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5 Common Communication Mistakes Banks Make Today

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Banking institutions are such integral parts of daily life that sometimes it’s easy to forget that they have their own worlds.

The complex nature of the finance sometimes spills onto posters, flyers and website content.


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Herein lies the problem. Sometimes we just assume that people understand the way we talk when they could in fact be completely lost. When customers don’t understand what a business is talking about, or if they still need someone else to help them understand what you are saying, then there is a disconnect between you and your customer.

To help you understand this further, here are the 5 most common communication mistakes banks make:

1. Using complex financial terms

So many banks are guilty of this particular mistake. Sometimes we think that someone knows what we mean but the fact is that not everyone studied finance. These complex words can be found everywhere both in marketing messages as well as in online banking procedures especially in online forms.

These can easily put off customers from using particular services simply because they don’t understand them. It’s not just financial terms as well. Sometimes, certain processes are unclear. Will there be additional fees if I do this? How does this affect my account? etc.

2. Not providing outlets for clarifications and inquiries

If the above mistake isn’t enough, banks also don’t give customers the immediate means to clarify their doubts. The keyword here is immediate. The Contact Us page is definitely not enough. How about an active chat box with one of your representatives on the other side? Other options are to put hints or wiki-fy your site and put links to complicated terminologies that lead to pages explaining about them.

3. Customer service inconsistency: In-branch vs. online

Arguably, any bank’s level of customer service is generally strongest in its branches, basically when you actually go there to personally to talk to a teller or a representative. But even then, financial institutions are notorious for having bad customer service overall (fix that first, maybe?).

In today’s market, you’ll want to start attracting a younger demographic that’s more likely to head to your website first than go into one of your branches. If this is the case, then it’s time to have the same level of in-branch customer service in your website. And that brings me to my next point..

4. Not treating your website as one of your primary branches

Whether you realize it or not, visitors to your website have just the same potential of becoming your customer as those who visit and inquire in one of your branches in person. Treating them any less is not just careless but actually dangerous.

You could lose lots of potential customers that way especially if your competition is perceived to be offering better services than you. As discussed previously, you need to treat your website just like one of your flagship branches. Maybe instead of just installing a basic chat feature, you can make it a video or voice chat.

5. Not taking advantage of tools and data to fine-tune your website

Bank managers can order reports to be compiled about the number of new account applications, number of clients served and the number of clients who requested a particular service. However, highly likely they either don’t or can’t quantify data from their websites. At least not in a meaningful or valuable way. It’s possible that they don’t have the right tools.

Imagine that aside from tracking visits by search engine keywords, referring websites, Adwords campaigns or visitor navigation history and physical location you can also co-browse and see the real-time path of your visitor and where they asked for help. And won’t it also be helpful if you can monitor all online customer service requests in real time?


To sum up, it’s about rethinking how our customers want to communicate with us and putting ourselves in their position.

Customers approach banking the same way they approach anything else today - digitally. Changes have to be made from top to bottom, from rethinking about the role of your bank’s website to adding new online banking support functionalities. And only by improving the way banks interact with clients digitally can they benefit from an increasingly influential digital native market.


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Topics: digital native market., communication mistakes, banks, online customer service

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