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Two ways your financial institution should focus on customer service

Joseph Lowe
October 8, 2018
Read Time: 0 min

The last time you received poor customer service from a business, what did you do after? If you’re like most people, you probably expressed your thoughts to your peers.

In fact, 58 percent of people inform friends and family about a negative customer experience according to a Salesforce report. It should come as no surprise then that 72 percent of banks and credit unions ranked customer service as their number one focus.

One of the major benefits of banking with a community bank or credit union is for their attentiveness to customer service. In fact, 96 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with their local banking experience according to a recent infographic from Ipsos and March Networks. 

But for smaller banks and credit unions aiming to keep up with borrowers’ high customer service expectations, they must look to adopting technology solutions not only to optimize internal processes but also innovate customer service measures. Two methods to satisfy your borrowers as detailed in the infographic, “Consumer Banking Habits and Security 2018”, include:

  1. Diversifying omni-channel customer service interactions and
  2. Focusing on traditional security and cybersecurity.

Increase customer service across multiple channels

Borrowers, young and old, are turning to their smartphones and online lending to handle personal financial matters. From 2016 to 2018, the percentage of total individuals using mobile phones for personal banking jumped from 31 percent to 44 percent, and that trend is magnified by millennials – 68 percent of which utilize a mobile phone for banking.

Yet, physical branches are still the preferred source for some borrowers and loan markets, such as small business lending. According to Federal Reserve study “Browsing to Borrow: ‘Mom & Pop’ Small Business Perspectives on Online Lenders,” businesses ranked “lender I know and trust” as one of the top two factors considered when making the decision to open a line of credit.

While the number of online accountholders and borrowers is increasing, customers aren’t abandoning their physical branches. Rather, customers are interacting with their institutions through omni-channels – or multiple channels – from in-person meetings at brick and mortar institutions to online banking with tech-savvy community banks. Recent reports state that more than half of accountholders interact with banks on multiple channels, and the most satisfied customers are those that use online and mobile banking but also visit branches two to three times a month.

An omni-channel approach to communication gives community banks and credit unions the opportunity to offer superior customer service through multiple channels. Banks and credit unions will be able to offer support through customers’ preferred method of communication, as well as build rapport and trust with accountholders through reliable service. Financial institutions can provide a consistent level of customer service across all lines of communication with banking technology, from leveraging social media to answer commonly asked questions to managing relationships digitally.

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Increase security measures in and out of the bank

Customer service and transparency doesn’t just extend to matters of loan pricing and loan decisioning—it also extends to security. Implementing security measures across physical and online bank branches is a critical form of customer service. When it comes to protecting the financial wellbeing of accountholders and borrowers, it’s important to consider customers’ safety, both physically and online.

There is good news: Most bank accountholders feel positively about the level of service after fraudulent activity. Of the estimated 17 percent of Americans that experienced fraudulent activity in 2017, 92 percent said they were satisfied with how the incident was handled. However, respondents also reported that financial institutions still have room to improve, such as with additional notifications and quicker response time.

Consumers are rightfully cautious about financial institution security measures as fraud incidents, both online and offline, increased by more than 130 percent in 2017. After experiencing fraudulent activity, more than half of consumers noticed it without a proactive notification from their bank or credit union.

The need for proactive security measures extends to physical methods as well. According to Ipsos and March Networks’ infographic, accountholders feel more secure in the presence of video surveillance within their local branch, stating it deters crime and influences where they choose to bank. As security breaches gain the attention of the public eye, community institutions must act cautiously and institute the proper safety measures to make customers feel secure. Community banks and credit unions that implement stringent security measures within digital and physical branches can maintain accountholders and borrowers’ trust, inevitably leading to an improved reputation and increased referrals.

Achieving accountholders’ expectations of customer service is an ever-evolving task. The engagement across online and physical financial branches may fluctuate and the spectrum of security needs for financial institutions will vary, but ultimately, the banks and credit unions that take proactive steps to improve customer service will increase their chances of improving customer loyalty and outperforming the competition.

Additional Resources

Whitepaper: The Process Improvement Process

Webinar: Shaping the Borrower Experience

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About the Author

Joseph Lowe

Joseph Lowe is a Digital Marketing Manager at Abrigo.

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About Abrigo

Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

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