Customer Engagement in Banking

Today’s banking customers, especially the digital native generations, expect their lives to come with them wherever they go. That means a library of books in their Kindle app, a collection of memories in their Photos app, and up-to-the-minute financial information in their mobile banking and financial management apps. How are traditional banks and credit unions impacted by the shift to mobile banking? On the one hand, mobile banking is a more cost-efficient way to provide basic services to your customers. However, customers who bank on the go with a smartphone don’t visit physical branches as much as they used to. This can reduce your opportunity to engage them with marketing messages, cross-selling, and the kind of personal rapport that builds loyalty. Luckily, there are other ways to improve customer engagement in banking the digital age. Here are our eight favorite strategies for reaching customers where they are and making your bank indispensable to their financial lives.

1. Printed Statement Communications

Leverage printed statements to communicate with customers.

Customers who don’t opt for electronic statement delivery still receive a monthly printed statement in the mail. Are you making the most of this regular opportunity for engagement? If you’ve been taking a “just the facts” approach to statement delivery, it’s time to consider a redesign. Even people who don’t open their statement can be reached with marketing messages, offers, and branding statements on the front or back of the envelope. With PrintMail’s Statement Redesign Services, you can create a unique statement design for your bank or choose from one of our cutting-edge templates. Here are the best practices for a successful statement redesign:

  • Make it easy to read. Have you heard of the design concept of negative space? It simply means leaving some empty space between images, paragraphs, or pieces of furniture. Also known as white space, this break for the eyes results in a more aesthetically pleasing interface as well as one that is easier to read and understand. So whether you include marketing messages on the statement itself and/or the envelope, make sure you leave adequate amounts of white space between graphics, sentences, and the statement itself.
  • Make it useful. This may seem too obvious to mention, but it’s easy to forget the basic function a statement should serve. If customers get the information they need, they will be more likely to open their statements and less likely to call customer service.
  • Personalize offers for the recipient. Targeted messaging is available for select core platforms and uses raw metadata from your statements to allow PrintMail to map custom marketing images to a specific consumer segment. This level of personalization allows you to differentiate your brand and perform targeted marketing, putting your statement to work in the most efficient way possible.
  • Use color to make your design more appealing. From High Definition TV to video game graphics and the Internet, advances in technology have turned us into a visually oriented culture that judges brands on the sophistication of their imagery. Don’t project an analog image with a black-and-white-only statement. Use color to create a distinctive brand identity your customers will respond to.

2. Electronic Statement Communications

Create a user-friendly experience and targeted digital messages for eStatement customers

Just because your customers aren’t getting printed statements in the mail doesn’t mean they don’t review them. And the more user-friendly your eStatements are, the higher your conversion rate will be, which saves money on printing and mailing costs. eStatements should be easy to access and review from any mobile or desktop device. They should also have an archive function that makes it convenient to search for and find older statements. And just as your physical statements can engage customers with marketing messages and branding, eStatement customers can be reached with targeted digital ads, pop-ups, notifications, and alerts. With eStatement services from PrintMail you can create a well-designed and functional electronic statement that utilizes branding and targeted messaging to increase the success of your cross-selling services.

3. Direct Mail Communications

Utilize direct mail marketing and digital analytics

Just as well-designed print and electronic statements can increase customer engagement and marketing success, printed direct mail as well as its digital complement–personalized URLs and analytics–help you stay in touch with customers between monthly statement delivery. Use these tools for both initial onboarding and ongoing marketing campaigns. You can track the response rate to determine the overall success of a specific strategy.

Related marketing options include email newsletters and digital communications, which can contain personal URLs to track customer engagement. You can also send periodic Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to boost engagement and solicit a quick snapshot of feedback about your customers’ feelings toward your brand.

4. Mobile Banking Communications

Use mobile banking to boost personal interaction

77 percent of Americans use a smartphone and roughly half of the adult population owns a tablet, according to a 2018 report from Pew Research Center. This means that mobile banking is no longer an “extra” but an essential service. Furthermore, your customers don’t just want the option of banking on the go. They expect a mobile banking experience that is easy to use and offers convenient functions such as check deposit, account transfers, and more.

