customer’s situation, needs, and problems.
- Confirming – Ensuring that the interaction is explicit and specific to the needs of the customer.
- Providing – Share information and insight that creates a clear, positive image of you, and bonds the customer and employee together in a mutually trusting relationship.
Whilst instilling the above drivers will assuredly create a positive experience, which will serve to stabilize your existing customer base, the smooth execution will lead to a differentiated experience that empowers customer advocates with compelling stories and a will to share them.
A large part of how leaders channel the power of employees lies in creating the leadership climate that enables employees to deliver the experience that ‘sticks’. In our experience, connecting, encouraging, questioning, confirming and providing do just that.
So I’d like to end this story with two questions: What value have you placed on sales through service in your organization? and, Where are you in the process of defining your own differentiated experience?