In today’s fast-paced, click-this, click-that world, almost all financial companies and professionals claim to provide a customized, high-quality customer experience. But, when it comes to customer engagement, most firms are actually lost on how to connect with their current and potential audiences in any meaningful way with a more personal approach — one with a more human element and one that feels like you’re more than just a number in a database. Sure, there’s still a place for automated responses, but the point remains: keeping it personal can pay off in the long run and make it much easier to foster the latest promotion or strategic offering or incentive to the customer.

What are account holders looking for, really?

Over the last couple years, “digital transformation” has dominated much of the conversation around customer experience. In order to stay competitive, it’s important for financial institutions to consider their realistic place in this new digital landscape. In fact, customer experience is a large factor when examining digital transformation in the ever-changing financial services industry.

A few strategic initiatives have risen to the top. They include:

-Improving self-service
-Leveraging new technologies
-Focusing on mobile
-Customer experience

Customer experience as a competitive advantage

With all of the statistics on how millennials only care about social media, it’s easy to fall for the myth they don’t want to talk on the phone (unless texting), or that the need for a contact hub is dying out. This simply isn’t true. In fact, the desire among all generations for personal interaction with their financial institution has never been higher­—especially in the event of an emergency or needing to specify a problem outside of self-service. Furthermore, 58 percent of millennials are interested in their financial institution “proactively recommending products or services.” This is compared to 46 percent of those over 55. Keeping it personal makes it easier to serve up the latest offering and/or nurture the customer relationship. Account holders, especially younger ones, love to know you’re there to support them and help them reach their goals. A “personal touch” approach pays dividends for your financial institution and helps you build a solid reputation.

Your customer engagement center already exists

Let’s focus a little more on the human touch when building a personal customer experience. Being able to have an actual real-time conversation with another human goes a long way towards engaging account holders. The experience and training that comes with seasoned specialists also goes a long way towards intuitively solving customer needs and anticipating other concerns they may have. The patience to resolve issues doesn’t go unnoticed. Of course, being able to provide a critical solution at the right moment is important. But, it sometimes requires a well-trained contact center representative to handle the account holder interaction in a way that can actually add value to the customer experience. In key moments like this, you’re  building a foundation for future learnings and going a long way towards maintaining old-fashioned “customer satisfaction.” That’s one performance metric you can be always be proud of.

Customer experience is a main driver of growth

Account holder loyalty is a moving target and sometimes a challenge to maintain. With nearly 29% of consumers globally saying they would switch their primary financial institution if it were easy to do so, there’s obviously no easy path to overall account holder retention or loyalty. However, according to Bain & Company, a superior customer experience earns stronger loyalty, turning customers into promoters with a lifetime value 6 to 14 times that of detractors. In the coming years, as millennials continue to seek easier banking solutions and financial tools that fit in their mobile-focused lifestyle, they’re also likely to expect the support that comes along with them. In this digital era, with the proliferation of self-service channels, the contact center experience is your differentiator, helping you to stand out from the competition like a shining star which can bring in new accounts, increase wallet share and deliver the measurable growth we’re all looking for.

> Download Vericast’s “Ten Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your Contact Center” checklist.