While visits to physical branches may be declining, people interact with their bank even more now that it’s at their fingertips. From depositing a birthday check to moving money into savings and checking their balance before a night out, mobile banking gives you plenty of opportunity to engage with your customers on a more personal level. For example, this companion banking application connects customers with a personal banker they can communicate with through digital messaging and video chat. The Best Financial Friend app is a perfect blend of mobile convenience and the old-fashioned human connection we still crave.

5. Personal Financial Management (PFM) Tools

Help customers manage their money with personal financial management tools (PFM)

In addition to everyday convenience, banks can leverage mobile banking as a platform to help customers track and improve their finances. Whether you create your own PFM or promote your bank’s compatibility with external PFMS like Mint, customers will respond to this much-needed help with loyalty. Better yet, you can frame your offers for different kinds of accounts and services as helpful ways for people to take control of their finances and reach personal money goals such as paying off debt.

Gone are the days of home ec lessons on check writing and the cash envelope system of budgeting and paying bills. Americans now have more financial tools and options than ever, yet our total household debt is now higher than pre-recession levels. This shows that Americans of all ages and professional backgrounds need help with budgeting, debt reduction, and everyday money management. Banks that can provide this help in a personal way will be rewarded with grateful, loyal customers.

6. Contact Center Experience

Provide a friendly, no-hassle contact center experience

What do your customers find when they click on the “Contact Us” link on your website or google “customer service number for (the name of your bank)”? If it’s not fast and easy to get a human on the phone or connect with a live chat representative, you’ve lost an important opportunity to positively impact customer engagement. As a worst-case scenario, your customers might flock to a different financial institution with better customer support.

Consider the example of cable company Comcast, once notorious for its bad service, which has invested heavily in recent years in improvements to the customer service experience. When even a giant company with a virtual monopoly on its industry feels the pressure to treat customers less like inconveniences and more like humans, how can financial institutions in the competitive banking industry compete without a similarly customer-focused approach to service? Don’t leave your customers out in the cold. A friendlier, easy-to-use customer contact experience builds customer loyalty and can make people more receptive to cross-selling and other marketing engagement efforts.

7. Live Events

Bring customers together at live events

If you’re on the email list for your state representative, you probably notice regular event offerings. From “Shred Days” to financial literacy workshops and more, local politicians try to increase voter engagement through helpful in-person events where people can meet and network with each other. Local banks can benefit from following this example. Offer live events that help people learn something new (such as a workshop for first-time homebuyers) or bring them together in beneficial ways (such as a networking event for local businesses). As with PFM tools, live events can be an extra “freebie” you offer customers. They will appreciate the useful nature of your events and associate your bank’s brand with positive concepts like community.

This idea also works in the digital space, as a complement to or replacement for in-person events. Add additional financial tools and resources on your website or mobile banking platform such as educational content, webinars, and advising. Overall, live events–whether in person or online–can establish your bank as a local expert and build customers’ loyalty with increased engagement and more personalized service.

8. Social Media Communications

Connect with your customers on social media

About 70 percent of Americans use social media. If your bank doesn’t have a presence on your customers’ favorite platforms, you’re losing the chance to connect with them in a different way than branch interactions and customer service calls permit. Why do people like social media? It can serve many purposes, from obtaining information to having fun, participating in contests, and smiling at a funny meme. Establish a brand footprint on social media that is educational, funny, and community-oriented with the promotion of local businesses, customers, and causes.

Social media is also a great place to share videos. In both posts and video content, including individuals, businesses, and organizations is a way to help the community while reaching a wider audience through reposts, likes, and shares. Videos also have the potential to go viral, and many people would rather watch a video than read a product description. Stimuli such as music, moving images, and human voices connect with people on an emotional level. Featuring bank employees from all levels in video content can humanize your brand and make customers feel more personally connected.

Partner with PrintMail Solutions

Ranked as the #1 Third Party provider nationwide for Regional Banks, Community Banks, and Credit Unions, PrintMail has a long history of innovation, customer satisfaction, and security. Our customers appreciate our laser-like focus on the banking industry and our commitment to unsurpassed security measures. Contact us today for a free quote. We’ll help you identify and implement the best strategies for improving your bank’s customer engagement.

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