3 Ways to Establish Trust in the Financial Services Industry

The vast majority of consumers trust banks to keep their money safe. However, people are still wary of forming deeper levels of connection with financial institutions.

“Consumers are likely to say that they trust their banks and insurers more than they did 12 months ago,” wrote the Accenture team in its 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study. “To maintain this trust, particularly when holding customers’ personal data, providers should demonstrate robust security measures while delivering value-adding insight and personalized services.” Financial services companies already have the technology in place to deliver security, valuable insights, and personalization. They just aren’t delivering it in ways that resonate with consumers.

Here are three ways financial service marketers can use data insights they already have to build trust via email.

Show customers that you have their back

No one enjoys overdrawing an account or having to shift bill due dates around when an emergency arises. By effectively tapping into consumer data, banks have the ability to alleviate those stresses on their consumers. 

“Customer data can be used to power targeted cross-selling, but it can also be used to protect customers by flagging potential credit card fraud in real-time or predicting that a customer may overdraw an account and automatically rescheduling a bill payment date to compensate,” wrote Alan McIntyre, FinTech Contributor for Forbes

Research shows that consumers are willing to share data with financial institutions, so long as they get value in return. As clients agree to share their data and opt-in to receive relevant updates, email marketers should utilize that to establish trust. 

For example, a massive opportunity exists for marketers to let customers know how they can avoid a penalty or late fee. Financial institutions have the data, and can detect when consumers’ accounts are low in funds. Sending an email ahead of time so clients know where they stand will save people time and money. And in the long-term, it will establish trust. 

Nothing builds confidence like having an institution looking out for your best interests in real-time, instead of leaving you in the dark to pay extra fees.  

Connect on an emotional level

It’s no secret that the financial industry has a reputation for being stuffy. It makes sense for institutions that are safeguarding consumers’ money to maintain a level of seriousness. 

But, trust isn’t built on cold, emotionless interactions. 

“Consumers are right-brained, meaning they rely more on feelings and emotions,” wrote Nina Church-Adams, SVP Marketing of Act-On, in an article for The Financial Brand. “Banking executives (at least in their business capacity) typically operate from a left-brained perspective, meaning they’re logical, analytical, mathematical and factual. To bridge this gap, financial marketers should apply left-brain analytics to processes that facilitate right-brain communications, such as presenting smart financial choices that appeal to the emotional sense rather than a numbers-first approach.”

Instead of simply pushing out rates and offers, marketers have the opportunity to connect their communications to consumers’ life stages. If a consumer has a savings account labeled “My wedding dress” or “House repairs,” this opens the door for marketers to create content that resonates with those life events. 

Building content that goes beyond numbers will enable the customer to see how the financial institution fits into the greater picture of their life. 

Create relatable content (while avoiding the creepy factor) 

Trust is earned when a consumer feels heard and understood. Relatable content goes a long way in achieving that. But, there’s a line between being relatable and being intrusive. 

Here’s an example: Earlier this year, a financial institution made news for aggregating data of consumers’ spending habits on Valentine’s Day. To seem relatable, the company created content about women who spent money on takeout meals for one person. Even though the bank didn’t call out consumers individually by name – in that moment, the institution’s female customers felt as though their trust was violated. They felt they were being judged for their choices/habits/lifestyle choices.

A better approach would have been to aggregate data from similar customers and deliver personalized recommendations of offers, restaurants, and stores to consumers who would benefit. Research shows, time and again, that consumers want to receive personalized recommendations on products and services. Brands that do this well are building a level of trust by letting the customer know that they are understood and valued.