In today’s digital environment, banks and credit unions will win by providing customers with the choice to bank how they want, consistency across all channels and great experiences when the human touch is needed.  When you interact with customers are you effective? Do customers find your service convenient?  Will they entrust their biggest financial decisions with you? Will customers recommend you to their friends and family.

What is Customer Engagement?

Whether you’re attracting new banking customers, or serving the ones you’ve already have and expanding your existing customer relationships, being consistently effective in how you engage your customers across all channels is the difference between success or failure.

At Engageware, we look at Customer Engagement as the sum of all the different experiences a customer has at any moment in time. Engagement represents not just customer sentiment around one transaction, but the way customers interact with their FI across all experiences, in all channels, over time. 

While Customer Experience helps us better understand a single interaction, Customer Engagement is about understanding and growing the entire relationship and it’s needed at every stage of the customer’s banking journey.  It’s needed when a potential customer demonstrates an interest in a financial product your institution offers. It’s needed when a customer has questions or wants to conduct a transaction. It’s needed when a customer is looking for additional financial products. It’s needed when your customers are being marketed to by another bank or credit union. And it’s needed when your customers assess whether their relationship with your institution is meeting their financial goals and expectations.  

It’s good customer engagement that builds and grows the customer relationship and it’s good customer engagement that translates to customer trust, loyalty, and retention. You may have 100 customer experiences that all go positively, but still struggle to win a customer’s full engagement. That’s why the broader lens of customer engagement is so important. 

Why Customer Engagement Matters 

So, why does your ability to engage customers even matter? Why is good Customer Engagement more important than ever? From our perspective, there are three conditions that increase the importance of customer engagement in banking.  

1. Uncertainty Causes Consumers To Reassess

First, whenever there is a tremendous amount of economic uncertainty it causes consumers to reassess their financial health and possibly look to new banking relationships with another provider to address any concerns.  When consumers experience a dramatic increase in inflation and interest rates everyone is affected. Add in destabilizing geopolitical conditions and concerns over potential recession and consumers will scrutinize their financial condition and choices more than ever. What they decide, and where they decide to bank becomes hyper competitive.  

2. Consumer Expectations Are Higher

Because of the ubiquity of services like Amazon and Netflix, consumers today have higher expectations than ever for any service – banking included. They’re looking for financial offerings that are easy, fast and convenient and meet their expectations every time. And with a growing array of products offered by new companies disrupting financial services markets, consumer’s choices for new financial relationships are endless.  

3. Well-Trained, Happy Employees Help Consumers Simplify

How you deliver your services to customers depends as much on an efficient, well-trained, and fulfilled staff as the customer-facing technology you employ. As overwhelmed or unsatisfied employees quit because they see more new opportunities available to them as a result of remote work, your competition for new hires goes up exponentially. Most banks and credit unions have seen their labor costs increase 10% or more as a result, while nearly 90% report staff shortages that further hamper their ability to deliver a superior, differentiated service. 

Bottom-line? Customers desperately want financial guidance to help simplify the complexity they feel in their life. And, effective, expert employees are a critical component to delivering the guidance they need.  

The Challenges Banks and Credit Unions Face

You’ve got competition coming from places you never imagined and they’re after the same customers you are. In a commoditized industry like banking, your business can only be differentiated by superior service. But how do you do that in the digital age, when it’s harder and harder to have personal conversations? For banking executives, both top-line and bottom-line concerns sharpen their focus on three challenge key areas:  

How does this executive focus translate to functional area goals at a bank or credit union?

  • For the Contact Center it means lowering handle and wait times, reducing call volumes, and decreasing employee turnover.
  • For Retail Branch Operations it means growing new accounts, improving the efficiency of managers and subject matter experts, and improving customer satisfaction.
  • For Lending it means generating and converting more qualified leads, driving greater loan growth, and improving the efficiency of lending officers.
  • For Digital it means increasing the adoption of the digital tools already in place, improving the consistency of the customer experience across all digital channels, and raising customer NPS scores.
  • For HR/Training it means speeding the employee hiring and onboarding process, and improving the overall employee experience to lower turnover. 
  • For Marketing it means generating and converting more new account leads, and improving the personalization of customer experiences across all channels.
  • For IT it means ensuring regulatory compliance and the security of all customer data, improving the speed of all technology implementations, and efficiently managing the full technology portfolio.

