Transformation is no longer a rite of passage, but rather the right way for financial institutions to do business. As life begins to return to normal following the Covid-19 pandemic, consumer expectations are higher than ever before. When businesses nimbly and creatively transformed to meet customer needs during shelter-in-place orders and the social-distancing recommendations that followed, customer expectations shifted. Consumers now expect their banks and credit unions to meet them where they are on their customer journey. If these expectations are not met, they’ll move on to FIs that have embraced a more customer-centric experience.
Customer-centricity means putting the customer at the center of every strategy. Don’t be fooled, this is often more difficult than it sounds. Transformation to a customer-centric culture requires the people indecision-making positions within an organization to understand customers' situations, perceptions, and expectations and be willing to tailor products, services, and communications to their customers. Not to mention changing the culture to be customer-first. This approach to doing business guarantees positive customer experiences to drive profit and retention.
FIs that revoke cookie-cutter financial product portfolios in favor of communications with a personalized approach require innovations that adapts to each unique customer. However, as one Financial Brand article points out, “The financial services industry isn’t exactly known for taking the personal approach. While two-thirds of consumers expect their financial service provider to understand their unique needs, only 27% say the industry is truly customer-centric.”
An additional challenge for banks and credit unions is that true customer-centricity is not just about delivering innovative products, or even delivering them in innovative ways, but is also about creating a unique customer experience that makes their FI stand out from the crowd. This can and should be addressed through digital-first, personalized communication, but, as many FIs are discovering, reaching new customers and dazzling the existing ones sometimes means transforming their marketing from safe to stellar.
In an article titled 13 Unconventional Bank Marketing Campaigns for 2022 some of the most creative FI marketing strategies are shared. Matchmaking spoofs, photoshopping buses into interesting locations, and giant community coloring books… Why not? These unique approaches successfully navigate the delicate balancing act faced by FIs as they need to be careful not to draw ire from the regulators, but still need to transform their marketing from the traditional campaigns that have begun to feel stale and forgettable. Such creativity needs to be underpinned by data and customer insights to truly make a difference.
From creative marketing strategies to insight-powered tailored communications to performance analytics for optimization to the financial products themselves, customer-centric transformation requires a paradigm shift from people and systems that make it happen. The key to true customer-centricity is understanding that transformation is never ending. Customer-first innovation must be a core value of the entire organization with its people, technologies, and partners supporting the customer’s journey at its center. The early adopters are seeing dramatic success with these strategies. It’s time for leadership at the rest of the FIs to get on this bandwagon or risk being left behind.