8 Key Ways to Improve Customer Service in Banks – Hitachi Solutions (2023)

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Customer experience is a key — if not the key — competitive differentiator not only for the financial services industry, but across all industries. The numbers prove it:

In today’s technology-driven world, there is no shortage of opportunities for banks and credit unions to innovate and improve the customer experience, starting with customer service. You see, customer service is a vital component of a quality customer experience because it directly impacts how your customers engage with your organization. Customer service failures, such as an unpleasant interaction with a live service representative or a failure to address a customer’s pressing need, can easily become a black mark on a customer’s impression of your bank and sour the entire customer experience. To that end, it’s imperative that you not only look for ways to improve customer service in banks but to completely exceed customer service expectations.

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Let’s get started.

1. Promote Financial Literacy Through Customer Education

According to a recent study from theRaddon Research Institute, financially literate customers aremore profitablebecause “they are credit-driven and have a higher usage of depository products.” That said, most Americans overestimate their financial literacy and are aware of surprisingly few financial literary resources, which means banks are perfectly positioned to step in and educate customers on financial literacy and profit from increased patronage in the process.

There are any number of ways to structure your financial literacy program, from online educational materials made available through your mobile banking application (more on the subject of mobile banking apps later) to in-house financial advisors who can walk customers through different scenarios, such as buying their first home or saving for retirement, at branch locations. Community banks and credit unions havefound great successhosting educational workshops and fairs, getting involved in community outreach, and partnering with local schools and colleges to develop financial literacy curriculum for classrooms. This last item not only empowers younger generations to make smarter financial decisions but also comes with the added benefit of enabling banks to engage with prospective future customers. Even in our technology-driven society, customers still value face-to-face interaction, so it’s imperative to capitalize on every opportunity to engage with customers through human channels.

Developing a financial literacy program is an excellent way to improve customer service in banks; theAmerican Bankers Associationand theNational Financial Educators Councilprovide excellent primers to help you get started. If developing your own program seems too tall an order, there are plenty of pre-existing programs you can recommend to customers.

2. Become a Trusted Advisor to Small Business Customers

The 2008 economic recession has, perhaps, made some small business customers more wary of banks — after all, small businesses felt the effects of the recession more severely than large firms, with as many as170,000 small businessesshuttering between 2008 and 2010, alone.

8 Key Ways to Improve Customer Service in Banks – Hitachi Solutions (1)

Over 10 years later, those small businesses that were able to survive the financial crisis are still reeling from employee layoffs, slashed spending, and stalled plans for expansion. According to figures from theU.S. Small Business Administration, “The amount of small business loan originations plummeted by more than half during the crisis and has seen only a very limited recovery post-crisis, leaving small business loan originations down 40 percent from pre-crisis levels.”

We mention all of this to acknowledge that the way small businesses interact with banks has changed substantially. Gone are the days when a small business owner would confidently walk into their local bank in search of a loan; the small business owner of today is savvier, knows that they must be discerning, and expects to be courted by banks rather than the other way around.

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In order to earn small business owners’ trust and loyalty, your bank must transition from lender to financial advisor by offering holistic services designed to help small businesses grow. For example, you could:

8 Key Ways to Improve Customer Service in Banks – Hitachi Solutions (2)

The goal is to partner with small businesses in such a way that you’re not just a lender, but a trusted advisor that plays a key role in their long-term growth. It’s also imperative that you continue to deepen existing small business relationships to protect this segment from moving to fintech and other digital competitors, such as Amazon or Facebook. In order to do so, you’ll need to consider how small business banking interactions need to change in order to fully leverage the possibilities of new technology.

3. Make Contextual Data a Core Component of Your Customer Service Strategy

With fintech firms such asStripe,SoFi, andAvantedging in on their market share, legacy financial institutions must evolve or die — and that means embracing the strategies that made these startups successful in the first place. One thing that fintech firms do exceptionally well — which should prompt traditional banks and credit unions to take notice — is leverage contextual data. Contextual data refers to any information that provides valuable context to a person or event.

Contextual data can be used to identify behavioral patterns and causal relationships, which banks can then use to inform and enrich the customer experience. In fact, contextual data can be used to improve customer service in the banking industry by enabling financial institutions to develop custom products and services tailored to the needs of each individual customer. For example, when faced withthe challenge of collecting money from clients, Finnish-based small business digital banking startup Holvi responded by developing an electronic invoicing system that enables customers to “create professional-looking digital invoices that fill out payment details automatically and sends alerts to your phone when it gets paid, keeping you in the know at all times.”

