Although it may be uncomfortable to hear, one of the biggest challenges facing the modern banking industry is a simple one — the lack of trust.
When it comes to winning customers, trust is one of the most important things that any industry or brand can have. And yet as recently as 2016, research showed that more than half of Americans have never trusted a financial institution enough to recommend it to friends and family.
At a time when banking services are increasingly commoditized, this is a sobering reality that banks must reckon with if they wish to be successful.
Simply put, banks that are unable to cultivate trust with their customers won’t have customers for very long. This has made it even more important to build trust as quickly and effectively as possible.
Build Customer Trust with Community Forum Management
One of the best ways to build trust with customers is through self-service community forums. Because forums are a place where customers go for assistance, they provide an opportunity for value-driven, intimate connections that are a framework around which trust can be built.
Below we look at three of the most important techniques banks can use to maximize customer trust from their community forum management.
1. Create a Community Around Dialogue
A great thing about community forums is how they offer the opportunity to dialogue with customers. Unlike traditional customer support channels, community forums provide an opportunity for banks to both help customers and be visible while doing so.
In the past, if a customer sought support, they would only get it through individualized, private channels. As an example, consider the traditional phone support system. While these interactions could be helpful, they would always exist in isolation from the rest of the community.
In contrast, support forums operate in the public sphere. This provides several key advantages when it comes to building trust. To start, any customer who comes across the forums can see the bank acting in a professional and helpful way to other customers. This cultivates the aura of an ever-present customer support system that truly cares.
In addition, it also allows support to be a community activity. Not only does this create trust through a sense of belonging, but it also uses the wisdom of the crowd to find better solutions.
And as it's been stated time and time again, the only brand advocates that are more powerful than happy customers are customers that were unhappy and then had their problem solved.
2. Get Personal
Although it's tempting to believe we live in some type of post-human digital age, the reality is that technology is based upon people and not the other way around.
The easiest way to get someone to trust you is to get personal with them — and this is something that community support forums excel at. The nature of forums as a back-and-forth discussion allows banks to create an impression of constant attention. If they use proper community management software, they will also have all the data they need about customers to personalize their responses and interactions.
Therefore, it bears repeating that the most critical component of using forums to build trust by getting personal is a powerful backend software that can generate, classify and leverage all of the necessary data.
3. Demonstrating Corporate Values
As mentioned above, community forums are by definition in the public sphere. And because everyone is watching, they provide banks the ability to showcase their corporate values.
This is a critical capability for banks that should not go unused. Demonstrating corporate values has been proven time and again to be one of the most important things banks can do to gain the trust of customers and the general public.
In practice this can take a number of forms. The most obvious is to show customers that you truly value them by projecting a patient, caring and helpful attitude towards their problems. Forums can also be used proactively to demonstrate corporate responsibility by facilitating discussion about important community issues and publicizing events that demonstrate the bank's commitment to social good.