In today's digital world, consumers want a relationship with their bank that is personalised and rewarding. The big question facing banks is how to engage with their customers in an effective manner, leading to building stronger and longer lasting relationships that customers find valuable and relevant.
With 30 years’ experience in working with more than 1,400 banks globally, we have leveraged our expertise and best practices to develop a checklist of the key drivers for successful customer engagement
Understand who your customers are
With an increased level of competition across all industries, the ever-increasing volume and channels for communication and messaging, it can be particularly challenging for banks to activate their customers and encourage them to become truly loyal brand advocates.
A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson revealed that the majority of the Financial Services companies surveyed (66%) did not understand what motivates the engagement and loyalty of their customers, over half (53%) were failing to collect sufficient data to gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are.
Banks need to maximise the opportunity of the wealth of transactional data that they have access to and find new ways to demonstrate that they truly understand each customer and value them as an individual.
Create a more personal experience
Customers have clear expectations that their interactions with companies will be personalised and relevant. They expect to be understood and shown that they are valued with contextualised experiences that will, in return, drive a greater level of engagement and spend.
Despite their initial reluctance towards open APIs, banks are starting to understand their potential, with almost 70% implementing API gateways to accelerate digital banking innovation. 41% see an API gateway an enabler of the developer ecosystem, while almost 3% as a chance to open up to third parties. Banks must be open-minded about the partnership potential of new thinking and technologies and how it can be used to positively personalise offerings and distribution channels.*
Reward and recognise customers
Offers and rewards have long been a strategy to drive customer engagement and loyalty. Being able to combine tactical promotions with the ability to recognise every interaction that your customer has with you – from making a transaction to social media engagement to store of brand visits - is an extremely powerful approach in motivating behaviour. It is not just about rewards or points, you are expected to provide the right type of reward that surprises and delights, and know when, where and how to deliver it.
This is reinforced with what we know about customers; they want to be in control and decide when to use those rewards, and they are increasingly impatient; they don’t want to have to wait until they have amassed lots of points before they see value from their collection. They want to be able to earn and redeem their rewards in real-time easily and seamlessly. Aligned to this, our experience shows that banks want to drive card usage, increase customer satisfaction and being able to reward their customers on usage of specific products, services or channels has been proven to drive profitability and engagement.
Inspire trust and loyalty
Give your customers reasons why they should regularly engage and demonstrate how you are committed to delivering a customer-centric experience that they will find helpful and relevant. In the age of cyber-attacks and unstable political and financial environments, customers want their bank to inspire trust, to know that their finances and sensitive information are secure and that their bank cares about them.
One of the ways that some challenger banks such as mBank, N26, Revolut or Monzo are demonstrating their trust and responsibility to customers is to categorise individual transactions and purchases and visually playback their spending habits and are upfront about any potential fees that may be incurred before they happen. This delivers a positive customer experience and has led to high adoption and popularity within the markets in which they have launched.
For banks, the ongoing challenge is to continue to explore what more you can do to not only keep up with but to differentiate yourself from the competition, while adding value to your customer relationships. Thinking differently is the norm to minimise the ongoing disruption of new challengers, regulation and big technology players that are infiltrating traditional operating models and fighting for their share of your customers.
So, be brave and have the confidence to deliver a rewarding customer experience that changes the industry benchmark, not just steps outside it.
*Source: Backbase - Banking 2025 Whitepaper