Your most valuable source of contextual data is your customer base. You can use customer relationship management (CRM) technology to collect information on just about anything and everything customer-related, including:

  • Geographic location
  • Major milestones (e.g. graduating from college, getting married)
  • Purchasing preferences
  • Spending habits
  • Customer service history
  • Social media activity
  • And more

Learn How Hitachi Solutions Can Make Your Customer Data Work for You

Each piece of information you gather can be used to create a detailed profile that provides a 360-degree view of the customer. These profiles can then be stored within a central repository in your CRM, so employees can easily access them to make more informed decisions when fielding customer service requests, developing targeted marketing campaigns, upselling and cross-selling products, and so on (more on this later).

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4. Develop a Truly Omnichannel Customer Experience

Although it would be easy to assume that, given how attached people are to their mobile devices, banking is on a trajectory to becoming entirely digital — but the numbers say otherwise. According to Reuters,60% of Americans would still prefer to open a new checking account at a bank branchrather than through digital channels; perhaps even more encouraging is that Accenture reportsthat 86% of consumers intend to visit physical branch locations in the future, and desire face-to-face human interaction.

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That isn’t to say, of course, that banks should prioritize improving branch locations over developing a digital strategy, but rather that it’s vital to blend traditional and digital components in order to create an omnichannel customer experience. To get an idea of the touchpoints involved in this type of experience, and how it improves customer service in banking, here’s how it works:

  • Meet Alexis

As you can see, Alexis engaged with at least a dozen different touchpoints — some traditional, some digital — over the course of her customer journey. And although her story is fictional, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility: A survey of nearly 5,000 retail banking customers revealed22 unique touchpoints. It’s imperative not only that you capitalize on as many of these touchpoints as possible to create a truly omnichannel experience, but also that you deliver exceptional customer experience every step of the way.

5. Provide Customers With Self-Service Opportunities

Customers: They’re doing it for themselves. Consumer self-service has become a booming trend across all industries, with74% of customersreporting that they’ve used a self-service support portal in the past;another 81%reported that they’ve attempted to resolve issues on their own before contacting a live service representative.

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Despite it being a clear competitive differentiator, the financial services industry has been slower than others to implement self-service capabilities and best practices. As a result, many institutions are missing out on valuable opportunities to reduce call center volume, provide 24/7 support, and improve overall customer service in banking. How, then, can your organization take advantage of this growing trend?

The answer to that question lies in your mobile banking app. In a world in which everyone seems practically glued to their smartphone, the benefits of mobile banking aren’t lost on banks and credit unions. In fact, you’d behard-pressedto find an institution that hasn’t developed its own branded mobile functionality. But just because mobile banking has become ubiquitous doesn’t mean that all banks are leveraging their applications as effectively as possible.

There are a few things you can do to take your mobile banking experience to the next level and turn your app into a one-stop self-service shop:

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6. Set Your Employees up for Success

As prevalent as self-service has become, there will always be a place for live service representatives and a value for human interaction. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to ensure that each interaction is as positive as possible and contributes to an exceptional customer experience by equipping your frontline staff with the tools they need to succeed.

First and foremost, it’s imperative that you invest in comprehensive training. If that seems like an obvious piece of advice, that’s because it is — but it’s still worth mentioning because banking industry training techniques are rapidly evolving. From virtual simulations to gamification, technologysits at the forefront of employee trainingand ongoing education.

From there, the next step is to build an internal knowledge base that employees can refer to when they encounter questions they don’t know the answers to. This knowledge base should serve as a centralized repository for everything from policies and procedures to relevant industry regulations and should be well-organized and easy to navigate to prevent customers from waiting on answers any longer than is necessary. Be sure to regularly update your knowledge base so that it includes only the most accurate and relevant material.

The final key to empowering your employees (and one of the most valuable ways to improve customer service in banks) is to invest in the latest front-end and back-office banking technology. From a CRM solution that uses data-driven insights to provide a 360-degree view of the customer to security systems that leverage predictive analytics for fraud prevention and protection, a strong solutions ecosystem can be a real asset to your staff. Most importantly, be sure to integrate these systems so they have access to the same data, and so your service representatives don’t have to jump from one system to another when they field customer requests.

7. Solicit Customer Feedback Whenever Possible

No one knows your customers better than your customers, themselves. After all, the information stored inside your bank’s CRM can tell you all about who a customer is, and predictive analytics can make an educated guess about what they might do — but technology, no matter how innovative, can’t tell you what’s going on inside a customer’s head. It only makes sense, then, to tap into the invaluable resource that is your customer base by asking them for regular feedback; in doing so, you can gain insight into whether their needs are being sufficiently met, what products or services they’re interested in, what their goals for the future are, how their experience can be improved, and more.

