• August
    06
    2020
  • 9 min read

Customer Retention Strategies in the Banking Industry

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Customer retention strategies in the banking industry has taken a major technological leap in the last 5 years.

Where once an in-person meeting was the best way to reach clients and engage, today bank’s understand that their users don’t really want to come in person and prefer to do everything on a mobile app or online.

While you think banks will be slow to adopt, they have come a long way.

Thanks to technology, businesses are no longer restricted to the geographic constraints of a brick and mortar and are shifting to an online-only establishment, which has the potential for a wider audience reach.

In the financial sector, banking in particular has become increasingly competitive. Banks are competing with not only each other but with non-banks and other financial institutions as well.

Services like taking out a loan, opening investment accounts, and refinancing are now offered by a wide variety of online lending institutions and not just large banking institutions.

These emerging third-party financial companies are offering most of the products and services of a traditional bank but with the added convenience of conducting everything online.

Additionally, these businesses often make it easier to obtain loans for those who may not have the best credit, unlike banks that can have stricter requirements.

So how do you compete in the banking industry and what are the best strategies for customer retention in today’s digital age?

Customer Retention Strategies in the Banking Industry

A Mobile App Approach: The Benefits

In the United States, 90% of users use mobile banking apps to check their accounts, 79% to view their transactions, 59% to pay bills, and 57% to make transfers—according to Statista

Mobile apps, especially in the banking industry, are designed to be easy to use, intuitive, and convenient. Time is money and people are less inclined to visit a physical brick and mortar branch to get simple transactions done.

Here are the primary reasons why banks can benefit from using mobile apps:

Brings down costs

Allowing customers to seamlessly make transactions on a mobile app rather than in-person can increase a bank’s overall efficiency in several ways, including:

  • It helps banks be more environmentally friendly by going paperless
  • It saves money on printing and delivery 
  • It reduces the need to hire additional employees
  • Mobile transactions are cheaper than ATM transactions
  • It saves on the day-to-day operational costs that come with running a brick and mortar branch

Higher return on investment (ROI)

Studies on mobile banking have long shown that it has a significant impact on customer engagement and ROI.

The convenience and ease of mobile banking keep users more engaged with both the brand and services, with mobile customers completing transactions much more frequently. This also helps retain customers for much longer.

When comparing mobile banking with branch-only customers, there is a greater decrease in customers over time with branch-only services.

Better customer experience

A major component in the success of any business is the ability to create a positive customer experience. Customers prefer mobile banking for the following reasons:

  • More availability: Unlike visiting a branch which is limited to working hours, customers can use a bank’s mobile app 24/7 to view their accounts, deposit checks, and more.
  • Immediate services: Another reason why customers prefer mobile banking is due to the instant fulfillment of their needs, which helps keep them loyal to their bank.
  • Personalization: Providing customers with a mobile app gives banks the opportunity to personalize the experience, which is something all apps and businesses understand the importance of. By collecting information about your customers, including their behaviors and preferences, you can build trust through personalization.
  • More control: Through mobile banking, customers have the ability to monitor their finances, like checking their balances, getting alerts, and more much which helps them feel empowered. And who doesn’t want to feel empowered when it comes to their finances?

Mobile Apps are Secure

There’s always some level of risk when it comes to online and mobile banking, but the industry has improvised security measures over the years, particularly with mobile apps, making them even more secure than their online website counterpart.

If you’ve ever used a mobile banking app, you’ll notice the use of biometric solutions like retina scans and fingerprints to safely login users in addition to standard passwords. 

Additionally, banks maximize security by encrypting data to ensure customers have a safe and protected mobile banking experience.

Gather more data

Another key benefit to mobile banking is that it allows you to collect more information about user behaviors and view analyzable metrics, like when they click on something or use a specific feature.

Metrics are important to have because it helps you understand how users are interacting with your app. This valuable data helps banks continue to improve their services and user experience.

Customer Retention Strategies in the Banking Industry

Push notifications help retain users

App alerts like push and in-app notifications are becoming the new way banks are communicating with their customers.

Banks can notify it’s customers of new features, products, offer discounts, and let them know of other important information.

Here are a few different types of push notifications that can help banks engage their users:

  • Informative notifications: These types of notifications would serve to inform users about updates to the app, reminders on opportunities and offers, and alerts about messages from the bank.
  • Geolocation notifications: Banks can leverage a user’s location to send geolocation notifications. This can be particularly useful when customers are traveling and don’t want a card transaction to trigger the bank’s fraud detection system.
  • Catch up notifications: These notifications help re-engage and motivate users to come back to the app. 
  • Promotional notifications: Banks can send exclusive offers to their customers using promotional notifications. 
  • Periodic push notifications: These can be sent out on specific dates and can come in handy when alerting customers that a payment is due. 
  • Survey notifications: This type of notification is a way to get customer feedback and can help banks improve the overall mobile banking experience. 

Order notifications: If a customer has applied for a credit increase or a loan, for example, the mobile app can send them a status notification on their order or request.

