IBM: Banks need to create more customer-centric environment

Tumultuous economic times can present new challenges to banks and large financial institutions. During periods of turmoil, many consumers shop around to make sure they are receiving the best rates, paying minimal fees and have access to premium customer service. Increased competition among banks has given consumers the advantage in choosing an institution that will work for them, making it more important than ever that banks create an atmosphere that is focused more on personal customer attention, a new study shows.

According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, doing away with uniform “cookie cutter” pricing platforms and developing all-inclusive communication channels that are specific to customer needs may help attract more consumers. Both goals require financial institutions to learn more about their customers’ particular needs and the features and products they seek out in an institution, the study concludes.

“To increase satisfaction, banks need to better understand how people bank, how often they bank and what products and services they seek when banking,” according to the study. “Banks then need to use this information to align product and service prices with client needs in the client’s choice of channels.”

Social media is becoming a more cost-effective, simple and popular means of gathering customer data and forging relationships with consumers. A recent report conducted by KMPG reveals more than 70 percent of organizations are now active on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition to providing a fast and personal method of responding to customer inquiries and feedback, social media has allowed banks to unveil new products and services, measure customer sentiment and manage their reputation and online presence. Experts cite these benefits as being pivotal in an industry that is facing new rules, regulations and changes.

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