Financial services have traditionally based much of their business on client profiles. Credit histories and actuarial tables have long been a staple in the industry. More sophisticated reporting and modeling tools have continued to transform that part of the business.

Why, then, is customer experience and engagement either left to chance or tracked using outdated techniques such as self-reporting and randomized surveys? If every customer matters, then all of their experiences should matter.

As the authors of a 2019 Adobe report write, “The fintech wave is forcing all financial services providers to look beyond their one-size-fits-all customer communications of old. Data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual has risen up the agenda, highlighted as an exciting opportunity by many more respondents in financial services than in other industries (24% vs. 15%).” 

The problem, according to Salesforce, is that “Most traditional banks have siloed digital engagement as either transactional or self-service and relied on face-to-face interactions to build ‘relationships.’” However, fintechs “have proven adept at building superior engagement, relationships and loyalty through real-time digital customer interaction.”

Incumbent institutions must become more adept at tracking digital engagement, in order to improve outcomes—especially in a post COVID-19 world, where the majority of our lives our conducted online.  

Here, we’ve broken customer engagement tracking into five steps.

Five steps to achieve your digital customer engagement goals in financial services

1. Set your digital goals

The first step to better customer engagement is to determine what your specific customer engagement goals are. Is it more new customers through digital channels? More customers helping themselves through digital channels? Better digital brand recognition? Increased conversion rates on your website?  

To start, prioritize your top 2-3 goals. Consider going for the easy wins first—such as increased use of the mobile app or increased use of self-service options—and build from there.

Below are a few digital goals that might inspire further conversation about which goals are right for your organization:

  • Generate new customers through digital channels
  • Transition customers from physical services to digital options
  • Decrease digital customer churn
  • Increase digital transaction volume
  • Increase mobile app downloads for existing customers
  • Increase loan applications or account creation numbers via your website

2. Create a customer journey map for each goal

Once you have your goals in place, you can create a customer journey specific to your goals. For example, if your goal is increase mobile app downloads, what’s the typical path customers take before a download? 

When you take a look at your customers’ journeys, you’re essentially mapping out the flow each persona or customer group takes when making a purchase or becoming a customer. 

Consider the actions, pain points, and touch points customers during the four major stages of the customer journey towards your goal: consideration, evaluation, closure, and post purchase. Of course, you might find that your own customers go through fewer or more stages.

You can do that using the data captured from current users. Don’t be discouraged if you find gaps between your ideal and reality. These will show you where to best focus your resources to narrow gaps.

3. Build a measurement plan for your goals

Understanding the activity you need to track for measuring progress towards your goal/s is critical to your success. Ensure you measure key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your specific goals—not only those that are easy to track. The KPIs you choose depend on your goals and where the customer is in their journey.  

Once you’ve identified KPIs for each goal, you need to create a measurement plan. A measurement plan categorizes the metrics you want to track, which platforms you use to track them, and what success looks like for each metric.  

It’s important to set benchmarks along the way, so you can continuously improve engagement opportunities. As an extra benefit, your measurement plan can align your team on what success looks like, which means you’ll be working towards the same goals and standards.  

For example, if your goal is to increase digital transaction volume, the following KPIs are a good place to start:  

  • Transactions by channel: If you’re starting your digital customer engagement program from scratch, it’s a good idea to look at transactions by channel—especially in-person transactions vs. digital. This will give you a clear idea of how your digital efforts are trending over time and if there any types of transactions that are good candidates for campaigns pushing for more digital engagement.
  • Login frequency and device: Monitor login frequency from desktop, mobile, and your app. Then look at how frequently users log in from each device. If you can match that data with demographic information or transaction types, you’ll have a better understanding of where you have gaps.
  • NPS: Your Net Promoter Score is a consistent way to track what customers think of your service and their experience. It’s not as objective as behavioral data, but it can give you a good idea of your customer experience overtime.
  • New applications from digital channels: Track how many potential customers apply for accounts or services through digital channels. From there, you can look at the journey on your website they took before applying for an account. You can also track potential customers who bounced during the application process to see whether you have friction points during the application. 

4. Use analytics tools that measure your specific KPIs

“Analytics capability remains crucial for drawing out insight from raw customer data, and using this to fuel greater precision in communications,” write the authors of the Adobe 2019 Digital Trends: Financial Services in Focus.

Not all analytics tools will give you the data you need to measure your KPIs, nor will that data necessarily be easy to analyze. It’s critical to use analytics tools, like Siteimprove, that give clear insights into how you can optimize your site and explore what’s working and what’s not, which is extremely important for creating better customer experiences.  

When aggregating data, make sure it’s both accurate and useful. Successful data aggregation begins with a clear understanding of your big-picture goals and using data sources that can measure those goals and give you insights you can act on. Many analytics tools give you heaps of data, but no guidance on what that data actually means for your goals.

Once you’ve identified the best tools to capture the data to measure your marketing goals, keep that information consistent, accurate, and up-to-date.

5. Track progress towards your benchmarks and keep optimizing

When analyzing your data, you might see behaviors or patterns you didn’t expect. Let your data drive decisions—don’t try to drive the data.

Continually track progress towards the benchmarks you outlined in your measurement plan. If one of your goals is falling short of your benchmark, it’s time to start brainstorming new ways to improve performance.  

Beyond that, look for patterns in your data. Are there seasonal explanations for changes in behavior? Can you link improvements in one metric to a particular campaign tactic? Tracking these trends will help you drive better initiatives at the right time.

Close to one-third of financial services said that making their customer experience fun, easy, or valuable was the main way they would differentiate themselves from competitors over the next five years. But that doesn’t happen overnight—instead, it’s often a slow, incremental process of optimizing small steps in the customer journey that show signs of friction or disengagement.

Make actionable insights your advantage

If you follow these steps, you can gain insights into how your customers use your services and find new ways to engage with them. And while much of what we’ve said here is about being focused to ensure you get actionable insights, remember to look at the big picture as well.

A customer’s investment, buying, or borrowing decisions don’t start when they visit your website. Think about how you can extend the journey by integrating with partners or ecosystems.

Siteimprove is an all-in-one solution helps financial services organizations like yours take control of data that either is not being collected or is simply warehoused, adding no value.

Siteimprove makes it easy to understand which actions will make the biggest difference to engage your visitors, position you more competitively across paid and organic search, drive more traffic, and ensure your pages load quickly. You can segment visitors and track their behavior, so you can optimize journeys and lead visitors to the right content at the right time. 

Talk to us today about how we can support your goals.