Consumer Trust: Four Ways to Show Your Customers Your Bank Has Their Backs

Published: April 10, 2018 by

As the world becomes more digital, your customers savor the efficiencies that come along with that. Banking by phone, localized information at their fingertips and online reviews are the kind of services that quickly become habits.

But today’s fast pace of change and the complex credit landscape wrought with data breaches and other cybersecurity threats also make people apprehensive. They yearn for relationships with trustworthy brands that are looking out after them as they navigate the sea of options and potential pitfalls in the marketplace.

Trust – in financial services, insurance, healthcare, you name it  – has become golden in this environment. When your customers see you as a trusted, reliable organization, they’ll come back again and again, and they’ll happily tell their friends and associates about their positive experiences.

Consumer trust builds loyalty, which, in turn, boosts revenue. And when you offer your customers personalized, unbiased and well-timed advice about their money, you can strengthen that bond even further. Four in five U.S. adults are interested in professional advice about fundamental financial issues, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Bank customers today want more than just a secure place to keep their money; they seek honest guidance and support through milestones like applying for a mortgage or auto loan or starting a microbusiness. But while 93 percent of customers trust banks to keep their money safe, only about 25 percent believe that their primary financial provider will provide them with unbiased advice suited to their needs, according to the Ernst & Young (EY) Global Consumer Banking Survey in 2016.

Perhaps one of the biggest ways to offer your customers peace of mind is to take on the thorny challenge of identity protection. With headlines about stolen identities and privacy breaches popping up regularly, you can understand why people crave reassurance. And it is getting worse. In 2017 the number of U.S. identity theft victims rose by 8 percent to 16.7 million, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

But at the same time, protecting their identities often seems too technical and time-consuming effort for the average person. In a recent Experian survey, 84 percent of respondents were concerned about the security of their online personal information, but 64 percent agreed that it’s “too much of a hassle to constantly worry about securing personal information online.” They’re looking to trusted brands to help them out, with services such as Experian’s personalized identity information and programs.

What else can you do to boost people’s trust in you?

  1. According to the EY survey, only about a third of global consumers are convinced that their banking partner is transparent about fees and charges. So that means that you should offer complete information about all your charges in clear, simple language, without legalese. Your explanations can include graphics, charts and outreach methods, such as online video on social media, which clearly and lightheartedly explain the ramification of your fees and services.
  2. To go with that increased fee transparency, you can improve the capabilities of your staff members who work directly with customers. The EY report recommends that you incentivize those on the front line to provide solid, unbiased advice, but even more importantly, it recommends you give them the data, tools and technology to deliver it.
  3. You can also improve your customers’ trust in your bank by teaching them what they need to know.  Surprisingly, almost two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a financial literacy test and don’t have a basic understanding of credit. A recent Experian survey found that nearly one in four respondents had never obtained their credit report or score. Gently guiding people to relevant financial lessons when they need them most is a powerful way to win their hearts and minds.
  4. Finally, a surefire trust generator is if your bank provides customers and prospects with an ecosystem of third-party services they truly need. As the “host” of these added services, your brand will be seen as even more useful in your customers’ eyes. For instance, working with Experian, you can offer an educational program, under your bank’s brand, that can painlessly answer these common consumer questions:
    1. What is a credit report and what is a credit score?
    2. Where can I find my credit score?
    3. How will lenders use my score?
    4. How are credit-granting decisions made?
    5. What should I do if I spot an error on my credit report?
    6. Can I use my credit report to help detect identity theft?

Another third-party service you can offer under your brand is the Credit Score Simulator created by Experian. Personalized, fun and interactive, it helps your customers control their unique financial situations by showing score changes based on future actions and events.

Overall, by adding information and services that go above and beyond what people expect from a bank, you demonstrate to the world that you do indeed have customers’ best interests at heart and are worthy of being a trusted part of their lives. Useful programs, such as those offered by Experian, transcend marketing promises and promotions and prove that you are committed to improving the financial well-being of anyone who does business with you.

And who can resist that?

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