11 Sep How the Financial Services Industry can win back trust through LinkedIn?
All things digital continues to dominate the financial services industry with increasing investment in new technology and innovation across a host of platforms. However, more work needs doing in this area. The trust in the financial brands is at a low level. It’s hardly surprising that it has become one of the least trusted industries in the world, and LinkedIn is agitating for the financial services industry to look to their way of solutions.
In the financial services sector, we are lagging behind and not prepared for the ongoing digital transformation that is upon us. Too little is being done to bring the industry up to speed despite the awareness of the need.
This is a major cause for eroding trust from its customers and employees.
The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual, global survey that gauges consumer trust across business, media, government, and NGOs. The 2017 report shows that for the first time, “Business is on the brink of distrust”. For financial services industry, the trust makeover needs to start now and LinkedIn is agitating for finance brands to look their way for solutions.
Only 52% of those surveyed for the Edelman Trust Barometer said they trust business to do what is right. It’s a finding which LinkedIn cite as part of their ‘Masterclass for Finance Marketers’, which is run three to four times a year in their London office.
Customer loyalty is key
With the influx of new, agile players on the market, today’s customer does not view changing providers as a chore and will switch more frequently if the offer is good. 80% of customers who switched providers stated that it was due to poor service. Conversely, 61% of banking customers said they expect to have more online interactions through digital services.
Social media is a key tool for data-driven marketing
The truth is, the finance industry has always used data to better understand their customers. However, this is exactly the place where the trust issues start. A survey done by EY Consulting have uncovered that 78% of people surveyed believed that financial companies only use their data to figure out how to make more money from their customers, and not how to give them a better experience or a better product. It is simply used for ROI purposes.
However, it also found that the more digitally savvy customers are happy to share additional personal data in exchange for more favourable offers such as cash benefits, discounts or loyalty rewards.
Social Media is more than just a communications platform. It can be a real key tool for customer data collection, bridging demographic gaps across age, education and habits. Data collection combined with analytics and customer segmentation is crucial to ensure companies are future-proofing their brand’s marketing.
Financial brands’ need for trust
Edelman Intelligence, the research division that compiles the Edelman report describes trust as a predictor of whether stakeholders will find you credible in the future, will embrace new innovations you introduce and will enthusiastically support you. “Trust is a valuable asset for all institutions, and ongoing trust-building activities should be one of the most important strategic priorities for every organisation,” the report says.
LinkedIn’s Financial Masterclass quotes the 2016 McKinsey & Company report, A Brave New World for Global Banking, which talks about the need for a major transformation in the industry. Reasons for that include strict regulatory environments, the impacts of digitisation including the arrival of nonbanks, in particular, artificial intelligence such as chatbots that are threatening to take over the all-important one-to-one relationships with their customers.
How to build trust on LinkedIn and other platforms
At present, traditional banks still win the trust war overall with a rating of 36.6% versus 23.6% for fintechs. But it seems that after customers have had a positive experience with a fintech, that changes, with 56.3% of those people trusting non-traditional versus 52.9% for traditional banks.
So, how do you build trust and compete with fintech and trusted online brands? And how do you communicate to your customers that you are worthy of their trust?
If these questions were asked of LinkedIn, they would immediately point to the size of their network, with a total of 500 million professionals including 7.6 million small business owners, 300 million mass affluent and 8 million affluent millennials. LinkedIn’s promise includes access to the right audiences through many levels of targeting, as well as marketing solutions to ensure engagement at each stage of the customer journey, and data-driven insights.
According to LinkedIn, and I have to agree, trust is now built by “taming the content beast”. They argue that their platform – from organic posts and showcase pages, to Pulse groups and paid strategies – is the place for your audience to find someone they can trust. This argument is further explored in their financial services website.
Does content build more trust versus traditional advertising and PR?
In short, the answer is a resounding yes! According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, individuals are more believable than institutions. 60% of respondents believe “a person like yourself” is now just as credible as a technical or academic expert. Employees are seen as the most trusted spokespeople on issues such as treatment of employees/ customers, financial earnings/operational performance, and business practices/crisis handling.
Another report regularly cited by LinkedIn, the Demand Gen Reporton B2B buying, finds that ‘peers and colleagues’ ranks as the third most important resource for researching purchases, after ‘web search’ and ‘vendor websites’. The report also notes that 40% of those surveyed describe LinkedIn as “very important” in their research process, with another 41% calling it “somewhat important”.
In summation, the financial services industry needs to balance the older generations’ preference for in-person interaction with the younger demographic’s digital preference. Technology is still mistakenly viewed as a lower priority driver of customer satisfaction, with The Financial Brand report citing that only 37% of organisation have a formal customer experience plan.
It’s a mighty argument for “taming the content beast” and putting that content in the hands of people who are “like” your audience. If you want to start making inroads to that trust barometer… LinkedIn’s not a bad place to start.
About the Author
Sue Mills is a marketing, sales and digital specialist to the financial service sector, and the owner of Sassy Marketing & Communications. With over 20 years of experience working for and with financial planners, accountants, brokers and advisors she shows her clients how to step up and out to be sustainable and thrive in their practices through adopting smart and valuable marketing strategies. Call Sue on 0477 468 888 for a confidential discussion or visit Sassy Marketing.