Customer Touchpoints in Banking
Customer journey is not a term that is popularly associated with banking because they are a business that is concerned with numbers. As far as financial institutions are concerned, customer journey never directly affected these numbers, and prominence was always given to “actual offers” rather than personalized communications. This approach may have worked in the past, but the times have changed, and we now live in a highly competitive world where the trends are changing even as we speak.
Today, the financial services market is rapidly growing, and so is its competition. Your customer or potential customer now has a plethora of options to choose from and unless you provide them with a value proposition that puts you above your competition in the mind of the customer. Gone are the days when customers would line up at your bank simply because they provide good service. The way a financial organization (even a bank) treats its customers does matter and will affect your business.
Did you know that a whopping 69% of people who leave their banking provider cites their reason as poor customer experience? The fact that they did not complain about the banking providers’ products or services and still chose to leave simply because they had poor customer service/experience speaks volumes. Customer journey is the right place to start if you feel that your financial institution does not give enough importance to its overall customer experience.
Every time a customer or a potential customer has a poor experience with your banking business, you run the risk of losing a potential lead or conversion. So now the question becomes how you can avoid such mishaps in a systematic way. This is where customer touchpoints come into the picture. To put it simply, customer touchpoints are any points at which the customer gets in contact with a business in person or via any channel.
The customer touchpoint in banking could be anything from an email or a call or a chatbot on your website, and so on. In fact, it is not even necessary that the touchpoints are directly instigated by your business either. Even advertisements and third-party review sites are also a type of customer touchpoint. Additionally, there are numerous interactions between the customer and the bank after the customer first hears about your bank.
The communication between your bank and its customer could be something as simple as viewing your social media ad or reading a blog, or a normal bank visit. This article discusses the customer touchpoints in banking. We explain what banking touchpoints are and their examples. The article also covers other important details such as the customer journey, the importance of timely communication, and the role of address verification for successfully running your banking business.
What are Banking Touchpoints?
Banking touchpoints refer to the point of interaction between a financial institution and its customers/potential customers either in person or via any external channels. The channels used for this interaction can include anything such as telephones, mobile applications, websites, direct mails, or any other online or offline channels. Although the banking touchpoints may seem the same as normal customer touchpoints in every other industry, there is a key difference between the two.
What is the key difference, you ask? Well, for starters, unlike other businesses, banking is considered a serious one, and it reflects in their communications and interactions as well. The banking communications or interactions are almost always highly private and formal. Since the banking interactions are serious, creating positive customer experiences is harder than usual. Hence they require well-planned and securely delivered interactions, preferably via an automated service.
Each business organization and its requirements are unique even if they belong to the same industry and seemingly provide the same services too. This is because the goals of your organization may be different from the goals of your competitor, and therefore the banking touchpoints in the customer journey for your banking organization may be different from that of your competitors. This then leads us to a different question, that is, which banking touchpoints are most relevant for your banking business?
For finding which banking touchpoints are the most relevant for the customer journey through your banking business, you first need to understand how your customers or potential customers interact with your business. Once you have a clear idea about how people interact with your business, including the data that specifies the frequency of such interactions, you can identify and prioritize the touchpoints. As a result, you will be able to map the realistic customer path and develop an action plan for your business.
Customer Touchpoints You Should Consider for Your Banking Business
One thing that you must always keep in mind if you ever hope to develop an effective communication strategy for your banking business is that each customer path is unique. Even in the beginning stages of the customer journey mapping, you should take into account the unique path taken by each customer. To understand the unique path taken by your customers, look at it this way, a customer may have come to know about an offer your business is giving through a banner ad, whereas another customer may have reached the same destination but they through a different channel like a social media post you put up.
The takeaway is that it is not necessary that all the leads come from one source unless, of course, you have only employed one source for the campaign (which is highly NOT recommended). Furthermore, you should be fully equipped to engage and interact with the customers from both offline and online channels involved in the campaign. Below we discuss some of the most common banking touchpoints that are popularly used in the industry and how you can use them to their full potential.
Social media is not the ideal channel for business communication, especially for something as intent as banking. That being said, social media is still a great way to build a rapport with your target audience, and it also helps you establish your banking business by building brand awareness. Some of the more popular banks in the US, such as Citibank, have a whopping one million-plus subscribers on Facebook.
