For financial service firms, the connection between online reputation and consumer trust is an all-important one. Let’s put it this way: people don’t want to keep their money and assets with a company they do not trust.
Unlike, say, in the restaurant industry, where a brand’s reputation impacts the consumer’s decision to pay the cost of a meal, the risks, costs, and stakes involved in financial services are weightier. Your financial service firm’s reputation is so much more important for consumers as they’re looking for someone to whom they can entrust their personal savings, financial investments, home and mortgage, retirement plan, and health and well-being.
Online Reputation Management Tips for Financial Services Brands
The key to building a strong online reputation does not necessarily lie in hiring PR experts and compliance officers by the thousands, developing new digital strengths, or expanding loyalty programs.
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To get consumers to trust your financial services brand, you must stay on top of online reviews and customer feedback and prioritize investments in reputation management. Here are some tips to follow:
Tip 1: Manage Online Reviews
One of the most effective ways to build a strong reputation and inspire trust among potential and existing customers is to manage your online reviews. However, providers aren’t exactly meeting customer expectations. According to research:
- Banking and financial services, as an industry, is ranked second to last in terms of reputation score (63.2 / 100 points) compared to 15 other industries. (American Banker)
- Financial services brands have an average rating of 4.01 stars out of 5. (Online Reputation Analysis and Industry Report)
- 26% of consumers will leave a review after a negative experience at their local bank branch. (Customer Reviews Stats)
- In financial services, only 41% of reviews that talk about “value” are positive. (Online Reviews Statistics)
In the face of a 1-star rating on Google or Credit Karma, your firm’s knee-jerk reaction may be to want to reject online reviews altogether. But online review management is actually a great strategy for building consumer trust.
Not only do reviews have the potential to either attract or drive away customers. They are also a major reputation factor and a key source of information for consumers. Financial services consumers read reviews to evaluate their options.
By staying on top of reviews, and by listening and responding to unsolicited feedback, you can more effectively develop and sustain trust-based relationships with your customers and policyholders.
Not sure where to start? Check out this list of banking review sites to monitor.
Brands like OneMain Financial, nbkc bank, and American Family Insurance have learned how to harness reviews in ways that drive their search engine performance, social listening strategy, and customer experience management efforts.
Tip 2: Listen to the Voice of the Customer
Encourage online reviews, conduct surveys, and urge your customers to share and be more vocal about their experiences. Prove that you care about what they think. Invest in reputation management software tools and technologies that capture customer feedback.
Not only does this help you generate fresh, relevant content. It also harnesses the tremendous potential of having happy customers whose trust you have already earned. From static sources of revenue, they can become brand advocates who won’t hesitate to make recommendations and drive referrals for your business.
Of course, you won’t always get 5-star ratings and gushing praise — no company ever does — but that’s not the point. What’s important is your ability to show that your company embraces and values information provided directly by your customers.
Tip 3: Boost Your Social Media Presence by Integrating Reviews
Brands in banking and finance are already using social media as a marketing, sales, and service platform. But there is a huge opportunity in using reviews and their word-of-mouth marketing potential to work in harmony with your social media initiatives.
There are many ways you can integrate social + reviews. For example, instead of sharing a link to another blog post on your business locations’ Facebook page or Twitter profile, how about posting a screenshot of your latest 5-star review? It’s a great alternative to publishing promotional content and sales messages.
You can also share a link to your Yelp or LendingTree profiles to show that your arms (and ears) are open to what other people are saying about your brand. You can even use social media as a platform to rally your most satisfied and loyal customers into sharing their experiences with your company.
By leveraging reviews as a social media marketing asset, you can improve your online reputation and exert greater influence on consumer behavior.
Tip 4: Deliver Better Customer Experiences
It’s not enough that you have a great mix of financial products and services. You must deliver consistently excellent customer experiences, too. Banking customers and policyholders might be impressed with your digital strengths, rewards program, or coverage options, but this doesn’t necessarily equate to trusting you.
Grow your customer relationships beyond providing transactional convenience and focus instead on the customer experience. Make next-level service and support an investment priority. Reengineer your sales and marketing strategies based on customer feedback. And tailor your communications in ways that offer customers a better understanding of how your products and services can meet their goals and expectations.
The financial services industry will always have a unique set of challenges and opportunities — not least in the area of online reputation and consumer trust. By following the tips above, you can build a rock-solid online reputation, gain a competitive advantage, and develop meaningful customer relationships that improve your bottom line.