Change events threaten consumer loyalty

In a rapidly changing world, financial institutions must adapt to remain competitive. Anything that challenges the status quo among consumers, whether in their professional or personal life – a job change, relocation, or even a disruption in their daily routine – can create stress and affect behavior.

For financial institutions, change is a critical business opportunity and a slippery slope. A recent Vericast survey of 444 financial services professionals found that nearly 20% of financial institutions view M&A events as a key driver of inorganic growth. In another survey, 63% of banks surveyed with assets of $10 billion or more plan to actively acquire within the next five years.

And with deals accelerating and closing sooner, the stakes for successful M&A events are even higher – according to Vericast’s survey, 75% of consumers are very or somewhat likely to leave after an event. of mergers and acquisitions.

But there is serious confusion about M&A activity, with serious consequences. Recent surveys have revealed a significant (and largely unrecognized) perception gap when it comes to customer engagement at M&A events. Nearly 75% of senior banking executives believe their organization outperforms others in customer engagement, for example, but less than a third of customers say their experience is positive.

Similar metrics can be seen when it comes to digital banking conversions. Financial institutions understand the need for digital transformation to improve productivity and workflow and provide customers with meaningful self-service options. Eighty-two percent of CEOs and operations professionals say they have significantly accelerated the upgrade of online and mobile banking capabilities in the past year.

But too often, institutions underestimate the amount of planning, preparation, and operational resources required to successfully manage digital conversions, resulting in stretched internal resources and wait times that don’t meet customer expectations. .

Many institutions are unprepared for the tidal wave of calls. Inbound call volumes can soar by 300% during a digital banking conversion, with almost a third of all online customers trying to reach their financial institution for assistance during the conversion. Nearly 74% of respondents to a recent consumer survey said they would switch providers after a bad contact center experience.

Close the gap

Change is a given. The results are not. Delivering top-notch customer service is key to long-term success, especially when loyalty is the toughest.

Vericast’s survey confirms that financial institutions are committed to change management. The survey showed that investments in new technologies (67%) and in online and mobile banking services (82%) are high. The same is true for investments in recruiting and hiring (76%) for those with staffing issues.

But banks are devoting fewer resources to cost-effective, quality customer experience solutions proven to improve customer satisfaction and retention, such as virtual banking assistance (13%) and contact center outsourcing (8 %).

Here are four ways to reduce attrition, increase revenue, build brand equity, and improve satisfaction during change events:

Personalize your communications: 72% of consumers only interact with personalized messages.

Provide premium service to critical customers: Proactive communications delivered at the right time, with the right offer, can increase revenue by 30% or more.

Provide a consistent brand experience: Customers trust banks that provide consistent customer journeys 30% more than those that don’t.

Provide excellent and accessible customer service, both online and offline: 81% of consumers prefer live interaction when seeking answers to pressing and complex issues.

Complex change activities, like M&A events and digital banking conversions, are great opportunities to engage, acquire and retain customers and grow relationships. Customers’ experiences in times of uncertainty have a profound impact on how they feel about their financial institution. Banks must prioritize and value these experiences.

Terri Panhans is the Vice President of Contact Center Solutions for Vericast.

Learn how financial services organizations can prepare for and take advantage of M&A growth opportunities in BAI’s executive report, “Bank M&A is here to stay.”

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