Here’s a pervasive customer service problem that the Brits have called out clearly.
According to a recent article in The Guardian, “UK customer service complaints at highest level on record, research finds…Complaint handling costs firms more than £9bn [approximately $10.9 billion US] a month in lost time amid supply issues and staffing crises…Customer service complaints have hit their highest level on record and are costing British businesses more than £9bn a month in lost staff time, research has found…As firms struggle to cope with global supply issues and a staffing crisis, the Institute of Customer Service found that more consumers were experiencing service issues than ever since its customer satisfaction index began in 2008.”
The article adds, “According to the customer satisfaction index…17.3% of UK customers are experiencing a product or service problem – the highest level since it launched in 2008…Amazon lost 0.3 points and dropped 19 places from third to 22nd place…More than a third of customers said they would pay more to guarantee excellent service….”
What would you do to solve this problem in a fintech environment? Then, how would you amplify the solution to fintech customers and other stakeholders?
This is where thought leadership enters the scene. Simply put, it’s one valuable way to tell the world about a solution and/or sincere steps being taken in that direction that can help customers (and other stakeholders such as employees as warranted).
Four decades ago, a major bank developed a headline reading, “We put impressive bank musculature to work for you.” (Yes, it really happened.) Who cares about your musculature? What’s in it for me? That’s become the mantra of the customer service movement, and its coattails extend to how employees, partners, vendors, and other stakeholders are treated. Show competent care for others, and the results will accrue to you in myriad ways.
Ultimately, legitimate customer service-driven thought leadership in fintech is the polar opposite of fake news. It addresses what’s real and documentable in a company’s efforts toward customer service success. And it becomes a powerful way to market those steps—made concrete because they’re provable and practiced reliably.
To be real and effective, thought leadership can be iterative. In the case of Amazon cited above, a series of thought leadership pieces detailing incremental steps to improve customer support is realistic versus claiming to solve the whole problem by waving a magic wand.
Sometimes, thought leadership requires admitting mistakes and shortcomings on the path to continuous improvement. In the end, it needs to communicate that the company is making a sincere effort, is moving forward productively, and is acknowledging that all is not perfect. Including a feedback loop is essential to ensure customers feel heard and appreciated—even when the “perfect” outcome is elusive.
It always requires being authentic. Say what you do. Do what you say. Despite all of today’s complexities, it’s always been that simple.
Thought leadership can take many forms
1. Article(s) addressing specific company strengths (and for the bold, weaknesses) that document commitments to, and success with, a variety of customer-service-oriented initiatives. These can be internally published/referenced via social media, blog posts, and other internal communications and published in third-party publications (including influential bloggers).
2. Whitepapers. Customer service whitepapers can generally be expansive, more detailed versions of thought leadership. Properly conceived and written, these can be repurposed in many ways. For example, this fintech Nexus article published in 2019 is a summarized version of a longer, detailed whitepaper.
3. Social media posts and campaigns. These can be excerpted from articles, whitepapers, and other thought leadership documents as source material.
4. Videos. Using thought leadership content already created, videos can be scripted and fashioned to support all types of messaging.
5. The Book. Is it time to write “the book?” The key is to identify compelling customer-service-driven thought leadership that inspires and incentivizes readers to adopt and enhance stellar customer service policies. Given a book’s bandwidth, this can be a great way to address all stakeholders as part of the customer service movement—so that “customer-oriented” content is developed for everyone—from employees to the planet-at-large. This is the essence of the worldwide B Corp movement, whose mission is stated elegantly on its website: “Make Business a Force For Good.”
Well into the future, when customer service and marketing have become one concept instead of separate ideas joined together as a partnership, doing good and financial success also will be the same.
Mark is the President of Lusky Enterprises, Inc., a 40-year established marketing communications company that champions customer service-driven marketing focusing on thought leadership articles, blog posts, social media, content libraries, whitepapers, and books.