How to create a loyal, total customer relationship banking experience

As consumers, we’ve defined the financial services industry by the different products offered to us. For example, we may work with one bank for our mortgage needs and another for our checking and a third for our savings and financial planning.

And part of the reason we engage with multiple financial services providers is because there really isn’t much value to having all of our accounts in a single place. In fact, on average, consumers own 5.3 accounts across all types of financial institutions.  

While today’s financial services customer thinks it’s acceptable to be promiscuous with their banking needs, marketers are diligently working to educate and encourage consumers to consolidate their banking providers, ideally to a single partner. The idea is to join a banking ecosystem. With this vision in mind, banks are transitioning from a product-centric to a customer-centric mindset focusing on the needs and wants of each individual customer to be able to provide a total relationship banking experience

We define total relationship banking as a strategy that focuses on customer value that’s directed at retention and increasing engagement with existing customers across the bank’s entire line of products

Relationship banking is a strategy that’s important for both banks and customers. For banks, it adds to profitability. And for customers, it creates a better relationship banking experience because the bank is able to tailor their service to the individual based on their personal data insights reflecting their wants, needs and interests. 

Here’s some tips to consider as to how you can create a total relationship banking experience for your customers: 

  • Define your vision: Selling the idea of a pan-bank customer experience can sometimes be just as difficult as implementing it. Political, financial, and technology hurdles have created silos within most financial service organizations.  In order to overcome these, develop a vision that is compelling and clearly outlines the benefits of total relationship banking. Be careful not to “boil the ocean” when defining your vision.  Consider breaking your vision into manageable phases that are easier to sell and implement. 

  • Develop your strategy and make sure everyone is aligned: With the multiple ‘business units’ of banks, oftentimes team members are not aware of the unified strategy and goals of the bank. They are heads down working on their individual product goals and are not thinking holistically of the bank as a single company and brand. To help get all employees aligned, I’d recommend forming a customer experience steering committee that consists of one team member from all the different divisions of the bank – commercial banking, credit, mortgage and so on. This will create a ‘knowledge sharing hub’ and an opportunity to communicate the unified strategy. 

  • Leverage the power of your loyalty program: Your loyalty program is one of the only places a financial services expert can speak to the customer across all products. And it helps with customer retention and acquisition. Remember, it’s an opted in source of data. Take time to study the data and perform analytics to really get to know your members. Also, think about how you can extend your loyalty program beyond your credit card services. It can be leveraged as a tactic to get members interested in your other banking products. For example, if you offer a top tier member 25K points for enrolling in your banking services in addition to 5K for every check written within the first six months, it’s going to spark some interest. 

  • Put your technology into play: Determine how your technology platform can support your total relationship banking goals. Do you have a platform in which all business units within the bank share? Are your systems integrated and can they ‘talk to each other’? Do you have a mobile strategy? Consumers are mobile. One of the best ways to connect and maintain your banker relationship with on-the-go customers is to reach them in their preferred channel. Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, customers are engaged when it comes to tracking their financial services and they do so across multiple devices. Take the time to do a technology audit to determine what enhancements should be made.

  • Don’t dismiss the importance of data: Data insights are key to providing a good relationship banking experience. It’s the connective tissue to know that ‘customer A’ in retail banking is the same customer in commercial banking. Marketers need to create a data capture strategy that’s realistic, and fits in with their overall marketing goals. The proliferation of access to first-party data (thanks to multiple touchpoints like website visits, emails, mobile apps, social interactions and more) allows marketers to better know today’s financial services customer. And, the data created from all of these touchpoints should be augmented with third-party data assets which enables a true, 360-degree customer view.  

Achieving a total relationship banking experience for your customers is no easy feat. Marketers need to plan their journey and take it one step at a time. 

**This post originally appeared on L360.