The global health crisis is officially behind us, and more people are ready to return to a sense of normalcy. However, market conditions remain hard to predict. Pandemic-era interest rates seem to be a thing of the past, and inflation is outpacing most employee salary increases.

As a result, executives at some of the largest U.S. banks see their customers falling behind on credit card and loan payments. If the economy continues to waiver, credit deterioration could follow into 2024. During uncertain economic times, people look to their financial institution to help them navigate the ups and downs. As their needs grow, so does the importance of your CEX strategy.

More than 65 percent of customers are pessimistic about the economic outlook for the coming year, up nearly 10 percentage points from 2022.
More than 65 percent of customers are pessimistic about the economic outlook for the coming year, up nearly 10 percentage points from 2022.

“A customer’s banking experience really is personal,” explains Wendy Su, Senior Vice President of Randstad's CEX vertical. “The products and services offered — from mortgages and loans to savings accounts — tend to impact multiple areas of their life.”

This makes a positive customer experience critical for building client loyalty — now more than ever. Here are four key factors to take yours further:

1. build trust

As you know, earning — and keeping — the trust of your customers is a constant challenge. Add in an unpredictable market and the need for stellar customer service increases exponentially. What’s more, it sets those who make it a priority apart from the competition.

According to McKinsey and Company, 60 percent of customers currently trust their primary bank to be helpful in navigating the next financial downturn. However, that number jumps to over 80 percent for those reporting high satisfaction with the experience their bank delivers.

“The key to building trust is a consistent approach to each and every interaction,” Wendy says. “Over time, a smooth experience increases satisfaction, and in turn creates a loyal customer.”

What does a smooth banking experience look like? To start, train your teams to provide a clear and concise response to inquiries and issues. Then work across departments to streamline this approach for all products and services.

2. utilize technology

Today, one of the best ways to provide a consistent customer experience is with an omnichannel approach to the platforms and media available to you. This can include phone calls, emails, texts, live chat, social media, surveys and more.

However, to truly succeed in the years ahead look to emerging technologies. Right now, AI chatbots are transforming the customer experience across industries, including the banking sector. In fact, in a recent survey by Cornerstone Advisors, the highest-performing financial institutions are also those aggressively investing in emerging technologies.

Forbes is calling 2023 the ‘year of the chatbot’ in banking.
Forbes is calling 2023 the ‘year of the chatbot’ in banking.

But as you introduce advanced technology to the customer, will they feel comfortable using it? To truly utilize both the tried and true as well as emerging platforms, you need the right talent.

“Don’t just look to hire a candidate who knows the latest platform,” Wendy shares. “Great CEX talent can negotiate new information and technology, both internally and for the client, but also offer the customer appropriate products to increase revenue and loyalty.”

3. involve everyone

To get the most out of the omnichannel approach, you need to think beyond the call center. This requires creating an organizational culture with the customer experience in mind.

20 percent of banking customers were considering switching banks last year.
20 percent of banking customers were considering switching banks last year.

The best CEX talent will come across as empathetic to the customer but also adept at quickly solving issues. What’s more, they’ll be able to upsell your products and services in a seamless and comfortable way.

The key is to take this same focus with internal relationships and processes. Even departments that aren’t client-facing can work to treat their fellow employees with the same approach. The result is a diverse range of experiences and thinking that can further enhance your CEX strategy.

4. be proactive

As mentioned, a successful customer experience requires the right people. But in an uncertain economy, that may be easier said than done.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the need to remain flexible when it comes to staffing. Today, more employers want talent back in the office and working a more traditional schedule. But the talent pool isn’t as enthusiastic. This alone can prove a challenge for recruiting top talent, especially for the financial industry.

“The banking sector specifically can’t just turn on a dime when it comes to staffing,” Wendy shares. “To stay compliant, you need vetted candidates prepared to handle scripted responses. This takes time.”

In addition, industry parameters such as required background and credit checks add to the process. The key is to be proactive. Plan for forecast staffing at least a quarter in advance of potential needs. By anticipating your needs ahead of schedule, you’ll deliver the best possible customer experience.

In today’s uncertain economy, a standout customer experience will put you ahead of the rest. Randstad Business Professionals can help. We source multi-level CEX talent from vetted call center agents to trained supervisors, then coach and guide your teams to boost customer satisfaction and drive loyalty. To learn more, connect with us today.