Financial Services Customers

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3 Ways Financial Services Customers Are Changing—and How Brands Should Adapt

Technology factors into customers’ changing wants and needs across many industries—especially in the financial services (finserv) world. We’ve noticed a lot of big changes in this sector just in the last few years, which means that banks like yours need to keep up in ways that are meaningful to your customers. Customer experience (CX) programs are a big help here; so too is human expertise that can guide your program goals. With that expertise in mind, here are three major ways we’re noticing how financial services customers are changing and why it matters!

3 Ways Financial Services Customers Are Changing

  • Key #1: Accept the Difficulty of Long-Term Client Maturity
  • Key #2: Finance as A Lifestyle Choice
  • Key #3: The Search for Meaning and Shared Values

Key #1: Accept the Difficulty of Long-Term Client Maturity

One of the biggest changes traditional banks are seeing is that it’s suddenly much harder to mature customers as long-term financial clients. There are two causes at play here: the first is that digitally savvy customers are constantly comparing your bank to the competition. The internet has made it easy to constantly compare brands, which is why customers may up and leave your attempts at long-term client relationships the minute they feel another bank is better.

The other factor, of course, is the rise of small but incredibly agile challenger institutions, which is the bucket that things like financial apps fall into. These challenger brands benefit from being able to offer customers quick, one-stop financial products that many larger banks simply haven’t developed yet, which has changed customers’ perceptions of what a financial product or service should be. The first step to staying ahead of this curve is to accept this paradigm shift.

Key #2: Finance as a Lifestyle Choice

Customers enjoy financial apps for their speed and lower prices, but there’s another element that these challenger brands have tapped into: the idea of specific financial lifestyles. A lot of larger, older banks see selling financial products as just that: a sale. However, the game has changed. More customers than ever before see financial products in a lifestyle sense, not just a monetary one. They want something that speaks specifically to their lifestyle identity, which means that banks must provide.

Turn to your CX program to see what customers are saying about your bank within this context. Understand what they find valuable about the products and services they provide, then think of ways to make your offering more personable. Capital One, for example, leveraged this process to create its novel Capital One Cafes, having learned that this was a feature that would make their brand more personable. Figuring out how to make your own brand more personable will make customers see you as a lifestyle institution, not ‘just’ a banking one.

Key #3: The Search for Meaning and Shared Values

We’ve discussed how finserv customers are constantly looking for the perfect bank, as well as how brands across the financial world must constantly strive to make themselves personable to those customers. This idea of a constantly perfect fit taps into something more fundamental than competing on price or turning your bank into a cafe: the notion of Experience Improvement (XI) and its vital importance to building mutually successful relationships with customers.

The truth is that, even though customers are much harder to retain than they used to be, they’re still looking for the brand whom they feel knows them as people. Couple that with the fact that these smaller challenger brands tend to focus much more on individual transactions than long-term relationships, and the result is an opportunity for larger banks to compete on customers’ search for meaning. This means creating a CX program tied to specific financial goals, uniting customer data from across your organization, and executing on that intel in a way customers will appreciate. This will allow you to build meaningful relationships in a way that challenger apps cannot while retaining and strengthening your book of business.

Click here to learn more about how the finserv customer has changed and what your bank can do to not just stay ahead, but thrive in this digital age. Senior Vice President Ashley Goode takes a magnifying glass to all the changes we’ve seen in recent years and how your brand can succeed with Experience Improvement!

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