Is loyalty dead? How banks can regain their customers’ faith



I’ve heard it said a lot recently that the era of loyalty in the financial services industry is dead and buried. Gone are the days when young people would walk into their local high street bank and embark on a relationship that lasts for decades.

Part of this is an overall lack of trust in the sector, something not helped by the negative headlines of recent years. But at the same time, it’s easier than ever for people to vote with their feet if they don’t like the service they receive. With the constant TV bombardment of (mainly irritating) price comparison ads and initiatives such as the seven-day switching service, whether it’s banking services or insurance, there’s always someone out there claiming to offer a better deal.

Indeed, today’s switching culture is all about finding the best deal, at the best price. This can be tough for the banking sector, but there are still steps they can take to help engender loyalty and prevent people from getting itchy feet – and customer service in the contact centre has a key role to play on this.

  1. Value doesn’t always mean price

In the age of switching, it might be a low price or a great introductory offer that gets customers through the door, but how do you stop them wandering away again at the end of this? The key to this is by emphasising the high level of service and experience on offer.

For example, businesses such as insurers that shun price comparison sites have to find a new differentiator, and this often includes customer service. Companies that take the time to get to know their customers and show they’re listening stand to gain huge value. In today’s digitally-focused, social media environment, the whole world can see your interactions with customers – so make sure they’re as good as they can be.

  1. The personal touch

For me, it’s often the little things that matter, such as a contact agent being able to respond directly to my query or complaint on social media without being prompted. And form a bank’s point of view, if a customer is venting on Twitter but not talking to them directly, it’s great to be able to step in and get things sorted before they get out of hand.

Similarly, the ability to look at a customer’s history and offer them personalised offers and opportunities that are relevant to them also helps make people feel valued and that the company understands their unique situation. However, this will only be possible if agents have access to tools that give them a complete, single view of their customers.

  1. What consumers want, when they want it

Today’s consumers have diverse needs when it comes to how they expect to interact with businesses, and financial services firms must work to reflect this. For example, a 2015 survey by Microsoft revealed that while the phone remains the most popular customer service channel, (just) with 81 per cent of respondents saying they use this on a regular basis, email (78 per cent), live chat (64 per cent), online support portals (62 per cent) and social media (18 per cent) were also named.

With so many channels being used, it’s vital contact centres support any method a customer wants – and more crucially that consumers are able to seamlessly move between these channels without having to repeat themselves – as we all know how frustrating this is!

  1. Giving the swiftest response

We all think our time is valuable, so if we’re kept on hold because there are no agents available, or if an employee has to ask for information repeatedly, it’s frustrating and will leave a lasting impression when we’re considering whether to switch to a new provider.

With the right contact centre management tools, these problems can be avoided. Implement these correctly and consumers probably won’t even notice – but they will remember the smooth, speedy and helpful nature of their interaction, which will be hugely useful in building loyalty in a difficult market.

Find out more about how the right contact centre solutions can help the financial services sector build great customer relationships.