In the 2013 MECx study we wanted to give banks a focus for their customer experience efforts. In order to do this we asked customers about what they want banks to improve most:
By products, customers are largely referring to rates and fees. “No surprise there!” says every bank executive, “But how are we supposed to make money?!” And to be fair, asking customers this question is a bit like asking gas station customers what would really improve their experience – obviously what would really delight them is cheaper gas – something largely beyond the control of the gas station owner. But all hope is not lost. The challenge is how to make the rates feel worth it to customers.
Wawa is an overwhelmingly popular convenience store here in the Mid-Atlantic States. They’ve built a remarkable customer experience that includes incredibly fast food options, friendly service, and (one of their most loved features) fee-free ATMs. Wawa customers pay similar prices for gas as they do at other gas stations, but because of the high level of thought and care Wawa has put into their customer experience the sting of high gas prices feels just a bit less painful.
2. Put customers first
Retail banking customers want their bank to make decisions that put the customer first. Going back to the Wawa example – one way that Wawa puts customers first is by waiving the ATM fee. Wawa loses some revenue from this decision, but they gain enormous amounts of customer trust and loyalty in return. This simple gesture shows care, and stands as an indicator that Wawa isn’t just trying to “make a buck” any way it can.
The MECx study found that retail banking customers want an Enjoyable experience. This is defined as one that leaves them feeling valued, appreciated, and cared for. Research from the study made it clear that banks are doing quite a bit to improve the customer experience, and it’s possible some of the disconnect is happening because customers simply don’t know that it’s happening. Take the time to thank your customers for their business, tell them how their feedback is being incorporated into decision-making processes, and let them know about current customer experience efforts. There’s a reason customers in our study love community banks and credit unions – these organizations tend to be better at letting customers know how important they are to the business.
3. Find and keep talented employees
Our study found that on this area, both banks and customers are in agreement over how important it is. Often, employees will be the ones who explain products in a way that “softens the blow” of rates and fees customers don’t love. Employee service is what will show customers that their interests are important to the bank. The important thing to remember is that this never happens in a vacuum. In a recent blog post, The Golden Rule of Customer Experience, we introduced the idea that leaders need to create a culture that “Does unto employees as they would have them do unto customers.” In other words, if leaders want employees to make customers feel valued, cared for, and appreciated. They need to create an employee experience that shows employees they are valued, cared for, and appreciated. In this environment employees are supported and have the knowledge and resources they need to create a memorable experience for customers.
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