Boosting Customer Engagement at Community Banks Starts by Focusing on Employee Satisfaction
You know the unique role that community banks hold in a local economy. That personal connection and community involvement are why you got into banking in the first place. With a changing marketplace affecting customer engagement, that role may be becoming less pronounced. How can you keep the personal connection in community banking?
What’s impacting your connection with your customers? The increasing demand for online and mobile banking requires your bank to be technologically savvy to remain competitive, but it may prevent your customers from stopping in. This means that you may lose some of that opportunity to chat with your customers. As you know, the ability to connect with your clientele and offer personalized services is a big part of the appeal of choosing community banks.
Another change affecting community banks is the increased regulation that gives bigger banks the advantages of economies of scale. This competitive edge is squeezing community banks. (But, read on to see how community banks outrank large-scale banks in customer engagement).
How can you boost customer engagement in a changing market? Customer engagement may seem to be waning, but community banks still hold the advantage. After all, while Gallup’s 2014 Retail Banking Study shows that 36 percent of customers at community banks are actively engaged, that’s compared with only 17 percent at large national banks. It’s not surprising that community banks excel at connecting with customers, but there’s more to be done.
The first key to engaging your customers is satisfied employees. When your employees love their jobs, they become more than employees. They become advocates for your community bank, talking up your bank to customers and investing themselves in the well-being of the bank and of the customers. There are several ways you can immediately build engagement among your employees:
- Just like your customers appreciate a personal connection, your employees do too. This means listening to your employees on a regular basis, whether it’s a weekly coffee or daily huddles. It also means investing in the personal lives of your employees, which can be as easy as asking them about their hobbies or families.
- Make sure your pay and benefits are competitive, but also make time to be sure you understand what’s important to each employee. Maybe they don’t value a raise as much as they do some flextime for picking kids up from school.
- Give your employees ownership of customer engagement. Talk with them about what drives your employees to do business with you and encourage their ideas about how to boost that engagement.
There’s more opportunity out there for customer engagement. Not only can community banks strive to increase the number of engaged customers they have among their current clientele, but you can also capture the business of bigger banks. Those customers want a personal connection, too. At national banks, 37 percent are actively disengaged with their banks, which means that they would migrate to another bank if the right opportunity were presented.
Community banks offer a personal connection that bigger national and online banks can’t match. Use this to your advantage by boosting customer engagement through your employees.
Want to talk more about customer engagement? Talk with us at CBA of Kansas, where you can access the resources and information you need to increase your employee satisfaction and drive more growth for your bank.