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Risks To Avoid When Buying Engagement Tech

No financial institution – bank or credit union – wants to buy an engagement platform, but they do want to grow customer relationships.

Many, though, risk buying engagement platforms that won’t grow relationships for a sustained period. Most platforms are not ready-made for quality, digital experiences that serve depositors and borrowers well, which means they threaten much more than a financial institution’s growth. They are a risk to the relationship with each customer, and to the institution’s reputation. 

Consumers are increasingly expressing a need for help from their financial providers. Less than half of Americans can afford a surprise $1,000 expense, according to a survey from Bankrate; about 60% say they do not have $1,000 in savings. One in 5 adults would put a surprise expenditure on a credit card, one of the most expensive forms of debt. More than half of consumers polled want more help than they’re getting from their financial provider. However, those 66% who say they have received communication from their provider were unhappy about the generic advice they received.

This engagement gap offers financial institutions a competitive opportunity. Consumers want more and better engagement, and they are willing to give their business those providers who deliver. About 83% of households polled said they would consider their institution for their next product or service when they are both “satisfied and fully engaged,” according to Gallup. The number drops to 45% if the household is only satisfied.

Financial institutions seeking to use engagement for growth should be wary of not losing customer satisfaction as they pursue full engagement. As noted earlier, about 66% of those engaged aren’t satisfied with the financial provider’s generic approach. What does that mean for financial institutions? The challenge is quality of engagement, not just quantity or the lack thereof. If they deliver quantity instead of quality, they risk both unsatisfied customers as well as customers who ignore their engagement.

According to Gallup, only 19% of households said they would grow their relationship when they are neither satisfied nor fully engaged. This is a major risk financial institutions miss when buying engagement platforms: That the institution is buying a technology not made for quality, digital experiences and won’t be able to serve depositors and borrowers well any time soon.

But aren’t all engagement platforms made for engagement? Yes — but not all are made for banking engagement, and even fewer are made with return on investment in mind. Banking is unique; the tech that powers it should be as well. Buyers need to vet platforms for what’s included in terms of know-how. What expertise does the platform contain and provide for growing a banking organization? Is that built into the software itself?

A purpose-built platform can show marketers which contact fields are of value to engagement, for example, and which integrations can be used to populate those fields. It can also show how that data can become insights for financial institutions when it overlaps with customers’ desired outcomes. And it offers the engagement workflows across staff actions, emails, print marketing and text messaging that result in loan applications, originations, opened accounts or activated cards.  

Previously, the only options available were generic engagement platforms made for any business; financial institutions had to take on the work of customizing platforms. Executives just bought a platform and placed a bet that they could develop it into a growth tool. They’d find out if they were right only after paying consultants, writers, designers, and marketing technologists for years. 

Financial services providers no longer need to take these risks. A much better experience awaits them, as they provide customers or members with the relationship upgrade sought all.