There are any number of ways to solicit customer feedback, but the most practical approach is to establish check-ins across all touchpoints. For example, if a customer were to contact your bank’s call center with a service request, the representative responsible for processing that request might close out the call by asking whether the customer had any additional questions and whether they were satisfied with the service they received. Or, you might program a pop-up featuring a brief (think two to three questions) customer service survey to appear on your website after a customer has completed a transaction. Each piece of data you’re able to collect adds to the rich tapestry that is your customer base and can help your organization make more informed decisions that enhance the customer experience.

8. Be Flexible and Open to Change

The financial services landscape is in a constant state of flux, with new trends emerging every day. In order to ensure that your organization delivers the best customer experience possible, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and remain flexible to change — that means constantly looking for ways to improve, keeping your solution ecosystem integrated and current, and embracingdigital transformation. By listening to your customers, keeping an open mind, and making smart investments, you can guarantee exceptional customer service at your bank.

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Speaking of smart investments, partnering with Hitachi Solutions is one of the smartest you can make. In addition to providingintelligent solutions built on the Microsoft platformanddata science expertise, we have the acumen to help you empower employees, optimize operations, transform your products, and reimagine the customer experience. And with decades of experience working with organizations in the financial services industry, we’re well-equipped to help you rise to any challenge.

For more information on how to improve customer service in banks or about what Hitachi Solutions has to offer,contact us today.

FAQs

How can bank customer service be improved? ›

Customer Service in Banking: 6 Actionable Ways to Improve
  • The importance of customer service in banking and financial services.
  • Gather data from your existing customers.
  • Map out your customer journey.
  • Measure and monitor current customer satisfaction.
  • Analyse your data (and determine satisfaction drivers)

How do you improve customer service answer? ›

How to Improve Customer Service
  1. Understand customer needs. ...
  2. Seek and promote customer feedback. ...
  3. Set and communicate clear service standards. ...
  4. Delight your customers by exceeding their expectations. ...
  5. Capture and share examples of great service. ...
  6. Create easy and effortless customer service. ...
  7. Personalise your customer service.

How can I improve my bank? ›

5 focus areas to improve banking profitability
  1. Modernization. Streamlined, parallel, and automated processes can help organizations push past stymied success. ...
  2. Risk reevaluation. All risk can't be eliminated, but organizations can control how tightly they manage it. ...
  3. Data and reporting. ...
  4. Channel optimization. ...
  5. Human capital.
8 Dec 2021

What is the importance of customer service in banks? ›

Customer service is the most important duty of the banking operations. Prompt and efficient service with smile will develop good public relations reduce complaints and increase business.

What are the key areas of customer service? ›

5 key elements of excellent customer service
  • Patience. Whether you are dealing with distressed customers or perhaps customers who are letting out their anger, it is important not to fold under the pressure. ...
  • Engage. Show an interest in your customers by engaging with them. ...
  • Knowledge. ...
  • Honesty. ...
  • Respect.

What are the duties of a banker to a customer? ›

And some of banks responsibilities to their customers are: to pay cheques to their customers banks receive money from their customers, banks gives reasonable notice before closing credit account of a customers. All this has made baking operation to be well structure and service oriented.

How can banking efficiency be improved? ›

This guide will show you 5 strategies to improve bank operating efficiency including focusing on cost-effective channels and increasing employee productivity.
  1. Business Realignment. ...
  2. Channel Optimization. ...
  3. Process Costs. ...
  4. Technology And Automation. ...
  5. Staff Productivity- Build A Culture That Values Efficiency.

How can banks reduce customer complaints? ›

1. Strategies to allow customers to complain and reduce customer complaint barriers.
  1. Be open and available to listen to your customers. ...
  2. Respond to customer complaints and respond fast.
  3. Reward customers for complaining. ...
  4. Use technology. ...
  5. Use Social media to communicate with your customers.

