In the banking sector, touchpoints are a fundamental aspect of the business, since they represent the way, the channel, with which the bank speaks to its clients and reaches them with communications of various types, commercial and otherwise.
Among other things, touchpoints, like many other elements of banking, have changed over the years and, particularly in the last period, are increasingly digital. After all, as we pointed out in a previous post on digital banking trends for 2022, digitization is now a trend as well as a necessity that all institutions will have to cope with.
And touchpoints are obviously no exception.
An approach that can make a difference
To really understand the importance of so-called touchpoints, it’s good to start with the definition.
Touchpoints are defined as the channels through which the company and the customer can come into contact. There are more traditional touchpoints and more innovative ones. Digital transformation has not invented touchpoints, but it has greatly increased their number, providing banks and other sectors with a large number of different channels that can be handled in different ways.
Among the traditional touchpoints, there are the physical counters that the customer turns to carry out certain actions or the classic telephone customer service that many customers turn to when there is a problem to be solved.
The most innovative touchpoints, on the other hand, are those that make use of digital technologies, such as email, websites, and social networks. The sum of all these touchpoints contributes to creating the opinion of the product or service and the attitudes and behaviors of the customer towards the brand. That’s why they are a non-negligible element of any business and, indeed, must be taken into account by banking organizations when building the marketing strategy.
After all, touchpoints are the basis of Customer Experience Management (CEM), i.e. the “system of marketing strategies and technologies focused on customer engagement, satisfaction, and experience.” It is precisely the touchpoints that allow a banking institution to build a bond between the company and its customers, through the experience that is offered and that is able to bind customers to its brand in a lasting way.
Many banking touchpoints, two approaches
The increase in touchpoints over the years and the steady rise in their importance in marketing strategies means that different approaches to their use have developed. If the only possible approach was initially the single-channel approach (of communication and sales), i.e. the physical one, now there are two alternatives that allow you to make the most of your usable touchpoints.
The first is the multi-channel approach, which involves “implementing a single marketing strategy across multiple channels or platforms to maximize opportunities to interact with potential customers.
In this way, the same message is distributed across multiple channels in order to reach different audiences on different channels and interact with them using different dynamics and platforms, often without distinction between the “real” and digital worlds.
Another type of approach – which also takes its cue from the multichannel approach – is the omnichannel approach, which differs from the former in that it is integrated across all channels.
Omnichannel refers to the synergistic management of the various contact points and channels of interaction between the company and the consumer in order to optimize the consumer’s experience. In other words, it’s a holistic, all-encompassing approach to the user whereby the individual channels don’t function as separate blocks but intertwine and communicate with each other in such a way that each experience can start at one touchpoint, continue through another touchpoint, and end through a third, even different touchpoint.
Also, in this case, the advantage is perceived by the user who feels put at the center of an absolutely immersive and fluid customer experience, which adapts to their tastes and behaviors. However, companies also reap the benefits of this type of approach, as they are better able to cross-reference data and information about their customers and use it to improve future campaigns.
Beyond the touchpoints that one decides to activate, these are the two main ways to control them; obviously, the modalities change depending on which channel you decide to activate. But to identify the right way, you have to dwell on each touchpoint specifically.
The phygital branch
The first touchpoint that comes to mind in banking is obviously the branch, which for years has been an effective tool for banking organizations to maintain a local presence, reaching all citizens.
Now, this function is provided by far more effective and less expensive digital solutions, and this is also why the number of branches is slowly decreasing. Does this mean that branches are going to disappear?
Certainly not, as long as it is managed in a modern and somewhat omnichannel way. In fact, it’s necessary to connect these “analog” environments with digital ones, so that one amplifies the other. In this sense, it is fundamental to build “phygital” realities where the customer experience takes place correctly and without interruptions from any device to the branch and vice versa.
At the same time, it is necessary to make the branch a place where customers can find a greater added value: the simplest and most routine operations must be able to be carried out also and above all remotely, while the branches must perform more of a consulting activity, where the human component and the direct relationship with customers play a decisive role.
The digital branch: the website
Another key touchpoint for banks to properly guard is their website, as it represents, in a sense, the digital version of their branch.
