Trust-driven financial marketing strategies that go beyond transactional relationships to strengthen customer engagement, loyalty and retention.
- Consumers say trustworthiness is the most important factor when choosing a financial institution.
- Banks can grow trust by focusing on building stronger emotional connections versus transaction-only, product-based relationships.
- A financial institution’s ability to help customers meet or make progress toward their financial goals is a top driver of trust in banking.
- Providing customers with content that addresses those goals, as well as other financial concerns, then offers solutions is an effective way to build trust.
- Using data to personalize messaging and make relevant recommendations is another way to earn customer trust in banking.
What’s the secret to winning the battle for customer retention in banking? One word: Trust. Research shows that the more customers trust their financial institution the more likely they are to remain loyal, hold more products and keep accounts open longer.
Recent statistics also show that:
- Trustworthiness is consumers’ most important factor when choosing a financial institution.1
- Trust is the number one reason consumers say they remain loyal to their primary financial institution.2
- Top drivers of financial trust include3 …
- confidence that their financial institution will protect their personal data
- the availability of quality products and services
- the financial institution’s ability to help the customer meet or make progress toward their financial goals
How do banks improve customer relationships? Get emotional.
If you want your customers to engage more with your financial products and services, keep the focus on gaining their trust by building stronger emotional connections versus transaction-only, product-based relationships. A major part of this mindset is understanding that a consumer’s relationship with their finances is often an emotional one. Finances are tied to a range of feelings, from joy over a raise to frustration over a high bill to anxiety over an unexpected expense.
More specifically, many consumers today are concerned about how the economy is impacting their finances. Unlike previous generations — who lived through the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, and some even the Great Depression — many Gen Z consumers have never experienced an economy like this one, which can cause even more stress to this demographic.
Your financial institution can view the emotional connection to finances as an opportunity to show customers you understand their feelings and to present solutions that help them gain financial peace of mind. By creating relevant, engaging experiences with every interaction, customers will feel like their financial interests and needs are being taken care of — and they’ll want to stick with your brand.
Eight Ways to Grow and Keep Trust in Banking
Bank customer relationship marketing that supports emotional connections and builds trust hinges on a shift from focusing on pushing products to offering solutions. By incorporating these eight financial marketing strategies into your organization’s overall customer engagement and retention plan, you can move in that direction — and provide more value to your customers, gaining their trust and loyalty.
1: Listen to your customers.
Gain critical insights about your customers’ goals and their finance-related emotions through surveys, interviews and encouraging customer-facing employees to ask for input. Then create behavior personas based on those goals and attitudes to give you a better understanding of your customers’ needs, concerns and even their decision-making process. For example, how does a customer realize it’s time to replace their roof, are they stressed trying to find a borrowing option or are they confused about home equity? Once you have these insights, you can offer solutions and make recommendations that support their needs and calm emotional triggers.
2: Provide content that offers helpful solutions.
Go beyond sales messages by creating and distributing relevant value-added content that addresses customer challenges and helps them make better financial decisions and progress toward their goals. Educational content on personal finance topics like, “How to Improve Your Credit Score” or “How much insurance do I need?” improves financial literacy, positions your organization as a helpful resource and builds trust.
Consider adding a content resource library to your website, organized by topic categories. You can also gain trust by delivering content that’s specific to your customers’ needs. Not sure what they want? Include a preference center on your website that asks customers if they want to receive your content — on what topics, how often and through which channels.
3: Offer tools to help customers succeed financially.
According to a J.D. Power survey, consumers value personalized tools, with 46% saying they want personalized help to avoid fees and 37% favoring account alerts.4 In addition to alerts and recommendations, include helpful self-service tools on your website, mobile app and in-branch-kiosks — like calculators that show how long it will take to pay off a loan, budgeting tools, even short educational learning modules on personal finance topics like saving and budgeting.
The more you can help customers manage their money in ways that are relevant to them, the more you increase opportunities for engagement and interactions that push beyond routine transactional relationships.
4: Be strategic with customer data.
