Making customer interactions personal for a digitized world

As in-branch visits decrease and the number of digital transactions increase, it will be more important than ever to ensure customer interactions are personalized and user friendly. This means banks will want to make it as easy as possible for customers to quickly access their funds whenever and however it’s most convenient.  

The Push Toward Personalization 

Gratified by online marketers that “push” tailored recommendations to them, consumers are looking for that same proactive, personalized experience in a digital format. That’s a challenge for community bankers—and an opportunity.  

Here are a few areas we anticipate will be in high demand, and some ways TCM Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of ICBA Bancard, will continue helping our agent bank credit card partners incorporate them for improved customer engagements. 

  1. A shift in focus from product sales to the quality of the customer experience. Community banks’ reputation for personal service already gives them an edge in delivering memorable customer experiences. However, unless customer data is systematically gathered and shared across product silos and marketing channels, it’s hard to truly personalize messages or assess an overall customer experience. To refocus on customer satisfaction, banks may want to consider outsourcing management of some specialized products. 

  2. Focusing on personalized preferences or circumstances. A strong customer data platform can help deliver the right message at the right time. It’s also the basis of an individualized website experience. At TCM, we are regularly evaluating our credit card portfolio to assess cardholder spend trends and credit card usage patterns.  This allows us to design campaigns tailored to specific customer segments. For example, a ‘spend and get’ campaign or low promotional purchase APR can help shift spend to a TCM-issued card. We’ve also found success with paperless statement incentive campaigns, which aligns with our efforts toward creating a digital customer experience. 

  3. Emphasis on community engagement. Coming out of the pandemic, consumers are even more focused on how they can help support their community. In the marketing tools that TCM offers agent banks, we reinforce the message that community banks are local and personal. We also co-sponsor programs that help our bank partners highlight their commitment to local causes. Social media can be another powerful tool to communicate how your bank supports the community.

  4. Exploring digital channels and tools. Providing in-branch and drive-thru services will continue to be an important offering, but that doesn’t negate the need to service customers online and in a timely fashion. Customized emails, social media ads, display ads, pay-per-click and Google ads also makes it easier to reach current and prospective customers where they are now. And don’t forget to keep your bank’s website up to date and easy to navigate. This is an important representation of your bank and brand. 

  5. Focus on improving the customer experience. Amazon turned a customer pain point—shipping costs—into a plus with the creation of Prime. Treat each customer’s experience as a learning opportunity and chance to cross promote an offering or introduce a new service. This can help transform your customer’s perception of your bank. 

  6. Competitive products. The pandemic hasn’t changed the need to back up great customer care with superior products and services. It’s why TCM was founded by ICBA Bancard—to serve as a trusted advisor and agent bank credit card issuer to community banks, helping build and strengthen customer relationships with a market competitive and fully branded consumer and business credit card agent program. Coupled with our top-notch, in-house customer service, this allows our bank partners to punch above their weight to be successful. 

Agnes Nasso is vice president of marketing at TCM Bank, N.A.