Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen The Competition and Markets Authority investigate the retail banking sector in the UK to try to open the banking sector to newer, smaller banks which find it difficult to enter the market and grow.
For such a long time, older and larger banks have held competitive advantages, so we’ve seen less disruption and technology innovation in banking, and only a handful of new players in comparison to the major disruption we’ve seen in other sectors by brands like Airbnb and Uber.
Competition has suffered, as Banks haven’t had to try very hard to fight for customers. This means that people are paying more than they should for current services and products and are not benefitting from new services or the impact of new technologies.
The CMA’s new banking regulations are designed to change this status quo, which should mean benefits to customers. There’s no doubt that when it comes into effect, we’re going to see a hive of online activity as well as a bigger fight for customers on the high street.
But to win, online banks will need to have a sophisticated and ‘active’ digital knowledge management strategy and here’s why. Banks will immediately face increased competition which will lead to more comparing of products and services and switching, resulting in customers searching online for more information about banks than ever before. Banks will have to pay more attention to the digital knowledge, the public facts about their business that appear online.
They will have to make sure that information relating to products, services and places is accessible, detailed and accurate across the whole digital ecosystem down to a location level. This may sound simple, but how can a bank ensure it is the single and central source of truth for the public facts about its business when there’s so many places a brand appears online?
It will also propel the importance of customer advocacy, recommendations will become a core influencer of customer choice. So, for the first time, banks will need a comprehensive and active review strategy across the whole digital ecosystem. Here are three key things banks can do to create and implement an effective digital knowledge management strategy:
1 Take control of your brand
The digital ecosystem is a complex web of information and often businesses find there’s information about them in places they didn’t know exist.
Take control of the public facts and information about your business. Search yourself and see what happens, make sure you understand where and what consumers see about your business across every device and platform. You need a vibrant and active presence. This isn’t just Google and Facebook, you need to include Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, Bing, car GPS systems, maps, apps, Apple, Yelp etc
2 Maintain and manage accurate business data and deploy rich localised content
A bank must be able to manage and maintain facts and attributes including locations, opening hours, products and services, and ensure this data is accurate and represented on web pages per individual locations.
The richer the information about your business, the better so include photos and videos, business descriptions, products, service offerings, local promotions and events and Snapchat Geofilters. It’s imperative to have a robust internal system to centralise this data or find partners to automate this. Managing this data manually is extremely labour and time intensive especially if you have hundreds of locations.
3 Understand the digital review ecosystem
Make sure that you understand where online reviews appear, for example, search and map results on mobile and desktop include star ratings of your locations.
Take the time to get to grips with the review policies of each platform, for example, Google will only pull reviews from your own website if they are first-party and Google loves sites like Yelp and Facebook and gives them prominence due to their highly relevant fresh content.
No matter how well you run your business, you will inevitably receive negative reviews. How you handle these reviews is crucial to your reputation.
Responding to negative reviews allows you to resolve issues as they arise with the goal of winning those customers over. Businesses who respond to online reviews are 68% more likely to raise their rating by half a star in 6 months. It’s a clear signal to potential customers that you care about the customer experience.
Firing up your fans
Not actively fostering feedback online means you’re gambling with your reputation every time a customer reviews your business. Think about the last time you reviewed a business. Was it a spontaneous decision? Were you angry about a bad experience or jubilant about an amazing display of service? We know that most people tend to review a business when they’ve had a bad experience rather than a good one.
So, you need to fire up your fans. Make it easy for your customers to give you feedback in the right places and ask regularly. 7 out of 10 people will leave a review for a business when they’re asked. Make it part of the marketing effort. Doing so will help you sustain a presence on third-party review sites, protect your position and reputation in Google search results, and build goodwill with your customers. This is an opportunity for banks to build their reputation, drive customer engagement and demonstrate customer centricity.
Jon Buss, MD UK & Northern Europe, Yext
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