Banking Customer ExperienceThis week Vicki Loucks, our Manager of Client Experience and Bank Customer Service Aficionado, shares her thoughts on banking industry trends and how customer experience should be the next industry trend!

Having spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-years working in and with the banking industry, I have seen a number of trends come and go: 

  • When I first entered the space, expensive “brick and mortar” branches were being eliminated in anticipation of alternative banking delivery channels. 

  • The “supermarket” bank was the wave of the future. After all, if we could connect with our customer where they were, we were bound to increase sales.  Unfortunately, traditional bank staffing and sales models didn’t translate to as well in the transaction-focused supermarket environment.

  • Next up was electronic bankingand the expectations that banks would increase their bottom line through an aggressive fee structure tied to the growing demand for immediate access to information and funds. While the consumer did demand immediacy to both the information and their money, they weren’t willing to pay for it.

  • Today, the focus remains on reducing brick and mortar, while balancing community and regulatory requirements for physical presence against a multitude of alternative delivery channels that are ever changing and evolving.

Despite these conflicting demands, one thing remains constant...  

To thrive, survive even, banks have to stay close to their customers

Staying close means developing solid relationships between customers and bankers.  These PERSONAL relationships are THE differentiator. These relationships and the TRUST they are based on is what makes meand most other customerswant to stay with bank A and not move to bank B.

But trust is hard to define and in an ever changing world, and even harder to build.  It takes time, it takes effort, it takes training and it requires a genuine interest on the part of the bank and the banker.  Bankers who do the following are uniquely positioned to make their branches both profitable and successful:

1.  Are skilled in asking qualifying questions

2.  Take the time to get to know their customers

3.  Identify the needs of those customers

Furthermore, banks that invest in their front line: teaching, training and measuring key service indicators will be the survivors of this ever changing world.  Don’t get me wrong, banks still have to invest in infrastructure and technology, but bells, whistles and gadgets won’t help without good people.