Customer Advocacy Has Been Shown to Be The Key Driver of Customer Loyalty
According to Forrester Research, customer advocacy is the perception on the part of consumers that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for the firm’s own bottom line. For over 10 years, Forrester Research has shown that advocacy is the key driver of customer loyalty at retail financial services firms. Loyalty, in turn, yields the most sustainable revenue growth and profitability for these firms. When consumers feel a financial services firm acts in their best interest, they’re willing to invest more, borrow more, and buy more products from that firm.
That means increased share of wallet!
Not only did research by IBM Global Business Services (see white paper offer below) replicate the Forrester findings but they also isolated three statements that correlate most highly with customers and members who become loyal advocates for their bank or credit union. They refer to them as “the emotive drivers of the customer relationship” or in other words, why consumers chose to give most or all of their business to a particular financial services provider. Loyal advocates feel strongly that their provider:
- Has an understanding of their financial goals
- Helps them improve their financial well-being
- Values their business
How does member and customer loyalty tie into sales training?
Your Challenge – If you didn’t get to this page from our homepage, you may have landed here doing a search for either customer loyalty or sales training. In either case, it’s a major challenge to get your customers or members to invest more, borrow more, and buy more products from you weeks, months and years down the road long after they opened a few initial accounts.
You want sales training that will equip your staff to cross sell while handling basic business transactions but you also want them to be skilled at getting those customers or members back with future needs. Unfortunately, most sales training programs don’t deliver both sets of skills.
Your staff can cross sell products all day long. The reality is you are not likely to be top-of-mind when customers or members need advice or are considering additional products and services. Most consumers don’t have a strong emotional connection to their bank or credit union so it’s easy for them to give some of their business to other financial service providers. Don’t you just hate when that happens?
Your challenge may include questions like these:
- “Will they think of us when they need advice or just ask friends and associates for a recommendation?”
- “What is their level of trust with us?”
- “Will they write us off because they assume we probably don’t offer the product or service they need?”
- “How do we get business from all those customers/members who don’t visit our branches, may be disengaged and don’t even have a personal contact with us?”
- “Why aren’t our customers/members more loyal so we don’t have to be concerned about these issues anyway?”
Most Sales Training Firms’ Approach – Search the content of any sales training provider’s web site to see if they even mention anything about turning your customers or members into loyal advocates. We bet you’ll come up short. There are some that say they help you build relationships and loyalty but they’re relying on the misguided belief that “the more accounts a customer has, the deeper the relationship”. Wrong.
Just think of the majority of your members who open accounts online, never visit a branch and don’t have a trusting relationship with any of your staff. How realistic is it that these customers or members outside your orbit would agree with the statements in the IBM Business Services research? My financial services provider:
- Has an understanding of my financial goals
- Helps me improve my financial well-being
- Values my business
What you can expect from most sales training firms is tactical (transactional) selling skills and a conventional sales culture that generates mostly short term business from “not so loyal” customers or members who view you as a commodity. They may or may not seek your advice for more significant, future financial needs. They may just shop elsewhere.
The problem with focusing on transactional sales skills is your staff can rarely get to know a customer or member well enough to deepen the relationship and turn them into a loyal advocate. When you have a relationship building culture that creates loyal advocates, your staff’s first priority is to build a foundation of trust. By entering customer or member preferences and life events into profiles they’re able to anticipate future needs. The customer feels valued, their financial well-being is actually improving and they naturally think of you when a future need arises.
Learn The Differences Between a Conventional Sales and Service Culture and a Relationship Building Culture
The High Definition Banking® Approach – Our approach goes beyond just sales training and sales leadership training. We provide a structured, measurable and sustainable relationship building, sales training and coaching process that helps banks and credit unions build profitable member or customer relationships, create loyal advocates and generate organic revenue. Our process and training helps you cement the relationship first and generate business as a direct result of the relationship.
By transitioning away from a focus on solely transactional selling to more relationship selling, we help you develop a more strategic relationship building culture where member or customer loyalty is the engine that consistently drives revenue over both the short and long term. We train your staff not only to sell but also to deliver what turns customers and members into advocates. Here are some examples of what your staff will do with your customers or members to get them to invest more, borrow more, and buy more products from you weeks, months and years down the road:
- Build a trusting relationship and get to know them on a more personal level
- Engage the customer or member by demonstrating genuine interest and commitment to their financial well-being
- Work toward actually improving their financial position rather than simply selling isolated products
- Be viewed as a trusted financial partner and advisor and resource for borrowing, financial planning, investing, insurance and other financial needs
- Meet the three emotive drivers of a customer relationship most highly correlated with customer advocacy in the IBM Business Service research (see white paper below)
- Connect with them on a deeper level than is possible during transactional selling
- Speak to their needs, dreams, goals and aspirations
- Create a memorable experience by meeting their emotive drivers
- Win their trust and confidence leading to more business
- Make a difference in people’s lives
Foremost, the ultimate and unexpected experience that engages customers or members, wins their loyalty, and drives all bank services and products is to connect with them on a more personal level and help them achieve their financial goals. If you’ve had trouble building customer loyalty, turning members or customers into loyal advocates, download our white paper here. Then contact us.