What is excellent customer service examples? ›

What are some examples good customer service?
  • The store owner who remembers — and appreciates — repeat customers. ...
  • The online merchant that sends personalized video message to each new customer. ...
  • The online store that proactively addresses shipping issues. ...
  • The associate who comes up with the perfect greeting.
26 Jul 2021

How do you handle customers? ›

10 Tips for Dealing with Customers
  1. 10 Tips for Dealing with Customers.
  2. Listen to Customers. Sometimes, customers just need to know that you're listening. ...
  3. Apologize. When something goes wrong, apologize. ...
  4. Take Them Seriously. ...
  5. Stay Calm. ...
  6. Identify and Anticipate Needs. ...
  7. Suggest Solutions. ...
  8. Appreciate the Power of “Yes”

How do you handle a difficult customer in banking? ›

How to deal with difficult customers
  1. How to deal with a difficult customer. ...
  2. Get in the right mind-set. ...
  3. Listen carefully. ...
  4. Be polite and calm. ...
  5. Find an immediate solution. ...
  6. Go the extra mile. ...
  7. Follow up. ...
  8. Avoiding customer complaints.

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

What are the 10 tips of customer care? ›

10 Tips for Good Customer Service
  • Provide multiple ways for your customers to get in touch with you. ...
  • Acknowledge that you've received their request. ...
  • Solve customer problems immediately. ...
  • Don't be afraid to over-communicate with customers. ...
  • Go above and beyond customer expectations.

What are the 5 qualities of customer service? ›

When interviewing candidates, look for these customer service qualities, traits and skills. Look for someone who is communicative, persuasive, is polite, patient, conscientious, and loyal.

What are 3 benefits of good customer service? ›

Five benefits of good customer service
  • Customer loyalty. Loyal customers have many benefits for businesses. ...
  • Increase profits. These long-term customer relationships established through customer service can help businesses become more profitable. ...
  • Customer recommendations. ...
  • Increase conversion. ...
  • Improve public image.
28 May 2021

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What is customer service at a bank? ›

Customer service representatives who work for banks answer customer questions about basic banking services, such as account balances and interest rates and fees. They also help customers protect their accounts by reviewing suspicious activity, reversing transactions and reissuing compromised debit and credit cards.

What is quality customer service? ›

Quality customer service involves providing efficient, quick, and friendly service to customers as well as building strong relationships with them. It also entails responding to customers' issues in time and handling any complaints swiftly.

What are the 6 key elements of customer service? ›

6 Key Elements to Include in Your Customer Service Strategy
  • A Company-Wide Mission.
  • A Recruitment Process to Hire The Right People.
  • A Commitment to Ongoing Training.
  • A Customer Service Policy.
  • A Focus on Empowering Your Team.
  • An Effective Feedback Loop.
17 Apr 2020

What are the 4 most important customer service elements? ›

The 4 most important elements of excellent customer service
  • Respond in a timely manner. ...
  • Respond knowledgeably. ...
  • Communicate with customers where they are. ...
  • Streamline your process.
17 Apr 2020

What are the types of customers in bank? ›

6 Important types of Bank deposit customers
  • Individuals. Non-resident individuals (NRIs) Various Types of NRI Accounts.
  • Joint Hindu Family (JHF):
  • Partnership firms.
  • Joint stock companies (Limited Liability Companies)
  • Clubs, Societies and Associations.
  • Trust Account:

Which is the most important relationship between banker and customer? ›

The primary relationship between a banker and his customer is a debtor and a creditor or vice versa.

What are the qualities of a banker? ›

“A banker needs to have good judgment, service orientation and the ability to cope well under stressful circumstances. Organizational skills, time management and a strong work ethic are also essential for this job.”

What makes a bank successful? ›

These include return on assets, equity capital and deposit funding as well as strategy, culture, customer satisfaction and management experience.

How can I improve my branch performance? ›

Key Branch Performance Metrics
  1. Wait time. ...
  2. Assist time. ...
  3. Service-product ratio. ...
  4. Install self-directed technology. ...
  5. Employ service alerts. ...
  6. Steer lobby traffic for routine transactions to other channels. ...
  7. Recognize and minimize privacy concerns. ...
  8. Enhance cross-sell systems and training.
3 May 2016

What is efficiency in banking? ›

The bank efficiency ratio is a key performance metric used to assess a bank's profitability. It is calculated by dividing a bank's operating expenses by its total income and is therefore also referred to as a bank's “Cost to Income Ratio”.

How do you deliver an excellent customer service? ›

  1. Know your product. As a customer support agent, you spend all day troubleshooting for customers, and that means you need to be a product expert. ...
  2. Maintain a positive attitude. ...
  3. Creatively problem-solve. ...
  4. Respond quickly. ...
  5. Personalize your service. ...
  6. Help customers help themselves. ...
  7. Focus support on the customer. ...
  8. Actively listen.
31 Aug 2022

What are the 5 steps to handling a customer complaint? ›

A 5-step process for handling customer complaints
  1. Step 1: Dig deeper by asking the right questions. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify the type of customer you're dealing with. ...
  3. Step 3: Respond to the customer quickly. ...
  4. Step 4: Present a solution, and verify that the problem is solved. ...
  5. Step 5: Log the complaint so you can track trends.
2 Jun 2022

How can banking operations be improved? ›

Reduce Process Costs & Redesign the Process

The goal is to enhance the bank's efficiency ratio by reducing the unit cost-to-value ratio of every activity.

