How Can Having a World-Class Contact Center Improve Customer Experience AND the Bottom Line?

Drive Improvements Through Better Customer Interactions

Our financial services team would like to invite you to attend a complementary contact center webcast.  In this webcast we’ll explore the unique challenges facing the banking community and discuss opportunities to help you differentiate your brand from the competition.

Specific topics include:

Implications of failing to deliver an . . . Continue Reading How Can Having a World-Class Contact Center Improve Customer Experience AND the Bottom Line?

Complementary Whitepaper: The Dividends of Improving Best Practices for Social Media Research

Social media is continuing to gain traction in the world of market research. While this is an exciting development that offers new opportunities for data collection, there is a potential downside. With so many tools available to so many different types of users, the “wild west” approach to social media data access may be . . . Continue Reading Complementary Whitepaper: The Dividends of Improving Best Practices for Social Media Research

Acquiring and Retaining Affluent Customers

Affluent (1) customers are a key segment for financial institution, as they have greater deposit balances, more investable assets, and higher borrowing dollars. Affluent customers also have more products, on average with their primary bank than do less-affluent customers (3.5 vs. 2.8, respectively). Banks have fully realized the potential of these customers and are actively putting greater focus on not only acquiring but also retaining this key customer segment. However, these customers keep the lowest share of their funds with their primary banks, compared with Emerging Affluent and Mass Market customers. On average, Affluent customers keep just over half of their deposits (58%), 20% of investments and 61% of borrowing accounts with their primary bank.

Not only is there a large opportunity for financial institutions to capture a greater share of wallet among these Affluent customers, but financial institutions may also gain a competitive advantage by providing a superior experience for these valuable customers which will result in greater acquisition and lower defection rates. To fully capitalize on this opportunity, it is important to understand the drivers of defection and reasons Affluent customers select their bank, as well as the differing expectations of these customers and the levers banks can utilize to fully satisfy them.

(1) Affluent is defined as income of $150K or more and investable assets of $250K or more; Mass Market is defined as investable assets of less than $100K and income less than $150K; Emerging Affluent is defined as income of $150K or more and investable assets less than $250K, or, income less than $150K and investable assets of $100K or more.

Attracting Affluent Customers

Why Do They Switch?

Nearly one in 10 Affluent customers (9%) switched financial institutions in the past 12 months—a higher rate than among less affluent customers (6%). Affluent customers most commonly state uncompetitive interest rates (30%) and poor service experience (26%) as factors that influenced their decision to switch banks. The amount of churn among Affluent customers provides a key opportunity for competitor financial institutions to acquire these valuable customers.

What Do They Look For?

According to data in our 2012 Bank Customer Switching and Acquisition Study, Affluent customers who select a new primary bank do so primarily based on good prior service experience (31%)—also the leading purchase trigger among less-affluent customers. However, compared with Mass Market and Emerging Affluent customers, the reasons Affluent customers switch banks are less about convenience (branch hours/locations) and more often about products and pricing.

Retaining Affluent Customers

When attempting to satisfy Affluent customers’ expectations and minimize attrition, it is essential to focus efforts on the areas that will have the greatest impact. The challenge with satisfying Affluent customers is not only that their expectations are higher than other customers, but also that they are not always easily identifiable as Affluent customers, especially when they visit a branch location. This means in certain areas of the customer experience, banks should be providing a superior level of service to all customers. However, when Affluent customers are identified, it is critical for banks to optimize this opportunity by providing a proactive and personal approach to ensure customers in this segment are satisfied.

Personal Interaction

It’s key for financial institutions to focus on providing a superior personal experience for Affluent customers, whether it be at the branch or over the phone. Affluent customers with high satisfaction are more likely to indicate the branch representative called them by name; reviewed account information and recommended additional products; offered additional assistance; and thanked them for their business. These are also key for interactions with the bank’s call center. Continue reading ›

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How Mortgage Services Can Stay Ahead of the Customer Satisfaction Curve

By Craig Martin, Director-Mortgage Practice AND Paula Bibik, Sr. Research Manager-Financial Services