Keep in mind, you never want to pester customers with too many push notifications. But if done correctly, this a great way to communicate and engage your customers.

Using AI

Mobile apps have the ability to use artificial intelligence as a means of conducting intelligent actions without human assistance.

AI technology has come a long way in recent years and has had a big impact on the banking industry.

One example of this is the use of using chatbots to help answer common customer inquiries quickly and with a personalized approach, which can help banks save money on staffing. 

Bank of America’s Erica is an AI-powered virtual financial assistant that has surpassed 10 million users and can complete complex tasks like transfer money between accounts, send money with Zelle, access user balance information, schedule meetings at branches, and more.

AI services and algorithms are also extremely efficient at detecting fraudulent behavior and patterns in real-time. They help provide banking apps with an extra layer of security.

Customer Retention Strategies in the Banking Industry

How to Effectively Strategize Customer Retention

Now that you’re more familiar with the benefits a mobile app offers in the banking industry, like decreasing costs and creating an improved customer banking experience, let’s take a look at other strategies you can implement to retain your customers.

Introduce a newsletter campaign

While a mobile app helps keep a bank in communication with users, there are other avenues to ensure you’re maintaining regular communication with customers. 

A newsletter campaign can make a significant impact on your bank’s customer retention efforts by fostering a trusting relationship that will inspire loyalty.

You can show your customers that you appreciate the business they bring while also pushing personalized products.

When crafting a newsletter campaign, don’t think that you always have to make it promotional, however. It’s a good idea to diversify the content.

You can include things like industry trends, customer satisfaction surveys, or new digital features, like updates to your chatbot or digital assistant, for example.

Outside of your newsletter, it’s also common for businesses to send customers automated messages for other things, like birthday wishes, payment reminders, and other personalized content to drive engagement.

Send customer satisfaction surveys

Banks should constantly be striving to improve the customer experience with all touchpoints they offer, whether it’s branch visits, ATMs, their online website, or mobile app.

Leaving a positive impact on these experiences is the bottom line. When banks send out customer satisfaction surveys, they’re able to gather valuable information from customers to improve the experience and keep them coming back.

When you request feedback from customers through surveys, you can do the following:

  • Learn exactly how customers think and feel regarding the banking experience
  • Quickly identify and resolve issues and weaknesses in the various touchpoints your bank offers
  • Assess the satisfaction and loyalty of your customers
  • Identify customers who are likely to recommend the bank to others and can serve as brand advocates
  • Improve your product through valuable customer insights

Stay on top of online reviews

When people purchase a product from a brand, they check reviews first, which is why it’s important to manage and respond to reviews that users are leaving online, whether they’re positive or negative.

If a user had a bad experience, show others who are viewing those negative of how you plan on fixing the problem and making it right by providing a professional, well-written response. 

Neglecting online reviews is also just bad for a bank’s reputation and can affect your ability to keep customers and bring in new ones.

If a user has left positive feedback, engage with them by responding to the review.

This will not only help retain customers but it’s important to remember that online reviews impact search engine performance as well.

In other words, if your brand has mostly positive reviews, it will rank higher than those that don’t when users search online for products you offer, like loans.

Deliver the best customer service

Retaining customers is all about delivering the very best in customer service. Banks can retain customer loyalty by working on the customer-brand relationship that goes beyond the minimum transactional services.

Invest in next-level support and service by reshaping your marketing, sales, and service strategies based on the feedback you receive.

This also involves adding a personalized approach to your communication with customers throughout the various touchpoints so customers can more easily find the right products and achieve their financial goals.

Offer VIP or loyalty programs

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and valued, especially by brands they give their business to. Offering VIP programs can feel exclusive and unique and will help retain customers.

One example of a successful loyalty program is the ThankYou program offered by Citibank. It allows customers to earn points based on their banking activities with Citibank and its partners.

These points can be redeemed for various rewards and products. 

Implementing some form of customer loyalty program is a great way appreciate and incentivize your customers by rewarding them when they use your bank’s services.

Stay on top of industry trends

Banks have the ability to gather all kinds of data analytics that can help predict upcoming trends and customer demands.

The goal is to get customers what they don’t yet realize they need rather than being late in offering it to them. 

Staying on top of banking industry trends is one of the greatest customer retention strategies there is and can keep your bank ahead of the competition by using predictive analysis.

This is another area where artificial intelligence can help collect data to see what customers care about so you can adjust your bank’s features and offerings accordingly.

Customer Retention Strategies in the Banking Industry

Final Thoughts

It’s well-known in the industry that retaining customers is cheaper than trying to gain new ones, which is what makes customer retention strategies so important to all kinds of businesses, including banks.

Go through the different tactics and strategies and test each one to see which work the best for your bank.

A mobile app strategy, keeping a close eye on industry trends, delivering superior customer experiences, and more are the best ways to keep your customers loyal, so get started today on implementing the best strategies for your business.

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