The Long Game Of Customer Loyalty

We often talk about banking as primarily about relationships. In many ways, the relationship between customer and bank resembles other relationships.

However, over time circumstances change. The customer and the services – and charges – that used to fit perfectly may grow apart.

Making a relationship work takes regular attention.

The first step is continuous monitoring – seeing what customers are getting out of their current set of offers and accounts, and which new combinations could give them a great customer experience.

Although every customer is different, most will earn, save, look for mortgages and insurance and ultimately retire. By examining those behaviour patterns, a bank can build decision trees, with standardized responses to many likely scenarios.

But banking systems also need to create flexible pricing and benefit models. That requires knowledge – not just of the customer and his or her needs, but also the cost of every possible package and combination.

Customer understanding – across every channel, every account and every transaction – offers the opportunity to think outside the box, and build “bespoke” packages.

A customer who is always in credit won’t appreciate a free overdraft facility. But they might appreciate another benefit. For example, they could have an account fee waived if they make 10 debit card transactions in a month – and told at the ATM or point of sale when they qualify.

Making these offers in real time is a great stride towards true customer-centricity, and the same systems can be used to offer further products – to upsell or cross-sell – at the perfect moment.

Extending relationships to the next generation

Of course, customers do not just have relationships with their banks. When the customer relationship extends across not just accounts but households, whole new opportunities open up. Banks can ensure that members are treated equally, but also balance benefits across a whole family.

What if, instead of incurring a charge, a student’s overdraft was automatically cleared from an in-credit parent’s account? The charge could be avoided, and the customer relationship strengthened and developed across generations – from graduation to employment, and beyond.