Published in Financial Services

Listen Up! Bank Customers Want to be Heard

Like many bankers I know, my chosen profession was not the result of some well thought out plan or career aspiration that I had growing up. After three years of tossing pizzas in college, a part-time bank teller position seemed like the perfect job to gain some professional experience, plus I got to swap an apron for a tie. I developed my skills with the help of great mentors, earned advancement opportunities, and soon my “accidental career” had taken off.

Banker listeningFast forward 25 years and the transformation in the the way customers interact with their bank has been dramatic. While the branch remains an important channel and having a helpful and knowledgeable staff is a key driver of customer satisfaction, transaction volumes are on the decline as customers embrace new technology and self-service channels. Banks continue to place emphasis on building effective relationships with clients and finding ways to improve service delivery, while recognizing the challenge of having fewer opportunities to connect with those clients to truly understand their needs. In fact, in a study conducted by Maritz Research last year, 49% of customers said that their bank has not contacted them to ask how they are feeling about their bank, yet 31% really want their voices to be heard.

Throughout all of my sales and leadership positions, the most rewarding part of my career has always been listening to my customers’ needs and finding ways to make a positive impact on their financial lives, both directly and through coaching my employees to ask thoughtful questions and present appropriate solutions.  Now, in a more purposeful and planned career move, I have joined an experienced team of bankers and market researchers at Maritz Research, which has been designing customized solutions for financial services companies for the last 40 years. Its latest offering, Capella Banking, is all about addressing customer satisfaction to drive improved financial performance.

In simple terms, Capella Banking is a ready-to-deploy customer experience management program built on industry best practices, and tailored specifically to meet the needs of regional and community banks, both in terms of scope and associated investment. Our industry experts have designed a flexible questionnaire and, through our simple user interface, we allow banks to listen well, see clearly, and take action to help drive process improvements, guide strategy, and increase customer satisfaction. Having led retail banking teams at both national and community banks, it’s clear to me that having a systematic approach to listening to your customers is vital for attracting, retaining, and expanding client relationships, especially in today’s changing digital world.

Long gone are the days of issuing passbook savings accounts and researching checks on microfilm, but providing your executive team with a clear understanding of what your clients think about your products, service, and brand has never been so important. If you are interested in exploring how Capella Banking can benefit your bank, let me know and I’d love to talk. Now, if only I could find those skinny knit ties…I hear they are back in fashion.