Banking relationships are built on trust, empathy, and communication. Banks have traditionally built and strengthened these relationships over time through direct face-to-face interactions in local branches. As customers gravitate towards digital channels, the human element has been slowly receding from the banking experience.
In fact, a recent Gallup research study on retail banking found that just 1 in 5 customers feel emotionally connected to their primary banks. “And it’s an emotional connection that keeps customers coming back. Gallup research suggests that these emotional connectors with fully engaged customers net an additional 23% of revenue.”
Successful branch transformation initiatives will cater to customer preferences for digital channels while providing opportunities for seamless human interaction and relationship building.
Moreover, communication channels must be secure and transparent to mitigate the enormous reputational and financial harm associated with trust incidents. One recent study that examined the economic harm associated with trust incidents found that 54% of represented companies experienced a material drop in trust and as a result lost out on an estimated $180 billion in revenue.
Engaging customers through digital and human elements
Banking customers expect exceptional service with each interaction. Research shows that positive channel experiences are a prerequisite for higher customer engagement. For instance, one study compared customers who report not being “very satisfied” with all banking channels they use with those that are. Customers that report being satisfied with all channels:
- Are some 4x more likely to say they are “extremely likely” to continue to do business with their primary bank.
- Are more than 9x more likely to say they are extremely likely to use their primary bank for additional financial services.
- Are 65% more likely to have opened a new account or signed up for new bank services based on conversations with a bank employee.
For the vast majority of customers, digital channels are the first experience with the brand. Impersonal interactions that fail to create an emotional connection will contribute to the growing number of disengaged banking customers.
This excerpt is a part of our banking trends brief, Branch Transformation: Achieving Branch Transformation by Bringing Together Virtual and Physical Channels.