"In the digital space, I like to operate under the umbrella of the persistent pursuit of the ultimate customer experience.” -Todd Treadway

The financial industry has largely grown complacent on the issue of customer service. That’s why so many financial services continue to come with bland, boring interactions. What would it take to create the ultimate customer experience?

James Robert Lay discussed this question with Todd Treadway, the Digital Channels Director and Senior Vice President at Provident Bank, on the Banking on Digital Growth Podcast. Todd is dedicated to providing outstanding customer service in the banking industry.

What’s The Ultimate Customer Experience for Financial Brand Account Holders?

Todd is always in pursuit of delivering The Ultimate Customer Experience. For financial executives, Todd says, this desire has to come from “dogged determination and the fire in your belly” to provide your customers with the best possible level of service.

It’s also the result of careful market research, data analysis, and a process of creating consumer personas for a financial brand’s various demographics. This allows financial brands to more effectively target audiences in the digital space, then address their needs.

Personalization is the key to driving customer engagement in the financial industry. Today’s financial customers have plenty of experience with bland and faceless transactions, so anything that’s more customized stands out.

The challenge, of course, is scalability. It’s easy enough to have a single personalized experience with an individual, but how do you provide the same level of customization at scale? There’s always a risk of automating and formalizing your processes to the point of commoditization.

The Customized, Optimized Customer Journey

Todd recommends starting at the beginning of a customer’s journey and following it through as they experience genuine day-to-day interactions with your company. And remember, there is no “average customer.” Every customer journey follows its own strange and winding path.

For example, consider an older customer who’s been receiving phishing text messages about Zelle or Venmo payments. They don’t even use those services and they’re confused. They turn to their hometown bank. This financial brand now has an opportunity to assist a struggling customer, empowering them to resolve a challenging problem.

Related Content: The BANCER Strategy Circle for Financial Brands: Using the Consumer Journey to Optimize Sales

This sets the stage for continuously optimizing the customer experience. Based on the situation described above, the financial institution now has a huge amount of new information about this customer. Now we know they need extra help with digital products. They’re on the lookout for scams. They consider their bank an authoritative source to answer their questions. Plus, they’re probably grateful for the help and willing to listen to new offers.

Knowing these bits of information could have a huge impact on your company’s bottom line. You can build a more successful organization around concepts like education, advocacy, addressing customer pain points, and expanding product lines and services to meet customer needs. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!

The Ultimate Customer Experience isn’t just something you’re blasting out to your customers. It’s not a one-way street. Rather, it’s a two-way relationship that also allows customers to share their feedback and opinions.

Financial brands must open themselves up to receiving feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. Don’t be afraid to inquire about a customer’s experience and face up to what’s right and wrong about how your company is handling customer interactions.

In the same way, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. When someone says they’re satisfied, be confident enough to ask if they’d be willing to refer you to a friend. Show why it’s beneficial for both sides. Everyone loves giving, receiving, and referring great customer service.

Remember, there’s a bank on every corner. Financial institutions are a dime a dozen. So when a customer finds an outstanding one, they should be proud of making such a smart choice. And your financial brand should be proud to be among the best in the business!