Many consumers already have an established relationship with a trusted bank that provides familiarity and a sense of reliability. If they find value in the bank’s financial support, they tend to stick around.
That makes existing customers essential to a bank’s future growth. However, in today’s landscape, many financial institutions focus on acquiring new customers, rather than satisfying the needs of their existing customer base. Data shows that although existing customers make up 65% of a company’s business, 44% of companies focus on customer acquisition, while only 16% focus on retention.
While acquiring new customers is vital to the growth of a financial institution, it is crucial that the existing customers are not left behind. Nurturing these relationships can produce significant benefits for an organization; but those who struggle to manage what is in house already will only compound the issues when adding new customers.
While acquiring customers is important to growing portfolios, loyal customers generate more revenue every year they stay at a bank. New customers might be more cautious about purchasing new products until they are comfortable with the financial institution. Existing clients who are already familiar with the bank, and trust and value their products, tend to buy more over time. This plays out in other sectors as well: Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, on average, compared to new customers, according to research cited by Forbes.
Existing customers are also less costly as they require less marketing efforts, which frees up resources, time, and costs. New customer acquisition costs have increased by almost 50% in the past five years, which means the cost of acquiring a new customer is about seven times that of maintaining an existing relationship.
Additionally, loyal customers act as mini marketers, referring others to their trusted institution and increasing profit margins without the bank having to advertise. According to data, 77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after a single positive experience. This word-of-mouth communication supplements bank marketing efforts, freeing up resources for the customer acquisition process.
So how can banks improve their customer retention rate?
Be proactive. Banks have more than enough data they can use to anticipate the needs of existing customers. Those that see this data as an opportunity can gain a more holistic view into their existing client base and unlock opportunities that boost retention rates. For instance, lenders can use data like relative active credit lines, income, spending patterns and life stages to cultivate a premium user experience through personalized offers that are guaranteed and readily available. A proactive approach eliminates the potential of an existing customer being rejected for a loan — which happens 21% of the time — and allows them to shop with confidence.
Promote financial wellness. Having this insight into customers also allows banks to boost retention rates through financial wellness programs that help equip them with opportunities to enjoy financial competency and stability. Did they move to a new state? Did they have a baby? Do they have a child going off to college? Banks can acknowledge these milestones in their customers’ financial lives and tailor communication and relevant recommendations that show their support, create long-lasting and trusting relationships, and help the bank become top of wallet when the customer purchases a product or service.
Put the customer in the driver’s seat. Banks can present existing customers with a menu of products and services immediately after they log onto their online banking portal. Customers can weigh a range of attractive capabilities and select what they want, rather than receive a single product that was offered to tens of thousands of prospects with hopes they are in the market. This removes the fear of rejection and confusion that can occur when applying through a traditional lending solution.
Be a true lending center. If banks want to distinguish their online and mobile banking platform as more than a place to make transfers and check balances, they must provide branch and call center staff with the tools to evolve into a true lending center for customers. Existing customers should be able to find support and guidance inside their online banking accounts, apply for and receive appropriate products, make deposits, and so much more from the palm of their hand.
To remain a standard in their communities, banks must recognize the true value behind customer retention. This can help banks not only secure a prime spot in its customers’ financial lives but grow loan portfolio, boost engagement and gain or retain a strong competitive edge.