Fulfilling customer needs and delivering an exceptional experience at every stage of the journey should be a priority in every customer-centric organization but it’s particularly important in the wake of COVID-19 and the financial insecurity it’s created.

Defining customer-centricity and embracing empathy-driven consumer experiences brings benefits for providers as well as clients. According to Forrester, among those who feel valued by their bank, 71% plan to stay with that bank, 87% will advocate for it, and 82% plan to spend more money.

Don’t segment by wealth brackets only 

Customer segmentation isn’t a new tactic when it comes to customer service. But many organizations segment customers solely based on demographic and wealth.

However, developing services and driving engagement in a way that’s focused on your customer’s financial well-being requires a different segmentation model.

For example, what about gender? Women have different financial health concerns than men. 

And then there are life events. People have different attitudes to their finances at different points in their lives, from university to retirement.

To help organizations understand their customers’ financial resilience and their perceived level of financial security, Forrester has developed an alternative segmentation model. This empowers companies to build digital experiences that really meet their customers’ needs.

Forrester proposes four customer profiles:

  1. Stretched Spenders: these customers are most likely to have experienced reduced income and have bills they can’t pay due to the pandemic. Their financial challenges include daily expenses, debt and loan repayments, and saving.
  2. Carefree Spenders: while these customers are also focused on building savings, daily expenses, meeting debt and loan repayments, and affording a house, they consider their financial situation more stable and comfortable.
  3. Security Seekers: while these customers can still pay bills, COVID-19 may have resulted in a loss of income or investment losses, making saving money and affording a house more of a challenge. The majority are also concerned about having money to retire comfortably and fear a recession might impact their plans.
  4. Cushioned Savers: these customers are dealing with relatively few financial hardships. Less than 10% consider savings, investment losses, affording a house, and medical expenses as challenges.

Show you care about your customers

Tailoring financial products, tools, content, and communication to your customers’ financial mindset, goals, and needs is essential to show that you value and respect them.

For example, a customer with debts or loans to pay back will appreciate an alert if it looks like they may struggle to meet an upcoming expense. Someone in a less stressful financial situation might be more interested in receiving personalized advice on how to save more money or plan for retirement.

Meanwhile, those looking for help investing want it from a human advisor. 58% of customers in Canada and 54% in the UK say they trust a human financial advisor more than software-based advice. For them, being able to schedule a conversation with their financial advisor at their own convenience could be a great banking experience, where internal data suggests that 75-85% would choose a remote advice meeting next time instead of visiting a branch.

For the advisor, 75% of wealth managers agree that using a tool like Unblu makes their work more efficient. Less administrative work (callbacks) and increased flexibility to address more customers while in the office or on trips really pay off.

Customer-centricity depends on an understanding of where a customer is in their life. What are their feelings about their finances and what financial challenges are they facing?

This understanding informs what kind of tools you offer, from collaborative capabilities like co-browsing to help with complex applications to live chat or video call—with seamless transitions available between all channels.

Segmenting customers is a great way to understand where they’re coming from, tailoring your service to better meet their needs. But segmentation by demographic and wealth alone fails to take into account a customer’s financial well-being and particular life circumstances. 

True customer-centricity requires an understanding of a customer’s feelings about their finances and the challenges they might be facing, with a flexible service that can be adapted accordingly.

Understand your customers to help improve their financial well-being

Learn how a holistic vision of your customer’s needs and mindset can create a more personalized and effective customer service. Download the latest Forrester report today.

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