Interesting interview of Dennis Jacobe, chief economist at Gallup, in a recent edition of the Gallup Management Journal entitled, “What Matters Most to Banking Customers.”
Last November, Gallup found that only 15% of Americans had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. banking system. That’s a new low. This is a problem not only for the financial industry generally but for individual banks too. That’s because people who lack confidence in their bank may be less loyal — and they may be more likely to leave it and go elsewhere.
Customers who gave the highest rating to the branch channel were 16 times (16x) more likely to be fully engaged that customers who gave lower ratings. Higher engagement means greater likelihood to continue doing business with the bank. Lower engagement indicates a great propensity to switch banks.
Other channels were less likely to produce fully engaged customers:
- Call center call = 14x
- Website visit = 11x
- Automated call = 10x
- Online banking transaction = 9x
- ATM transaction = 7x
What these results show is personal interactions are more likely to drive customer engagement than online and automated banking. While online and automated banking are an important service, they are “table stakes” that do little to build customer relationships.
According to Dennis, bank customers become engaged only when four emotional needs are met:
- They feel pride and passion for the brand they bank with.
- They believe the bank has integrity.
- They’re confident they’ll always be treated well.
- They’re confident they’ll always be treated fairly.
People meet emotional needs, not ATMs or computers.
As such, bank employee engagement is critical to enhance customer engagement. Fully engaged employees can be important advocates for the banking industry and their particular institution by explaining to consumers and small business owners the key role banking fills and why banking needs as many advocates as possible right now.
However, the employee must understand and believe this before they can convince the customer and understand the importance of providing a great customer experience that will enhance customer engagement.
Having attended the Bank Marketing Association conference in September, I believe the small community banks understand this. I’m less confident that the big banks do and they’re the ones driving the low confidence numbers.
Do you have confidence in your bank?
What have they done to earn it?