Bendigo Bank recently launched its ‘Better Big Bank’ campaign to reinforce the message that there are other alternatives to the big four out there for Aussie bankers. What makes Bendigo the better alternative? According to the campaign, it’s their trust and customer satisfaction ratings, particularly after being voted in the top 10 most trusted brands in Australia for 2018. In light of the Royal Commission findings, trust is a sensitive spot when it comes to customers and banks. Bendigo is striking while the iron is hot, reminding customers that they have an edge over the big four on trust, customer service, and their long track record of putting customers first.
Regardless of whether you think that Bendigo is the ‘better big bank’, we believe the one thing that can be agreed upon is that the big banks are in trouble. According to Roy Morgan’s Banking Channel Usage and Satisfaction report, research revealed that customers were most satisfied with non-major lenders. Bendigo Bank topped the list, with a customer satisfaction rating of 87.5 per cent, followed by ING (87.1 per cent), St. George and Bankwest (tied with 84.6 per cent), and Bank of Queensland (83.1 per cent).
Bendigo’s campaign confirms the apparent need for the big banks to step up their game when it comes to customer experience (CX). While there are many customers who aren’t willing to go through the hassle of changing banks and starting over, more customers are starting to consider putting up with the short-term hassle for the long-term gain. As dissatisfied customers overcome the thought that no other banks outside the big four can meet their needs, these banks need to reassess their CX strategy if they want to be in control of customer retention.
So what can the big kids do if they want to avoid this loyalty shift from happening?
1. Stop disloyalty before building loyalty:
We all know loyalty is important, but what about taking a step back to focus on what is making customers disloyal in the first place? This opportunity is all about stopping things from going wrong in the first place. What issues are customers consistently encountering? Are these issues ever fully resolved, or resolved in the best way possible? Of course, things inevitably can and will still go wrong even when the right processes are in place, but this is where safeguards come in to play. The banks need to ask themselves what safeguards they have in place to maintain customer loyalty should something go wrong. How are they leveraging their CRM systems and the ridiculous amount of personal data they collect from their customers to know how to personalise their actions and responses to any issues or queries? If a customer comes to you with their problem and leaves knowing that your staff have done everything possible to fix the problem or have escalated it so that it can get resolved as fast as possible, this can actually build a stronger connection with customers.
2. Get Community Connected:
One of the points Bendigo emphasised in their campaign was their engagement with customers and particularly Australian communities on a grassroots level. It can be hard to achieve this community feel as one of the big four, but this doesn’t mean that it’s time to throw the towel in. Bendigo recently announced that they will be teaming up again with the Queensland Times’ for the Adopt-a-Family appeal, where they will be supporting 17 local families. What actions like this highlight to customers is that they are serious about being involved in the local community. While the big four do have their own community initiatives and foundations, such as the CommBank Foundation, perhaps there is an opportunity to take a more grassroots, local approach to their community programs. Putting real people on the ground, helping real Australians with many small, local initiatives all across the country. Customers are currently feeling disconnected and undervalued, and the banks cannot underestimate the power that the local community has to rebuild this loss of connection.
3. Focus on Action:
If you were to read about any of the major banks, each would at some point mention their dedication to customers or customer-centric approach. While this sounds promising, the results clearly don’t stack up. If customers are coming through and saying that they trust non-major banks more, you know that these words just aren’t cutting it. Customers want to see the measures being put in place to provide a personalised service, they want to see transparency in what their bank says and does, and they want to know that their bank gives a stuff over whether they’re going to stay or go. In the current tech age where human interaction with their customers is minimal and mainly occurs when things go wrong, how can the banks leverage personalised messaging and services to build a small but true relationship when things are going right? It might be time for some of the big banks to hire just one less overpaid risk analyst and employ one more down to earth specialist who truly understands the customer experience.
It’s anyone’s game at this rate, but the odds aren’t necessarily in favour of the big four just because of their size. While other banks like Bendigo may be smaller, the one thing they’re sure of is that they have customer experience on their side - and they’re not afraid to use it.
If you haven’t already, check out the campaign for yourself and see what you think.