Harris Poll Infographic

3 Things the Financial Services Industry Should Do Now

Watch out financial services industry! Change is in the air, and if you're not adapting to this shift in the industry, you might be left behind. Over the past two decades, the financial services industry has witnessed a number of transformative events including the rising popularity of online banking, increasing levels of technological advancement, and increasing levels of government regulation. Banking isn't what it was when I was a branch teller over two decades ago.

It is the next big change, however, that will dwarf all of these. Naturally, some financial institutions will adapt and others will not. The Customer Experience – the combined set of processes and business interactions that define how a customer does conducts business. Companies that get it will thrive and those that don't will die a painful death.

Ernst and Young recently did a comprehensive survey of 32,000 retail banking customers across 43 countries. They found that customers expect superior customer experiences with "the way I am treated" ranking as the second behind only “financial stability” as the most important reason for trusting their bank. The survey also indicated that poor customer experience is the most common reason for closing accounts – even more so than fees, rates, locations, and convenience.

So, what's the focus? How do you ensure a superior customer experience? The answer is to optimize each and every touch-point for the customer, from marketing to sales, support, and throughout the customer journey. Unfortunately, it's difficult for most companies to optimize every touch-point, so here are three areas to help you get started based on information from the E&Y survey:

Empower Employees: Allow employees to solve customer problems by providing them with the right tools and resources. Empower Customers: Provide customers with easy ways to raise issues by removing roadblocks. Leverage Technology: Continue to evolve your technology assets leveraging best of breed tools for self-service, the contact center, and the web.

By focusing on the customer experience, companies can focus on key call center metrics, improve customer retention, and ensure repeat business for years to come.