Engage with members to build relationships

Engage with members to build relationships

Prompt consultative conversations to gain business and win share of wallet.

May 10, 2016

What makes for high engagement with consumers? Rather than rates and convenience, “sustainable advantages” come from engagement—the way consumers feel during interactions, according to a Gallup survey.

“To gain business and win share of wallet, community banks and credit unions need to be proactive in capitalizing on their higher engagement levels by prompting consultative conversations,” Gallup reports.

It is a combination of stellar products and services and engagement that give institutions the edge.

How can you create and sustain these engagement-building advantages?

This week, consider strategies you might employ to meet evolving consumer expectations of stellar service, and close the “big-money” deals you may currently miss.

‘Never above you.  Never below you.  Always beside you.’ –Walter Winchell, commentator

Consumers know you are a trusted partner. How does the competition stack up and respond?

Banks Fall Short on Meeting Consumer Expectations for Personalized Relationships,” notes Therein lies a credit union advantage.

A recent analysis by the Digital Banking Report reveals “banks tend to overestimate how consumers view their relationships… and fall short on delivering the personalized service and advice expected by consumers.”

Plus, “new fintech players and nonfinancial firms are upping the ante with highly customized digital solutions.”

Personalization of services will be a primary advantage for providers in the know.

Big and mid-size banks know they need to adapt, and strategize with solutions “in various stages of deployment.”

Given that credit unions have existing bonds with members, how can they capitalize on these relationships?

Some answers may be found in consideration of the impact your brand carries, and greater understanding of how you resonate with consumers.

What Drives That Crazy Little Thing Called Brand Love”? asks MarketingProfs.

It turns out, there are “three essentials of a loving relationship,” true in personal bonding as well as between consumers and brands:

  1. Chemistry;
  2. Needs fulfillment; and
  3. Compatibility.

Compatibility is the foundation for a good relationship, notes the article, as it centers on common ground on values and principles.

Marketers can tap into consumer sentiment and preferences via use of algorithms and interactive surveys in order to find that common ground.

“Emotional data provides marketers with unprecedented insights proven to predict consumer actions… Brand love correlates with such consumer behaviors,” the article notes.

To get started, understand what motivates people to love your brand, know your target market, and then you can begin to differentiate and “deepen the emotional connection.”

In promoting your brand, do you know “How To Craft Your Perfect Selling Story” per Forbes?

You will need to work previous business experiences into a good story “that engages your audience both rationally and emotionally.”

Here is an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and allow others to think critically.

Good sales stories have four components. They will:

1. Be relatable and allow you to demonstrate your values and establish relevance.

2. Introduce challenges by presenting a conflict such that you will allow consumers to empathize and identify with the circumstance.

3. Provide a solution as you describe how conflict was resolved. “Be transparent about the insight that drove your strategy” and explain how your insight was important.

4.  Include results demonstrating lasting influence and effective problem solving. Quantitative evidence will reinforce your commentary.

‘There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.’ –Roger Staubach, football quarterback

Relating to your target audience requires understanding their perspective and preferences.

See a CUNA blog post that indicates “digital-savvy consumers demand personalized banking experiences.”

The blog covers an Accenture survey that notes “Banks are at a tipping point. Their historically stable customer base could erode steadily” in the event they fall short in meeting service demands of consumers.

Four ways financial providers can grow their relationships with consumers:

1. Reinvent the branch experience: 81% of survey respondents would remain with their primary provider even if the local branch was closed.

2. Go beyond financial transactions: 79% of consumers believe their relationship with financial service providers is transactional, up 8% since 2014.

3. Make the most of trust: 86% “trust their bank over all other institutions to securely manage their personal data.”

4. Win over millennials: 18% of millennials changed providers in the last year.

Branches are important channels but need to present service opportunities consumers want—more digital experiences and self-service options are sought.

“Banks cannot lose sight of the community connections that provide opportunities to become part of the fabric of people’s lives,’” the post notes.

“Consumers who use mobile are likely more engaged with their financial institutions,” says a Fiserv report, “Mobile Banking Adoption: Where Is the Revenue for Financial Institutions.” 

Mobile banking users hold a greater number of products with their provider than those who only use branches (2.3 vs. 1.3).

Mobile users are more apt to think of their financial provider as their relationship becomes more involved, fostering other types of engagement.

“As consumers use more products, they turn to mobile banking to help them manage increasingly complex financial lives. This may lead them to specifically seek out mobile banking capabilities as part of an overall financial relationship.”

What are your mobile banking capabilities?

One final example as a tactic to grow engagement is that of incorporating social media in your outreach.

See a post, “Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy in Financial Services” for valuable tips.

Social media allows financial providers to demonstrate thought leadership, share promotional offers, and grow engagement with low cost, “presenting a tempting return on investment.”

To find success in social media:

  • Focus on the user’s experience and develop consistencies.
  • Encourage engagement by listening and responding appropriately. Create groups, conduct surveys, and “commit to being a part of the conversation” with frequent and consistent posts.
  • Use metrics to evaluate your efforts and adjust strategies.

The benefits of creating good relationships with consumers are exponential.

Not only will you accurately serve loyal members and keep the “big-money” business that the competition might attract, but you will grow business in other ways.

As noted by Tommy Lee Jones, “Partnerships are good engines for narrative.”

When people talk about their great relationships with your credit union, they will invite their friends to the personalized financial experiences you provide--where the focus is on the member.

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blogThe Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.