The vast majority of community banks think the customer service they provide is better than their competitors. In New England, 86% of Community Bank leaders rank their customer service “very good.” Only 22.7% of Community Banks were rated that high for customer service by their customers, based on 546.693 objective reviews across 4 states. That’s a big gap.
4 Steps Community Banks Can Take to Bridge the Gap
1. Identify where your community bank is not measuring up.
According to the most recent Benchmarks, the most common customer service elements where banks fall down are:
- Fail to proactively recommend solutions
- Give customers the runaround (especially among business customers)
- Staff unable to answer banking questions (a training issue)
- Treating customers like a number
- Not listening and understanding customer needs
Avoiding these pitfalls are all crucially important in retaining customers and earning their loyalty. In the four states included in our New England Banking Benchmarks – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire – 19.3% of customers say their bank can’t even answer basic banking questions. More than a quarter – 26.1% – say their bank never recommends appropriate banking products.
2. Identify areas of strength to use as your competitive advantage.
It is often hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace, but most banks have at least one area of relative advantage. It might be that your staff are better listeners, or more responsive, or better and training customers on mobile banking, etc.
3. Create a plan of action.
Using the banking benchmarks, identify where you excel or fall behind compared to key local competitors.
Example: One of our new subscribers was dismayed to learn that 19% of their own business customers say they sometimes get the runaround. But when they learned that the average was 32% among their key local competitors, they realized they actually had a competitive advantage. And they began to leverage that to gain market share.
4. Track Your Progress.
You need to make sure the progress your make resonates for your customers. You can do that through internal metrics, such as the % of staff that have completed new training modules, but you should also supplement with directly asking your customers to weigh in. After all, it does not matter if all of your staff receive cross-sell training if customers do not see the effect.
Understanding what you customers actually think about your customer service, your technology, and every other aspect of your bank will tell you where to focus your efforts and fix what is not working in the customers’ eyes. It will also help you highlight what they really love and leverage it as your competitive advantage.
As the old saying goes: Your Customers’ Perception is Your Reality.
Do you need a reality check?
New Banking Benchmarks Are Now Available
If your bank is in New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts, we are already conducting a customer experience analysis for you and each of your competitors. We would be happy to share a sample of your customer ratings and rankings with you. To request a sample or to subscribe to your banking benchmarks, contact us at email@example.com or by phone at 203-906-8923.