According to Forrester, customer advocacy is a customer’s ‘perception that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for the firm’s own bottom line’, and it’s quickly becoming the most sustainable driver of customer loyalty in today’s constantly changing business landscape.
As digital transformation continues to shake financial companies to their core, it’s increasingly imperative that corporate digital strategies reflect a strong investment in customers. This means it’s the duty of these businesses to clearly demonstrate how much they value their customers – in turn differentiating themselves in a competitive market.
With this in mind, financial services and wealth management firms are one of the most powerful contenders in this field. They perform particularly well by focusing on transparency and going above and beyond to build trust amongst their clients.
Below we discuss some practical ways to use customer advocacy to enhance customer experience and increase customer loyalty and future purchase intent as a result.
Merging the human and the digital
Not a day goes by in which we aren’t reminded of the immensely digital world we live in. Be it blockchain, artificial intelligence or machine learning, recent and rapid advances in technology affect almost every aspect of our daily lives.
However, despite this, consumers still long for natural and fluid experiences when interacting with brands – as if they were talking to a human. Therefore, the key to mastering customer advocacy is integrating digital and human capabilities, so that customers receive an efficient service while retaining that all-important human touch.
Research by Gartner predicts that within the next couple of years, 47% of organisations will use chatbots for customer care and 40% will deploy virtual assistants.
Still, when more complex problems arise, specialised customer service agents should always be on call.
On the more technical side of things, some banks and credit unions hope to create their own voice-controlled and intelligent personal assistants with distinctive ‘personalities’ that reflect their brand. This includes idiosyncratic voices (like Alexa and Siri), along with unique ways of dealing with queries and requests. Forrester also points out that this saves advisors from wasting time on repetitive, low-value tasks – meaning they can direct their expertise towards more pressing issues.
Multichannel to omnichannel
Customers want to feel like a firm’s top priority, and after all, they should be. This means being able to engage with a brand whenever, wherever and however they would like – selecting their own buying journey depending on their individual wants and needs. In essence, customers need options.
Omnichannel customer service technology makes interactions and buying quick, easy and convenient – giving consumers a choice between multiple connected channels, such as online, offline, social media and in-store. This can be a daunting task without an efficient and effective CRM, which integrates business units and data sources to give companies a holistic view of the customer journey. With this revolutionary technology, businesses are equipped to provide a more seamless customer experience.
Ever since the financial crisis, trust in financial firms has been a slow burner. Even today, many people feel frustrated and apathetic towards financial service firms. It has therefore never been more important for companies to be open and honest about their processes – especially when it comes to customer data.
After all, 80% of consumers are more loyal to companies with ‘good ethics’.
This requires letting customers know why their data is collected and how it’s used, as well as offering clients the option to have their information erased altogether. For example, at Chase, customers control how the bank uses their data, and can even opt-out of marketing offers. Another crucial component of building trust through transparency is collecting customer feedback. When customers feel like their voices are being heard, they believe that the company has their best interests at heart.
Show that you care
In order to stay ahead of the game, companies need to prove to their customers that their needs, expectations and perceptions are their top concern. A customer-centric approach may involve a lot of investment but will generate worthwhile results in the shape of lifelong customer loyalty; increased purchases; and ultimately, a boost in revenue.
Walker predicts that by the end of 2020, customer experience is set to be the key brand differentiator, surpassing both price and product.
Using its 15 years of experience as digital strategy consultants and CRM experts, redk supports companies looking to enhance efficiency and profitability through world-class tools that optimise sales performance across organisations. Talk to us to make sure you’re delivering the best experience to your customers.