Engagement in financial services

Touch points and technology heighten emotional connection between banks and their customers

Financial services providers have recently undergone a paradigm shift in their approach to growing their customer base and revenues by looking for better ways to engage customers, establishing a deep, lasting connection with them— and consequently build more profitable, lasting relationships. The benefits to customers are obvious. Limited hours, locations, and services have been replaced by a variety of customized service options. Inviting retail banking stores (instead of impersonal branches), small satellite offices with extended hours, tailored lending programs, reduced commissions, and free 24-hour online services are only a few of the strategies companies are adopting to improve customer engagement.

Today’s markets are well-served. More often than not, global financial institutions and their smaller regional counterparts actively compete with each other to win new customers, retain existing ones, and grow revenue through effective up-selling and cross-selling.

Some industry statistics highlight the challenges and opportunities facing financial services providers:

  • The industry has embraced eBanking to reduce costs and improve services; yet, only a small percentage of customers successfully complete new account opening online.
  • Customer retention is an issue: the typical churn rate at U.S. banks is approximately 15%.
  • Bank customers are three times less likely to recommend their bank to a friend than they are to recommend any other service provider.
  • Customers identified as loyal, on average, buy 40% more products than their less enthusiastic counterparts.

High-quality technological solutions drive engagement

The value of engaging customers through multiple touchpoints and digital solutions has proven to be paramount. A recent Gallup global survey of bank customers conducted as part of Adobe’s comprehensive initiative investigating engagement found that consumers are increasingly interacting with their bank through its website, with over half of respondents reporting doing so. One in ten uses a mobile device to conduct non-voice transactions with their bank. The proliferation of high-quality touchpoints has led to increased engagement, and Gallup’s research reveals that customers who are extremely satisfied with their bank’s website are seven times more likely to be engaged with their bank when compared to less-satisfied web site users. Moreover, customers who use three or more website features—such as online bill payment, customer support, or financial calculators—tend to be more engaged with their bank than those who use fewer features.

By leveraging the latest technology, including Adobe solutions, financial services providers can engage customers through high-quality, high-touch experiences delivered across a variety of channels and popular computing devices. Adobe solutions enable companies to offer more customers a wider array of services on-demand, while streamlining processes, minimizing costs, and boosting an emotional connection with the company. This has a real effect on profits, with Gallup cross-industry research demonstrating that fully engaged customers deliver a 23% premium over other customers in share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

Whether buying from a broker or directly, engagement affects insurance

The insurance business is a key area of the financials services market where building strong, lasting, engaged relationships has a powerful impact. Though it’s important for insurance companies to acquire and retain customers, success is much more dependent on the ability to maintain efficient service delivery channels. Accomplishing this requires insurers to automate costly and error-prone processes, implement systems to maximize agent productivity, and increase customer loyalty through more secure, personalized and engaging interactions.

When buying insurance, customers generally purchase policies from a network of agents or brokers, or purchase policies directly from an insurance provider. For insurance brokers, time literally is money. The faster they can identify a policy, submit application forms, and have the policy activated, the sooner they get paid. As a result, automating processes and providing superior agent services strengthen loyalty and are critical to an insurance company’s long-term success. They also provide avenues to encourage agents and brokers to cross-sell and up-sell services to increase customer share of wallet.

With regard to individuals purchasing insurance directly from an insurance provider, streamlined application processes result in higher customer satisfaction and a decreased chance that potential customers will seek services from other providers. Improving application processes also helps a company better manage risks because underwriting staff can interact faster and more reliably with brokers or customers.

Bridging the engagement gap

Whether in dealings with banks, investment firms, or insurance companies, Adobe solutions help organizations engage both customers and partners, and boost profits in doing so. With competition in the financial services industry at an all-time high, a company’s ability to engage customers and strengthen relationships, grow awareness for its products and services, and differentiate itself from competitors can mean the difference between success and failure.

“As in all industries, consumers are bringing high expectations to business interactions with banks, insurance companies, and investments firms. New financial services technology, such as online bill pay, help financial service providers create engaging experiences that are critical for building strong and profitable relationships with customers over the long term.”

—Chip Greenlee
director, financial services industry marketing