“Value” in Financial Services Is Evolving: Here’s What It Means for Brand Loyalty

For financial service customers, “value” is no longer limited to low rates and special offers. Customers are now thinking beyond incentives associating value with time-efficient experiences that help them better navigate their financial life. Brand interactions that add utility are gaining popularity, whether sending customers text alerts when their credit card payment is due or offering a mobile app to pay the babysitter when they’re short on cash. But how can brands ensure that they’re transcending invest-and-earn models and providing customers real value, which lead to strong PFI relationships? Here are a few ways to embrace efficiency and design strategic initiatives that support brand loyalty.

Know your audience

To provide real value, brands must understand customers and their specific preferences. Some remain deal-oriented, primarily seeking savings. Others trust brands that recognize their individuality with personalized initiatives. Financial institutions can survey their customer base to determine how they interpret value, whether it’s knowing their individual banking preferences—like online or in branch—or matching the appropriate products and services to each customer’s life stage events. Ultimately, the most impactful brands are those that understand their audience, and then implement dynamic offerings that appeal to their customer profiles.

Make loyalty meaningful

Be sure your loyalty model is not solely centered on transactional experiences and make convenience a top priority across the customer journey. For example, your brand might enhance customer service by adding a live chat feature to alleviate "hold button" friction, or enhance brand relevance through a rewards program that customers will actually redeem. Bolstering customer relationships should be a focus at all levels of the brand relationship-building experience, as each interaction is an opportunity to provide value and, in turn, drive loyalty. 

Fine-tune your model

Convenience is king; however, figuring out how to best offer utility may take some trial and error. After surveying customers, don’t be afraid to try new loyalty strategies to determine which resonates most. One way to experiment is through shorter promotion-based campaigns that make customers’ lives a little easier. For example, you might run a promotion offering a switching incentive, like starter funds for opening an account or double points for a new credit card. Or, design a campaign that leverages customers’ banking history, offering concierge service for individuals meeting a certain deposit level. If your customers respond positively to such initiatives, consider folding these perks into your overall strategy. In the end, financial customers—or any customers!—are most loyal to brands that support their lifestyle. In order to provide value, brands must get to know their audience and use this understanding to meet customer needs in their daily life, ultimately ushering a new era of brand loyalty.

Vice President, Client Engagement

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