Thought Leadership

Guiding Customers’ Along Their Financial Journey

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June 17, 2019
Guiding Customers’ Along Their Financial Journey
By Bryan Adler

Every business is looking to grow their business. It may be acquiring new customers or growing adoption of products throughout their customer base, or it could be a combination of the two. While you want to exceed business targets on all fronts, serving your customers can change a relationship into partners on a journey.

In the not-so-distant past, customers were (and to an extent still are) segmented using very basic qualifiers. The characteristics used include qualifiers such as credit scores, home address, age and income. In today’s world, this quick snapshot just isn’t enough. What customers expect today is that we understand what they’re looking for and to be their advocate.

Accenture segments customers into three categories, while a FICO study used five different categories, and Ernst and Young splits customers into four categories. There is no magic number, but it’s important to see these splits going beyond simple demographics. For example – if we look at the Accenture report, the vast majority of the American public falls into two distinct and very different categories. A case in point is that ‘nomads,’ digitally savvy customers who are looking for the next way to interact, are overwhelmingly willing to get advice from automated bots, while ‘quality seekers’ are looking for a more personal touch and value customer service. EY’s study found that more than 50% of respondents didn’t think of themselves as financially savvy, but more than half of that group were very digitally savvy.

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So, what does it all mean? How do you piece that together into an actionable plan? At the end of the day, it’s about analyzing your data and building an organization that can pivot to handle customers’ changing needs.

If you’re going to market to a customer, you need to make it available in ways that they are going to consume the information. Are more of your millennial customers using your mobile app? Assuming they are, have you put in modules or hints to help them start down the path of their financial journey? Or are your baby boomers spending more time in branches? Maybe you should look at signage around consulting for retirement plans. Have you dug into the data to see that your Gen X customers have bank accounts for their teenage children? Maybe it’s time to advise them on the most advantageous student loan options for them.

Remember, these efforts are more than selling products. Build your brand; build your image. A customer that respects a brand is more likely to be a customer for life, and that relationship can be incredibly profitable. And those customers are the core of a successful financial institutions’ success.

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