Five Ways Financial Institutions Can Start Building Client Relations
Competition is fierce in today’s banking industry, and as many as 55% of customers report seeking services from their primary financial institution’s competition because of influences as simple as direct advertising.
It’s easy to lose casual clients, and nurturing customer propinquity is key to achieving the depth of product engagement that leads to long-term loyalty.
The facts on the ground are in: personal is profitable, and whether it’s a local credit union in Waukegan, IL or a fintech unicorn taking their business global, building client relations should be at the forefront of any solid market strategy.
Making clients feel at home
When a customer walks into their local bank branch today, they can expect a cheerful “welcome” and perhaps even a handshake. Many returning clients will be greeted by name, and it’s very likely if they have a mortgage or a loan they will know their representative’s name too.
It has been known forever that an investment in customized, personal service can pay huge dividends both figuratively and literally in the banking relationship. The ease personal familiarity engenders translates to customer confidence in products and services, and this economic synergy is key to deepening interactions with traditional banking clientele.
Strategies for building client relations
Whether your house is built with bricks or clicks, the right game plan is key to getting client engagement trending in the right direction. Here are a few simple strategies for developing those all-important personal connections that will connect customers with your products and services.
1. Begin the conversation early
Like nearly everything in life, first impressions matter. About 95% of Americans are “banked”, which means almost everyone in this country will create a moment for a financial institution to become their primary financial caretaker.
However, according to a 2021 study by the FDIC, 36.4% of bank customers visit a branch fewer than four times a year. Furthermore, 57% use mobile or online banking as their primary means of account access, and those numbers are only going up. After that initial interaction, opportunities to develop client relationships may be few and far between. Take advantage of the moment!
2. Use your online services to your advantage
Every day, more and more Americans are using online bill paying, direct deposit, and mobile banking services to handle their banking needs. During tax season, customers look to their account provider for document creation and online statements, and rising instances of digital fraud are making banks key resources for defense and support.
Let them know that opening a savings or checking account is a gateway to a portfolio of added-value services that make the grind of daily life maintenance simple and manageable. Moreover, consider offering products that naturally promote more intimate connections such as legacy planning, will management, and heirloom data storage.
Familiarity builds trust, and your institution’s online tools are an opportunity to provide desirable services while developing daily interaction habits with your brand.
3. Friends text friends
The next generation of customers is using their mobile devices as a primary channel to their friends and loved ones, a reminder for important appointments, and—of course—banking. Millennial mobile banking penetration is as high as 97% these days, and that tiny screen is an enormous window of opportunity for building client relations and creating comfort with your architecture.
78% of customers report they will definitely stick with their bank when they are supported during tough times, be it through the waiving of fees or sending alerts and reminders. However, only 44% feel their banks are actually delivering.
Proactive customer support is a must, and a personalized portfolio of confirmations, reminders, and “thank yous” in support of your transactions let your customers know they can count on you through thick and thin.
4. Follow up!
Today’s families are busy, busy, busy! In 2020 nearly 60% of households had two working parents, and that number is only increasing. Add an average of two children into the mix and there is precious little brain space for long-term financial thinking.
A quick phone call from a representative can be the difference between building client relations and a missed opportunity.
5. Customer relations begins with people: your people
Nobody works with a financial advisor on their retirement account; they work with Enrique, or Craig, or Michelle. Financial executives don’t know that a client has been saving for seven years for a down payment on a house with a bedroom for their baby daughter, but Michelle does, and her people skills are the magic bringing clients and services together.
However, when measuring employee performance, the banking industry uses terms like customer “attrition”, “defection” and “churning” that aggressively dehumanize the personal relationships we encourage associates to foster.
Of course, these concepts are critical to an understanding of the modern financial landscape, but terminology is flexible. Culture is everything in a business, and language is a free and ever-present opportunity to remind the point people who create those important interactions with clients that all levels of management support their efforts and share their values.
Embrace your clients, embrace the future
The world of finance has changed dramatically, and yet the principles that shape it are as old as Adam Smith. The invisible hand is always guiding banks and customers to a better outcome, but the hard work of building client relations requires thousands of real and virtual handshakes and affirmations to keep your customers coming back.
Client relations are, in short, the past, present, and future of the banking industry, and if you’re not developing better strategies for customer engagement you’re going to get left in the dust. That’s where The Postage comes in.
The Postage offers a broad range of online estate planning and information storage products that provide your customers confidence and peace of mind. Whether it’s online will generation or secure preservation of important family photographs and memories, The Postage is helping bring financial institutions and their clients together with the trust and security that creates meaningful and life-long banking relationships.