Are financial services organisations in for challenging times over the next 12 months?
With inflation pushing up the price of everything from groceries to utility bills, hard-pressed consumers are shopping around for the best deals, including on their mortgages and insurance policies.
Home and business owners have seen the cost of both increases, in many instances, by large sums. They’re being advised to haggle hard for more favourable terms, switching providers if necessary if their current ones won’t come to the party.
Tens of thousands of mortgage and policyholders are likely to do so, as rising interest rates and cost of living pressures continue to bite. For financial services providers, that represents a significant retention challenge.
To attract and retain business, they need to be in frequent communication with their customers; providing a regular stream of relevant, useful information that makes them feel valued, and encourages future renewals.
How best to do so is the sixty-four-dollar question.
In today’s digital world, consumers are already drowning in communiques from businesses of all stripes that are clamouring for their business. The average person receives 21 spam emails a day, according to 2021 research from Statistica.
Most individuals ignore what they consider junk email. Campaign messages, however compelling and carefully crafted, are frequently consigned to the circular file, unread. As a result, standalone email marketing campaigns have become an increasingly ineffective means of reaching target markets.
The omni-channel advantage
Utilising additional communication channels can help financial services providers get the cut-through they need to capture their customers’ attention and influence their long term buying behaviours.
Adopting an omni-channel strategy means messages can be sent in different forms. Customising them, based on the status of the recipient’s relationship with the institution, helps make them more relevant and resonant.
For example, an initial home and contents policy purchase may be followed up with a ‘checking in’ email, to enquire whether the customer was satisfied with their buying experience. After that, SMS or social media messages may be used to maintain contact, in the form of seasonal maintenance advice, alerts about severe weather events and the like.
It’s a mix and match strategy that can be extremely effective, provided messages are orchestrated smoothly across all channels.
To ensure they’re not sent in an ad hoc, unplanned way, financial services providers need to be able to track the interactions that have already occurred, within each and every customer journey. They can then plan when and how future messages should be sent, for best effect.
Quick updates might be best suited to SMS messaging, for example, while more detailed messages may work better via email, or a pointer to a micro web site.
What’s important is that every ‘instrument’ in the organisation’s marketing stack is playing from the same score, in tune and in time with all the others in the ‘orchestra’, not contributing to the general marketing noise customers are subjected to, on a daily basis.
Tools that make the task easy
That’s a challenge, in the absence of the right technology: namely, a customer data platform that acts as a conductor, bringing every element of an omni-channel communication strategy together in a harmonious way.
Powerful software that makes it possible to deliver highly personalised customer journeys at scale; it allows organisations to investigate, segment and target their customers with the most appropriate messages, in the optimum form.
That timely and relevant communication can contribute to the development of stickier long term relationships, regular renewals and referrals to friends, family and business associates.
At a time when more customers than ever are weighing their options and pondering the benefits of making a switch, it’s an investment in sustainability and growth that financial services providers would be well advised to make.
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