The takeaway is that not all the leads need to come from one source unless of course, you have only employed one source for the campaign (which is highly NOT recommended). Furthermore, you should be fully equipped to engage and interact with the customers from both offline and online channels involved in the campaign. Below we discuss some of the most common banking touchpoints that are popularly used in the industry and how you can use them to their full potential.
Online ads are one of the most crucial banking touchpoints because it is an effective tool that allows you to target the right audience, enhancing your chance of making a conversion. The online ads at our disposal today, such as Google ads, come equipped with advanced targeting features and analytic capabilities. This means that you can target your ads better for more reach and conversions.
For successfully running online advertisements, you need access to some information such as customer behavior and target demographics. With the help of advanced analytic tools, you can access and analyze the relevant information and develop a strategy that can work best for your business requirement and target audience. This will increase the chance of your ad meeting the target you’ve set.
What do you do when you want to know about a product or service that you want to buy but are not sure which brand or model is ideal for you? You go to the internet like everyone else, right? Well, the same goes for banking products and services as well. Therefore, you can guess the ramifications of not having a strong enough online presence.
Both your existing customers and your potential customers will at some point want to check out your website for a product or service they require. Thus having a dedicated website for your banking business is a must. Furthermore, your website can not afford to be one built for namesake. It must be well built and equipped with all the necessary features and functionalities.
Online Banking System
How often do you use online banking systems, including web and mobile banking solutions? The answer is more likely to be quiet often rather than rarely. In other words, web and mobile banking solutions have pretty much become a necessity for the modern-day life we live. At this point, banking businesses can no longer afford not to offer online banking solutions to their customers.
Consider offering a custom mobile banking application if you want to have any chance against your competition who likely already has a dedicated banking app. Furthermore, make sure that your web or mobile application can integrate with other banking touchpoints such as phone and email to provide a streamlined experience across all channels.
Emails are among the most common communications in use today and are employed by businesses of all kinds. But just because they are common does not make emails any less significant. When it comes to the banking industry, emails are still a major means of communication, especially when the customer wants to reach out to you.
Furthermore, they are an excellent and cheap tool for banking businesses to reach out to your customers and are popularly used to welcome new customers or wish existing ones on their birthdays, and for sending out statements.
Financial institutions, particularly the big ones, need to provide phone support to their customers. The phone support is still relevant even though more and more people are opting for online chat support nowadays.
Many of us still prefer to get that personal touch from banking services that are absent in chat support. Furthermore, you also need to make sure that the conversations are saved in your systems for future reference.
Banking is the one sector that people still prefer to have a face-to-face conversation despite the global digital transformation. Face-to-face interactions have always been an important aspect of the banking business, and it will remain to be that in the years to come, at least for the foreseeable future.
Direct mails for banks remain one of the major channels of communication. Many people still prefer to get a hard copy of important documents such as invoices, bank statements, late payment notices, etc. Furthermore, they are easy to save without having to worry about them getting wiped by a virus or simply by accident. In fact, companies are now using direct mails in combination with online channels for a superior marketing campaign too.
Timely Communication And The Role of Address Verification
Time is of the essence, and this statement holds for the banking industry as well, and perhaps it is more relevant to banking than to most other industries. Even today, many of the customers (if not most) wish to receive their bank statements via postal mails over emails. Now, under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t be too complicated, but things can take an ugly turn if you don’t have the full or right address for sending the statement.
An incomplete address on your postal mail may still get delivered provided that all the important details are there. But, even the delay could have devastating effects depending on the customer’s urgency in receiving the postal mail. In the worst-case scenario, the customer may decide to end the relationship with their banking institution. Hence it is quintessential that banking institutions do everything in their power to ensure timely communication.
The best solution to this issue is simply to get a hold of the customer’s full address, including the ZIP+4 code. And to do that, you need an advanced address verification tool like PostGrid. With a system like PostGrid, you can bulk verify your address database against USPS’s official address database to ensure its validity and deliverability. Furthermore, you can even automate the entire process, including the printing and delivery of direct mails after validation of the addresses.
Customer touchpoints in banking are just as important as the customer touchpoints in every other industry, and it is high time that banking businesses acknowledge this fact. Some of the major customer touchpoints in banking include social media, online ads, dedicated websites, direct mails, etc. Every touchpoint is important for the success of your banking business, and it’d be a mistake to turn a blind eye on any one of them. Furthermore, you must also look for the latest marketing strategies available at your disposal, such as direct mail that combine online marketing efforts. You can further streamline your operations by using the relevant advanced tool for each banking touchpoint, such as PostGrid for direct mails.