With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) poised to implement mortgage servicing rules early next year, the threat of investigations and significant fines for non-compliance further raises the stakes of failing to provide a quality customer experience. Banks that consistently deliver a . . . Continue Reading How Mortgage Services Can Stay Ahead of the Customer Satisfaction Curve

Canadians Less Satisfied With Their Banks

As appeared in The Financial Brand on August 2, 2012.  The Financial Brand, written and published by Jeffry Pilcher, is an online publication focusing on issues and advice that affect bank and credit union brands. Canadian consumers aren’t happy with retail banks. Irritated by fees and concerned about reliability of banks, satisfaction scores are . . . Continue Reading Canadians Less Satisfied With Their Banks

Social Efforts in Financial Services

Did you know that consumers don’t single out social media as a separate experience with a company?  Instead, they expect social media to be a fully integrated and seamless  part of the overall brand experience.

This is one of the many insights shared with us over the past 90 days while we were engaging . . . Continue Reading Social Efforts in Financial Services

Phone Contact is Key For Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction

According to our 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study released today, Phone Contact accounts for only 15% of the overall Satisfaction Index.  However, when a customer has a phone contact with their mortgage servicer, this experience increases in importance and accounts for 57%, becoming the most important factor in determining the customer’s overall . . . Continue Reading Phone Contact is Key For Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction

Two Research Insights Too Big To Miss!

2012 Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study

Increasing governmental oversight, the credit crisis, the overall state of the economy, and negative media coverage have created a challenging environment for the mortgage servicing industry. To help mitigate these negative effects, mortgage servicers need to understand and apply key best practices that result in the highest levels . . . Continue Reading Two Research Insights Too Big To Miss!

How Banks Charge Fees Without Jeopardizing Customer Satisfaction

As banks continue to explore ways to manage the sensitivity around charging fees while minimizing the impact associated with charging those fees, it’s important to focus on the following three areas:

1.  Stability

The data from our 2012 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study shows that fee structure changes not only have a significant impact on customer satisfaction, but they also lead to an increase in problem incidence and intended attrition.  The following are some best practices banks should consider when making changes to fee structures:

  • When changes are necessary, focus on limiting the number of changes customers are forces to accept. For example, making two or three changes to fee structures per year may be more confusing and less satisfying than making multiple changes at one time.
  • When fee changes are necessary, it is critical to communicate the changes well in advance so that customers are not caught by surprise.
  • While communication of fees is mandatory, there are some other ways for financial institutions to help ensure customers are aware of changes—e.g., communicating changes more than once and preferably via multiple channels, such as mailed letter and online notification.
Source:  J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Banking Satisfaction Study

2.  Communication

The impact of communication on the fee experience goes far beyond simply providing advance notice of any changes to the fee structure. There are other best practices that banks can follow to provide their customers with more information regarding fees or information on other product pricing options available:

Account initiation: Starting with account initiation, it’s vital that representatives perform a detailed needs assessment and identify the products that meets customers’ needs. Performing a detailed needs assessment during account initiation provides a big lift in fee understanding (22 percentage point difference for “completely” identified needs) , while also providing a significant lift in satisfaction.

Online account information: It goes without saying that providing customers with clear and concise access to account information and other pertinent information via the bank’s website is crucial. Clarity of account information and Clarity of information provided on the website provide considerable lifts in Fees satisfaction, while also improving fee understanding by 16 percentage points.

Outbound communication: Proactively contacting customers three or four times per year regarding banking products and services enhances satisfaction and understanding of both fees and product offerings, without creating information overload. Study findings show that satisfaction and understanding both begin to decline when customers receive five or more proactive contacts per year. This also includes performing account reviews to ensure customers have the right products. Empowering branch tellers and call center representatives to proactively review customer accounts and make recommendations for alternative products and pricing options provides lifts in Fees satisfaction and understanding and significantly improves the bank’s Brand Image rating for being Customer driven. Continue reading ›

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Maximizing the On-Boarding Experience

Banks should understand that the account initiation process does not end after customers have opened their accounts and the initial interaction with bank representatives has concluded. New customers presume ongoing value, and have come to expect a personal follow-up contact from the bank shortly after the initial interaction.

We offer the following tips to help . . . Continue Reading Maximizing the On-Boarding Experience