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Voice of the Customer: How “active listening” drives meaningful consumer engagement

  • Successful bankers act on feedback from their customers in relation to in-person or digital experiences, as consumers hold the key to improving how financial institutions conduct day-to-day business.
  • Today’s consumers have very little patience for financial institutions that do not place them at the center of the customer journey. Ignoring feedback from critical customer journey key points can drastically impede customer acquisition and retention.
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Voice of the Customer: How “active listening” drives meaningful consumer engagement

Todd Robertson, Senior Vice President of Business Development, ARGO

Successful bankers are always seeking feedback from their customers in relation to in-person or digital experiences. With the incorporation of omnichannel capabilities, financial institutions can monitor consumer satisfaction, regardless of whether the encounter was digital or at a local branch. Today, consumers hold the key to improving how financial institutions conduct day-to-day business.

Unsurprisingly, organizations that are proactive in soliciting consumer responses are better prepared to address and correct issues contributing to user frustration during the consumer journey. However, a lack of understanding about their target audiences often prohibits businesses from incorporating predictive observation tools that can help them to better understand those pain points and needs.

Why customers leave

Consumers want to feel emotionally connected to their financial intuition. According to Gallup, consumers who experience emotional satisfaction stay longer and are more valuable. Inattention to emotional needs and lack of differentiated engagement negatively impacts a consumer’s emotional experience when engaging with financial institutions, even leading them to end the relationship. Today’s digital-savvy consumers expect personalization centered around their unique stage of life and financial health. 

As we have exited the pandemic, the consumer’s expectation has been shaped by their frictionless experiences in other brands. Whether depositing a check or applying for a mortgage, the complexity of the transaction should not be excessively difficult. Financial institutions must ensure that they are leveraging these digital capabilities strategically and proactively to anticipate user problems before they occur.

Improving the consumer experience does not stop at removing friction. Consumers want to feel that their banks and credit unions are paying attention at all touch points and have a clear understanding of their needs by providing relevant engagement. Delivering personalized experiences like offering users actionable, targeted tips on reaching their specific financial goals can help strengthen relationships with clients. This not only helps them gain greater control over their finances, but it can also help retain those customers who may grow frustrated with stale, irrelevant or outdated resources.

How Voice of the Customer can be used to drive consumer-centric engagement

Voice of the Customer (VOC) describes a consumer’s feedback about their experiences with an organization related to products, services and brand expectations. Technological capabilities like digital sensory marketing allow institutions to listen and understand customer intent and propensity through detected website navigation and behavior. Listening and quantifying signal strength enables appropriately timed and relevant response engagement.

This data provides institutions with an advantage in the consumer journey. VOC campaigns equip institutions with the tools to understand consumer pain points and analyze them efficiently to isolate root causes and needs. Focusing on the true cause of the friction allows institutions to reach a solution more efficiently. Organizations that are proactive in addressing consumer feedback can quickly remove or correct matters that are exacerbating customer frustration and dissatisfaction. Ultimately, this will increase the quality and positioning of an institution’s brand. The critical elements for improving overall customer retention include:

1. Proactive leadership 

2. Customer value recognition 

3. Customer feedback 

4. Relationship expansion/retention 

5. Intuitive and frictionless fulfillment

6. Predictive analytics to gauge propensity to purchase

Four pillars of listening

In the pure digital channel, financial institutions often have more difficulty listening to their clients and prospects than they did when face-to-face. However, digital technology is quite capable of supporting and driving active listening through automated channels. Digital active listening permits institutions to fully focus on their customers’ needs, while responding in a manner that makes them feel heard.

A successful Voice of the Customer model considers:

1. Sensory listening detectors — detecting and interpreting customer needs based on digital behavior. 

2. Personal financial planning — obtaining self-disclosed information related to client needs.

3. Intelligent questionnaires — asking a single query or posing a series of related survey questions to obtain direct feedback.

4. Customer help requests — receiving user input from digital tools like Chat, clicks on frequently asked questions (FAQs), or a dedicated Help link.

Today’s consumers have very little patience for financial institutions that do not place them at the center of the customer journey. Ignoring feedback from critical customer journey key points, like following up on new account openings and service interactions, can drastically impede customer acquisition and retention. Financial institutions that rid themselves of outdated tactics and practices will see an uptick in consumer interest and will be more equipped to act on said interest sooner. 


As Senior Vice President of Business Development for ARGO, Todd Robertson works with over 500 banks to transform customer experiences and improve operational efficiency.

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