By: Frank Aloi, President, apc
Last week was a sobering and thought-provoking one for our financial markets, as we all know. In response to the backlash, we’ve seen numerous “valued customer” communications citing various institutions’ sound financial practices, disciplined lending, favorable liquidity positions, and being “highly responsive to our customers’ banking needs” – all in a reactionary attempt to ease customer fears amid significant bank failures. Citing stability to evoke trust in this time makes sense, I guess. I appreciate this message but wonder if it is a “box” a marketing department needs to “check” from a timing perspective. Another view is to understand if your customers actually trusted you the week before all of this mess started. Do you know? Do you communicate with them? Does your front-line understand the importance of your culture? Do you have a culture worth understanding?
Listening to your customers gets you to the starting gate. It is not a final solution.
If your institution is trying to grow households, wallet-share, or bolster loyalty in your current customer-base, providing frictionless, personalized experiences are not only the key, but they are also the norm. You should be identifying what the customer needs, and informing them of those needs, well before the customer has recognized it for themselves.
Look at the part social media played in the happenings last week. Customers can leave in an instant and with the emergence of strong Neo Banks, there is more quality choice than ever. To thrive in our current markets, an environment where digital messaging and social media holds such a dominant position, there are a few basic things to (consistently) do:
Measure Trust Metrics
This can be added to your daily surveys or be quickly stood up as a one-time survey. Even asking the questions shows you have your eye on the ball and can generate trust.
More listening. Social listening has always been important. Now more than ever, you must have a platform to proactively listen to what your Customers are saying online, everywhere. In many instances, this function lives within the silo of the Marketing department, or possibly, an outside agency – regardless, you need to permeate that information throughout your organization on a regular basis. The sentiments being expressed about your brand online must be combined with all other forms of feedback, such as surveys and complaints, to tell one customer story.
Upskill Your Teams
Just because you’ve told the Employee what to say, it doesn’t mean they know how to say it. The recent Talent War has stretched teams thin, increased stress, and forced organizations to hire warm bodies to fill cold seats. Training on message delivery and trust tactics is fast, meaningful, and cost-effective. Most of all, it builds and reinforces your culture every day. Do not fall into the trap of assuming your employees know how to address this difficult topic. Invest in your team members and reap the positive cultural results in return – simple formula.
Amplify your culture by actively communicating with customers in a 1:1 manner vs. mass communication. Train, encourage, reward, and recognize your employees for doing so. Give them tool such as surveys, key performance indicators, problem resolutions tools and more – they will grow with you. Empower your people to make a difference!
While we may be referencing recent bank failures, culture remains the pivotable element here, and it always will be. Finding ways to identify, and delivering ways to continually uphold your cultural message doesn’t always need to come from the top. Culture can be lead from any level within an organization. Only with real culture can you earn and retain the trust of both your customers and employees on a daily basis.