89% of consumers feel that a personalized experience with their financial institution is important. Yet 94% of institutions are unable to deliver on this promise.

Developing marketing programs and then trying to sell them – without understanding your customers first – is like looking through the wrong end of the telescope.  Smart financial institutions turn the telescope around and take an approach which focuses everything they do on the customer.  This helps develop the attitudes, programs, and services necessary to acquire and retain a loyal customer base that drives maximum revenue for your business.

So, what exactly can you do to develop this customer-centric approach?  You may be surprised to learn that there are many tactics you can do starting today.  Here are five immediate changes you can make that will provide maximum return on your investment:

  1. Make a customer-focused strategy part of your culture – Wal-Mart employees greet customers as they walk through the door, essentially thanking them in advance for their business. They learned a long time ago that a customer-centric approach works.  One of the most important methods to increasing customer engagement at your financial institution is to make that strategy part of your corporate culture.  For this to succeed, you need to make a top-down commitment to changing old ways and adopting new customer-centric methodologies.   The leadership team at your FI must lead by example – and spread the word down and across the organization.  Once your entire organization puts the customer first, you’ll quickly build trust with your customers.
  2. Understand your customers – What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customers? The better question to ask is what kind of relationship will lead to helping them the most – and deepen your relationship with them?  The truth is that you must give customers what they want and need to get maximum participation from them.  And studies have shown that what they want is a friend that understands them, that listens to them, that doesn’t judge them, and that helps them in times of need.  You can be that friend simply by understanding your customers and providing them with services and programs that are relevant to their lives and lifestyles – throughout their journey.
  3. Leverage data to provide personalized services– You probably already have the data you need to start personalizing your programs for specific segments in your customer base.  But how do you start understanding your data and, in turn, your customer?  Data analytics is one tool that will allow you to dive into that impossibly large pool of data and emerge with the insights you need to develop personalized services and programs.  Data analytics also makes it possible to get the most return on even the smallest investments.
  4. Take advantage of fintech solutions — Leveraging emerging technologies is essential to remaining competitive in the financial services industry.  There are a number of new technologies that can have a profound impact on your business. Some are more expensive than others, of course, and have varying degrees of ROI.  Today’s marketing and fintech solutions have remarkable capabilities, that are surprisingly easy to implement, learn and use.  Solutions that leverage machine learning and AI, predictive analytics, cloud-based sales and service automation, chat bots, etc.  All of these, and more, can help you deliver personalized programs and services to your customers, and all of them can have a significant impact on your programs and bottom line.
  5. Take action – There is no time like the present to get started on a new customer-centric approach. So set goals, practice basic blocking and tackling, and take productive steps forward today – don’t wait until tomorrow to get started.   Understand your organization and how you fit into the current marketplace.  Set reasonable goals for growth and ROI, and leverage your huge pools of data to find the customers that best fit your business model.  Start small and grow your programs as you start to experience success.  In other words, just go for it.