How can banks reduce customer complaints? ›

1. Strategies to allow customers to complain and reduce customer complaint barriers.
  1. Be open and available to listen to your customers. ...
  2. Respond to customer complaints and respond fast.
  3. Reward customers for complaining. ...
  4. Use technology. ...
  5. Use Social media to communicate with your customers.

What are the problems faced by bank customers? ›

10 Most Common Bank Customer Complaints
  • Excessive/hidden fees.
  • Checks/funds bouncing.
  • Most expensive debits charged first.
  • Loyalty means nothing.
  • Mortgage/loan issues.
  • Huge errors/mistakes.
  • Failing to honor their promises.
4 Oct 2022

How can bank branch improve performance? ›

How to Improve Bank Branch Performance & Streamline Branch Operations Processes
  1. Improving staff mobility and accountholder convenience.
  2. Empowering contact center agents to provide high quality service.
  3. Optimizing your core and complementary solutions to enhance accountholder service, convenience, and loyalty.

What is the role of customer service executive in bank? ›

Detailed Responsibilities

To work for providing first class service experience to existing customers and take references for acquiring new quality customers. To generate fee revenue for the Bank with the help of Insurance, Mutual fund, Trade finance business, etc.

What do bank customers want? ›

Your customers want easy access to mobile and online banking tools. They want to be able to manage their accounts, discover new products, and access banking services conveniently from anywhere. But they also still need convenient access to ATMs and branches.

How do banks retain customers? ›

Examples of service-focused customer retention strategies for banks include staying connected post-sales, offering VIP programs, using AI and chatbots to deliver digital banking support, and — simple as this sounds — acknowledging customers by name and making them feel heard at all times.

How do you deliver an excellent customer service? ›

  1. Know your product. As a customer support agent, you spend all day troubleshooting for customers, and that means you need to be a product expert. ...
  2. Maintain a positive attitude. ...
  3. Creatively problem-solve. ...
  4. Respond quickly. ...
  5. Personalize your service. ...
  6. Help customers help themselves. ...
  7. Focus support on the customer. ...
  8. Actively listen.
31 Aug 2022

What are the top 10 customer complaints? ›

10 common customer complaints
  • Product is out of stock. ...
  • Broken/defective product. ...
  • Product doesn't meet expectations. ...
  • Preferred payment not accepted. ...
  • Long hold times. ...
  • Disinterested customer service. ...
  • Having to restate the issue. ...
  • Issue not resolved on first call.
5 May 2022

How do you handle a difficult customer in banking? ›

How to deal with difficult customers
  1. How to deal with a difficult customer. ...
  2. Get in the right mind-set. ...
  3. Listen carefully. ...
  4. Be polite and calm. ...
  5. Find an immediate solution. ...
  6. Go the extra mile. ...
  7. Follow up. ...
  8. Avoiding customer complaints.

How do you handle customer complaints examples? ›

Complaints handling procedure
  1. Listen to the complaint. Thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. ...
  2. Record details of the complaint. ...
  3. Get all the facts. ...
  4. Discuss options for fixing the problem. ...
  5. Act quickly. ...
  6. Keep your promises. ...
  7. Follow up.

What is the biggest problem in banking? ›

Security Breaches

With a series of high-profile breaches over the past few years, security is one of the leading banking industry challenges, as well as a major concern for bank and credit union customers.

What is efficiency in banking? ›

The bank efficiency ratio is a key performance metric used to assess a bank's profitability. It is calculated by dividing a bank's operating expenses by its total income and is therefore also referred to as a bank's “Cost to Income Ratio”.

What is an action plan in banking? ›

The action plan defines specifically what needs to be done, by whom and by when, to ensure that the strategies necessary to accomplish the goals are achieved. This is critical to ensuring the plan gets implemented and that appropriate attention is given to ongoing follow-through.

How can a bank improve its efficiency ratio? ›

Banks can improve (lower) their efficiency ratio through some combination of decreased spending and improved returns on their investments. The trick is to find the right balance of these for the bank to effectively leverage its resources toward growth.

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