How Customer Engagement Helps  

So how does good customer engagement help each of the functional areas meet their specific challenges while driving the organization towards meeting it’s overall growth, expense and customer satisfaction goals?  

Enable Consistency

To start, sound customer engagement strategies force an organization to deliver a consistent customer experience across all the channels a customer prefers to use. Organizations that focus more on customer experience alone often limit their initiatives to a single channel or two and forget about how the cumulative result of every customer experience across any channel contributes to the view – positive or negative – customer’s have of their relationship with your organization.

It’s not that discrete customer experiences aren’t important. There is a close and complementary relationship between Customer Engagement and Customer Experience. By making Customer Engagement a priority for the organization you’re ensuring that customer experiences are consistently good not just in one channel, but all channels. Customer Engagement encourages you to engage customers effectively in all the channels they use.

Facilitate Easy, Quick Connections To Expert Resources

Second, while most customers would prefer to answer questions or solve problems on their own using the self-service tools you provide, the reality is that a sizeable percentage of those interactions will require additional assistance from customer-facing staff or even specialized expertise, such as lending or wealth management help.

When that help is needed good customer engagement solutions will give you the ability to quickly connect customers to the expert resources they need seamlessly.

Make Information Easy-To-Find And Follow

Third, if policy and procedure information isn’t easy to find and follow for customers and employees no amount of self-service tools or expert staff will contribute to strongly engaged customers.

With a good banking-specific knowledge management tool in place your employees can increase customer satisfaction with immediate, accurate answers about your policies, procedures, or product information.

Empowering frontline staff with centrally accessible, up-to-date information will reduce contact center handle times and ensure consistent customer experiences across every channel. In addition, a central resource for policy and procedure information will reduce the administrative time to manage accurate, timely information while reducing the number of questions and errors your operations team fields from frontline staff, ultimately increasing back-office efficiency.

Guide Continuous Improvement With Analytics

Lastly, an effective customer engagement platform will capture the data your organization needs to monitor progress towards goals and be able to analyze results to make continuous increment improvements in how you’re engaging customers.

Business Value Derived from Good Customer Engagement

Banks and credit unions that adopt effective customer engagement strategies realize significant business value in improved customer experiences, profitable growth, more productive employees, and greater operational efficiencies.  

Engageware is Uniquely Positioned as a Leader of Customer Engagement Solutions for Financial Institutions

Expertise in Customer Engagement for Banking

For over 20 years, we’ve helped more than 400 leading financial institutions improve how they engage customers to reach their enterprise-wide goals faster.

Purpose-Built for Banking

Engageware’s solutions provide a complete product ecosystem that increases customer engagement for the industy’s most progressive banks and credit unions. In addition, our portfolio of partner solutions extends the value of Engageware solutions and allows you to take advantage of the industry’s most innovative customer engagement solutions.

Customer Success Driven by Analytics

We have invested two decades of experience developing and refining our best practices to ensure that you get maximum value from our solutions. Using our advanced analytics, our customer success team partners with you to ensure continuous improvement to achieve positive business outcomes.

Scalability Through Integrations

Reach and exceed, your customer engagement goals faster with proven offerings and expertise from Engageware’s industry leading partners. Our customer engagement tools work seamlessly with solutions and platforms used by millions of organizations worldwide.


Engageware takes an unmatched industry-leading approach to security to ensure your data stays secure and your customer engagement activities meet all of your organization’s compliance requirements. This includes our infosec systems, applications, process, compliance, and infrastructure.

“Engageware has become a partner versus a vendor”

Learn how Cambridge Trust uses Engageware’s Appointment Scheduling, Employee Knowledge Management, and Customer Self-Service solutions to provide the high level of service of a small boutique bank while being a large financial institution operating over twenty locations.

Related Resources

CE: The Critical Factor in Developing and Retaining Customer Relationships 

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ENGAGE 2023: Customer Engagement in Banking Trends Report

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Customer Experience and Customer Engagement: What’s the Difference?

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