The first thing to pay attention to is visibility: if your page doesn’t come up as one of the first results of a search, it’s as if it doesn’t even exist, since most users stop at the first results they find on the web.
That’s why it’s fundamental to make sure that your website and its contents are optimized from an SEO point of view in order to increase your position in search. From this point of view, there are some specific strategies to practice to obtain this result: for example, it is important to identify some original or relevant keywords for the topics covered so that relevant pages may be found through search engines.
In the same way, it is important to insert some visual elements in your website, such as infographics, which make the content of the page more intelligible and are “liked” by users and consequently increase the average time spent on the pages. The same goes for photos and videos, in fact, these are very valuable elements for SEO optimization, since sites with this type of content are valued in the search phase and, therefore, are more findable by users.
Beyond the format, another way is to create content that is interesting, engaging, and relevant to users. In other words, exploit the dynamics of content marketing, the strategic approach that involves relevant and valuable content to attract and acquire a specific audience and push it towards profitable actions.
The advantages of this strategy are obvious: for a small investment, content marketing is able to generate three times more leads than traditional marketing techniques because 77% of users read blogs; this allows companies to achieve a conversion rate that is 6 times higher.
The “traditional” but still current touchpoint: the email
Undoubtedly, email is one of the most loved and used touchpoints by banks and not only, since it makes it possible to address the customer directly.
In this case, the keyword is relevance: considering the huge number of emails you receive every day, being relevant and attracting the user’s attention is fundamental.
One way to do this is once again to focus on effective formats, i.e. images or even more so videos, which significantly improve the performance of each email. In addition to making messages easier to understand and remember, a video embedded in an email increases the open rate by 19%, increases the click-through rate by 65%, and reduces user abandonment by 26%. These results are remarkable, especially if you consider that they can be obtained even with content that is often complex and not easy to understand, such as that related to banking and finance.
Another very important strategy to exploit to attract the user’s attention is undoubtedly personalization.
However, this does not mean simply stating the user’s name at the beginning of the text; on the contrary, it is necessary to take personalization to a higher level so that the customer really has the feeling of being put at the center of communication that specifically concerns him and is dedicated solely to him.
From this point of view, Doxie Video is an excellent solution, since it combines an interactive video experience, where the user can decide autonomously how to continue the video according to the choices he makes within it, with perfect personalization. In this way, even the most complex messages, such as those related to banking and financial services, become accessible, but above all, memorable.
The banking touchpoint that reduces distances: social networks
Another invaluable touchpoint for banks is social networking, as it allows the company to “warm-up” communication, which, in the case of banks, is usually perceived by customers as cold or too technical.
At the same time, social media also allows for more direct communication, where the distance that usually exists between banks and clients is greatly reduced. In addition, this type of platform is perfect for amplifying the key messages of a campaign or the features of a new product.
With an effective retargeting strategy, it is possible to reach users who may have already visited the site or clicked on a banner with a more specific communication, which continues the story of the product. And then social networks are a perfect showcase for giving “body” to the credit institution’s most important values, through engaging content.
Even in this case, however, it’s important to understand how to manage them correctly, so that communication is effective and, above all, consistent with the type of social network and users that can be reached.
On Facebook, for example, a banking institution has to operate in a way that is easy for its audience to understand, with information that isn’t too technical. For this reason, it’s good to use a simpler language, and above all, to use formats that are suitable to capture the attention of users, such as videos, which must always be simple and concise.
On LinkedIn, on the other hand, there can be a change in tone. Since there are mainly professionals, communications can be more sectoral, using the more technical content, which talks not only about the services offered by the institution, but also addresses and explores topics relevant to an audience of experts.
In this way, the bank can become an interesting point of reference for those working in the sector, thus improving its reputation. At the same time, it can increase its network, gathering contacts and information on various professionals or specific clients to be contacted at a later date for specific activities.
As the objective changes, so do the touchpoints that need to be activated, so that each communication is effective and functional to the growth of the business. The real challenge, however, remains that of activating them all in different ways, but always within a single and coherent strategy.