Customer service has changed dramatically since I began studying it. Now, as a professional in customer service for banking, I see the ways customers’ expectations continue to change and how they are influenced by an increasingly digital world.
For marketing professionals trying to understand these changes, I introduced the six phases of the customer journey in my first blog post and explored the first phase, awareness. Here, I’m moving on to describe the second phase, consideration, so you can begin to better conceptualize the customer journey.
The consideration phase is the period when potential clients have learned about your bank and begin to think about using your services. This post will discuss how you can best plan for success in this phase to prepare you for converting future clients.
Why consideration has changed
In a perfect world, the consumer would only have to consider doing business with your organization and the product or service that you recommend. But we all know that this is not the reality. According to the FDIC, as of 2017, there are 4,918 banking institutions and close to 80,000 bank branches across the United States. And potential clients see more than just your competitors’ marketing – they are also influenced by their peers, opinions they see on the Internet, and countless other factors.
Think social media is your silver bullet to combat the challenges in the consideration phase? Think again. Social media use in the United States increased an average of 7.77% over the past nine years. But this year, that number was down 4%, according to Jay Baer. Baer attributes this to the fact that young Americans are embracing messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat and are using core social networks less. He continues: “I certainly don’t foresee a massive ‘extinction event’ that would cause a collapse in social media usage, but the migration away from public social toward private social is very, very real.”
How to foster effective consideration in a digital age
Today, we need to make it easy for customers to find what they want through more effective marketing campaigns, branding, and search engine optimization (SEO). Your bank needs to keep product and service information consistent across all channels while updating websites and other marketing collateral with new products or promotions – all in less time. Striving for consistency now will help you update quickly to outpace your competitors in the future. How? Consistently keep your site updated, add new products as soon as they’re released, and update offers when they change. With solid SEO, you make it easy for your customers – and potential new ones – to find what they want when they need it.
What consideration means for your bank
Now is the time to give your organization a gut check on digital transformation when it comes to consideration. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is currently working for my bank online, and how can we use SEO to improve that?
- Have we made the right investments to lessen the disparate systems within our overall IT landscape for marketing?
- Do we have a single source of the truth when it comes to our information architecture?
- What is it going to take to get all our channels on the same page with dynamic content?
- Do we have the optimal 360-degree view of our customer?
Once you clearly identify your strengths and opportunities for improvement, you can begin to develop a strong and viable plan. The objective of the plan should include, but not be limited to, consolidating product-related data and content and making it easily accessible and manageable for your clients and prospects. You can achieve another key to success by controlling all your product content for all your channels from one central digital source. With this preparation, you will be perfectly positioned with information readily available when it comes to consideration.
Learn more about how intelligent technologies can help banks survive challenges from customers and competitors. Listen to the Digitalist Flash Briefing: Transforming Corporate Banking With Intelligent Technologies.