The world of financial services is usually viewed as a complex puzzle with n number of calculations to be done, prices and rates to be compared, transactions to be tracked and a lot more. As such, customers – whether they are using their banks, insurance providers, money transfer services or credit cards – all have some basic expectations from their service providers. The onus today is on the service providers to create touch points that are extremely convenient for customers and most importantly, live up to their expectations.
For a brand today, it’s all about managing the smallest requirements and the finer details which are critical for customers. It’s about understanding the different phases of the customer’s journey and ensuring that the relevant experience is being delivered appropriately from time to time. It’s about mapping the customer’s journey from the very beginning – while continually identifying touch points that can make or break the basic tenet in financial services – trust.
Through my years of experience in the financial services industry, I have observed a few touch points that are key to a customer’s user experience which in turn helps build brand credibility.
Whether the customer wants to start a new relationship with a company or whether she engages regularly with it, whether she is a one time shopper or a regular customer, all customers expect that their interaction, engagement and experience is simple and easy. While researching or making a decision, they need all the information to be precise and straight forward. They don’t want jargon or ambiguity.
If it’s a variation of the same product, repayment of a loan, or even ways to access you, the customer needs to have a choice. It’s not merely how much more that you are providing the customers in terms of value, it’s more about the relevance of these options. A customer has to be given control by offering her the choice to decide.
3. Being informed
All of us like to know what’s happening. More so with our money. We want to know if the amount is correct, whether the debits are reflecting as they should be, if a cheque has been credited and other such details. Banks have perfected this art and the customer today knows what is happening with his account – whether it’s a deposit being credited or the details of his withdrawal through the ATM being sent to him via a SMS. Keeping the customer informed is a way to manage the uncertainty in his mind.
The uncertainty mentioned above also makes customers derive assurance from a variety of touch points and information that they have. It’s human nature to be worried about things that seem beyond your control. I have noticed that people keep checking their accounts every now and then to see whether a credit or debit has happened, even though they are aware that it will take a certain time frame to reflect. This assurance can be provided in multiple ways – by providing a tool to see the status or by sending some sort of communication like a SMS or an email. They also seek contact points where they can write to or someone to speak to. And yes, a response to their queries is an absolute must.
5. Feeling acknowledged
It’s about recognizing the value of the customers and providing them benefits that are representative of their relationship value. Many financial companies have managed this well by a variety of techniques like creating tiers with varying benefits, loyalty programs and benefits in pricing or bundled offers. Customers want to feel special, to be acknowledged for having a relationship with you.
If we don’t provide the customers a product or a solution, someone else will. If we don’t meet these basic and simple expectations of the customers, someone else will. So, to earn a customer’s trust and have a long standing relationship, we all need to ensure that we create a defining customer experience that stays with the customer.
Written by – Ashwin Gedam, Vice President – Global Marketing & Communications, Xpress Money