Customers already expect personalized communication and recommendations from their banks, but 60% also want personalized financial advice.4 Show them you know them by using your data in ways that foster trust and loyalty.
For example, help customers make smarter financial decisions by using transactional, behavioral and demographic data to create solutions. Each communication a customer receives from you should move them forward on their financial wellness journey. Ensure that every piece of communication you send provides value, is customer-focused and feels like a one-on-one message.
Case Study: Lifestyle Segmentation Lifts Wells Fargo HELOC Utilization
For this HELOC utilization campaign, we integrated lifestyle segmentation into a direct mail letter to drive more targeted messaging. Based on lifestyle and demographic characteristics, we identified triggers that would be more likely to induce a customer to consider using their HELOC. We then wrote targeted value-added content around each trigger, so customers in each segment received information on a HELOC use that was most relevant to their needs and interests.
The results were impressive: Customers who received lifestyle targeted direct mail and newsletters had an average 23.3% higher check amount than those that got the generic direct mail.
5: Prioritize transparency.
Consumers are increasingly sensitive to data security and privacy. So, another way to increase trust in banking is to communicate clearly and honestly about how you use customers’ personal data, how you protect it and what you’re doing to keep their financial accounts secure. In addition, be transparent about fees, account updates and security issues.
6: Be consistent.
As branch visits decrease and digital banking increases, it’s more important than ever to provide customers with a seamless and reliable brand experience no matter how, where and when they choose to interact with your brand. Strengthen those customer connections by ensuring that navigating your site across all channels and platforms is fast, easy and convenient, every time.
7: Double down on customer service.
Make it easy for customers to find answers to their questions both online (with website FAQs or a chatbot, for instance) and by accessing a live person in-branch or by phone. While most issues can likely be resolved online, some people have digital versus in-person preferences. A customer who is having difficulty using the banking app might prefer speaking to a human to resolve the issue. A balance of digital and human support sends the message to your customers that you care and you’re there for them when they need you.
8: Share your values.
Build stronger emotional connections with customers by showing the human side of your financial institution. Share your brand values and the causes your brand supports. Walk the talk — and grow trust — by showing how you support the communities you serve and highlighting events that you sponsor and that your staff and customers take part in.
Trust in Banking: A Key Strategic Opportunity
Customers who trust their banks will see their banks as a valuable partner in their financial lives.
However, it’s no secret that bank operations tend to be more siloed compared to other industries. That makes it imperative for all departments within the organization to focus their financial marketing strategies on growing customer trust. And those strategies, built more on relationships than simply transactions, will drive long-term customer loyalty, retention and profits.
Helping our clients grow trust, loyalty and long-term profitable customer relationships is at the heart of what we do at CCG. As a full-service financial marketing agency, our experienced team provides financial marketing services and solutions for financial institutions across North America. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you. Click below or call us at 303.986.3000.
1 “Financial & Professional Services: Reshaping the Future,” Gibbs & Soell, Inc., published 2021, https://f.hubspotusercontent10.net/hubfs/6898861/Reshaping%20the%20Future/Downloads/5151_GS-Financial-Services-Report%20(1).pdf, accessed Nov. 1, 2022
2 “Ease of Switching in Fintech Era Jeopardizes Loyalty to Banks,” Craig Guillot, The Financial Brand, published Feb. 15, 2022, https://thefinancialbrand.com/news/fintech-banking/ease-of-switching-in-fintech-era-jeopardizes-loyalty-to-banks-130382/, accessed Nov. 1, 2022
3 “How Financial Institutions Can Win the Battle for Trust,” Nikhil Lele, Rob Mannamery, EY, posted June 11, 2021, https://www.ey.com/en_us/nextwave-financial-services/how-financial-institutions-can-win-the-battle-for-trust, accessed Nov. 1, 2022
4 “Why Banks Must Change Their Approach to Financial Wellness,” Doug Brown, The Financial Brand, published Sept. 23, 2022, https://thefinancialbrand.com/news/financial-education/why-banks-must-change-their-approach-to-financial-wellness-153192/, accessed Nov. 14, 2022