Trust = Credibility + Empathy
Credibility is the customer’s logical assessment of a financial institution’s capability and reliability for delivering what is needed. Empathy is the emotional connection that enables associates to establish a high level of rapport with customers by understanding the emotional component of their financial and personal needs and expectations.
Our research shows that customer perceptions of trust are determined by four supporting concepts; the first two address empathy and the last two address credibility.
- Commonality: Refers to the customer’s perception that you both hold things in common—interests, beliefs, and values.
- Intent: An open declaration of your interest in the customer’s success and well-being.
- Propriety: Expectations of business customs and the ability and willingness to meet the customer’s behaviors.
- Competence: The perception you create in the customer’s mind that you have the capability and experience to help solve the business problem.
In each interaction with each channel, customers are forming and re-forming their assessment of trust, perceived value, and willingness to do business with a given financial institution.
In the world of financial services, the requirement that trust be at the heart of every customer interaction doesn’t vary by channel or trend.
Many institutions and banks tend to focus on and develop the “back wheel” or “hard skills” of the credibility side of the equation at the expense of the “front wheel” or interpersonal skills of the empathy side of the equation. Back wheel competence in transactional efficiency and operational and technical capability is necessary but insufficient to reliably cause customer trust to grow.
Leading institutions understand that customer trust grows most profoundly from the “human side” of the equation. By helping associates gain competence in the skills that demonstrate empathy, they are placing their workforce in service to their own customers’ financial goals, helping customers to increase their trust in the institution and leveraging that growing trust into stronger revenue generation.
What It Takes
Aiming every customer interaction at building trust requires more than customer service charm school. It takes vision, widespread commitment, and alignment within the entire financial organization.
- Be the source of a compelling vision for excellence all across the customer experience
- Develop strategy that funds and aligns operations with serving the customer experience
- Provide consistent communication
- Hold managers accountable for performance
- Manage to specific performance benchmarks that support excellence in the customer experience
- Provide communication, training, staffing, and operational support
- Evaluate, coach, and support associate performance across the retail organization
- Demonstrate buy-in to the strategic vision
- Acquire and practice new skills
- Demonstrate commitment to improving individual performance
- Understand their role in producing or enhancing customer trust at every interaction
Reversing the Erosion of Customer Trust
The customers of financial institutions are ready for a change in the way they regard their financial institution. Those institutions that reevaluate, refocus, and realign each channel of customer interaction with the aim of building customer trust will gain a competitive advantage over other financial services institutions. They will be better able to withstand and win in the face of competition from the entry of non-traditional providers of financial services.
Financial institutions must realize the power has shifted. Customers will continue to adopt new technologies and become more sophisticated about managing their financial futures. They are demanding their banks and other financial services companies serve their increasing financial fluency by providing information and guidance, in addition to being a multi-channel provider of reliable financial transactions. That way, the smiles our bankers provide are genuine and customers will have a greater trust and willingness to deepen the relationship.
How Wilson Learning Can Help
Wilson Learning guides organizations to success by inspiring, developing, and transforming their greatest investment–their people. We help our clients navigate the complex path of creating solutions that will enable them to achieve real business results. For example:
- Major financial services company improved its call center customer experience, saving $13 million a year
- Large regional bank’s differentiation efforts resulted in a 4:1 return on investment
- Major Canadian bank created a competitive advantage in the marketplace by developing a brand experience that drives a consultative sales culture
Our work frequently guides organizations by integrating their culture, brand experience, service, and sales through simple, elegant, and highly customized performance solutions.
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