Show Customers that Their Opinions Matter

Like a lot of banks, you may routinely survey your customers. After all, soliciting feedback via surveys, assessments or questionnaires is an excellent way to discover how your customers feel about their relationship with your bank.

But are you really using the information to help your customers? Asking for feedback without taking prompt action on it can do more harm than good when it comes to building lasting relationships.

According to a Gartner report, although 95 percent of companies collect feedback, only 10 percent actually deploy and use it. Even fewer businesses (less than 5 percent) tell their customers what they have done with that feedback.

Too many banks waste money and weaken customer relationships by failing to follow up on customer input. When your bank asks for customer comments, you create an expectation that your bank will act on the feedback, either immediately or in the future. For this reason, it’s important that the organization has a process in place to acknowledge the responses.

It’s absolutely vital for banks to acknowledge those customers—people who took time out of their busy lives to fill out a survey—and to thank them for their responses, requests/suggestions. If you simply collect information, you run the risk of irritating your customers.

And, these days, many customers hesitate to provide feedback because they don’t believe it will lead to actual improvements. For too many banks, that’s true. While it may not be necessary to personally follow up with every customer, you do owe everyone some kind of response indicating the steps you’re taking as a direct result of their feedback.

Following up with customers lets them know you’re serious about your intent to listen, learn and improve their experience. Customers are also much more likely to take time to complete a survey the next time you ask if they know you’ll actually do something with the data they provide.

Even if you don’t follow up immediately or in depth with all respondents, your bank still needs to provide some level of feedback to all its customers—even those who did not respond. A “thank you” at the end of the survey isn’t enough.

From the time a customer completes a survey, they’re waiting to see what will be done with their feedback. A connection has to be made between listening and the actions your bank takes to improve the customer experience.

Follow-up communications to survey responders can range from handwritten thank-you notes to personal phone calls. Broad-based communications in the form of an email or newsletter is an effective way to let all your customers know that you’ve heard their concerns and are taking appropriate action (“You’ve indicated you’d like our bank lobbies to stay open later at least one night per week, so starting in April our lobbies will be open until 8 p.m. on Thursday evenings).

Providing timely feedback to your customers illustrates that your bank is responsive to its customers, values their relationships and genuinely wants to meet their banking expectations. In some cases, it also provides a crucial opportunity to win back a customer’s trust and possibly save the relationship.

You can strengthen customer relationships and differentiate yourself from the competition by being one of the few banks that actually reports back to customers on how their feedback is being acted on.