At a time when banks have been shutting down branches and going online increasingly, Bendigo did a double-take. It went down to the grassroots, grouped townsfolk in places far flung from cities, and helped them open community branches. These community banks were run by the people of the town, sharing profits with Bendigo and pumping a bulk of the local share into the community’s welfare. Not only did this initiative save them a regular travel of hundreds of miles and back to a branch in a faraway town, but it also made them feel more in control of their financials (source).

Cut to the bustling city where time is money. Call centre executives walk a tight rope with fixed timelines for each call. In the hustle-bustle,

These are just two examples of how a brand makes simple allowances and acts differently just to make its customers feel valued. And these simple steps earn them their customer’s loyalty, thus helping them lay the foundation for long-term and valuable client relationship.

I am sure each one of us has been approached by friends and family for word of mouth recommendations to various products and services where we feel the brand values us as customers. Or we’ve received free advice that we decide to utilise at some future date. The benefactor is the brand that has created and tailored a good experience that has left a lasting impression on its customers, making them feel significant and appreciated.

Engaged Strategy’s Consumer Recommendation and Loyalty studies identified five companies across the motor insurance, property insurance, health insurance, superannuation and banking sectors that were doing the right things to make their customers feel more valued than that of other brands. Besides Bendigo and APIA, HBF is another brand that has made significant strides in making its customers feel valued. APIA, HBF, Bendigo Bank, RAC WA and Australian Super have all earned themselves the Most Valued Brand 2018 across the five sectors of motor insurance, health insurance, banking, property insurance and superannuation respectively from Engaged Strategy.

Australian Super has gone the tech way too. In the superannuation industry where it is a tad difficult to encourage customers to save for their future, the company has integrated technology such as a chatbot into its interactive web model to instantly answer a large number of customer queries. This technology platform also evaluates a customer’s preferences by inspecting the company’s webpages he/she visits. It then nudges the customer towards making beneficial superannuation saving decisions (source).

Since this is tailored to each customer, the personalised experience plays an integral role in making customers feel valued.

Let’s pause and look at the common binding factor of the four brands I’ve discussed thus far. Bendigo’s community branches initiative, APIA offering unlimited interaction time with its customer support team, and HBF and Australian Super effectively communicating with each member via technology enhancements – all the four brands did the same thing right – they enabled their customers and solved their problems.

In a more traditional format, RAC WA has been building on its legacy of membership, making its customers feel valued with several membership benefits. It is common knowledge that customer hesitancy and demand for lower premiums has increased competition among property insurance providers. However, RAC WA has not only built on its legacy and on the emotion that insurance is for peace of mind during distress, it has continued to make its customers feel valued via its membership programs and by reinvesting its profits into the club for its members’ benefits. HBF’s not-for-profit value proposition ensures profits are pooled back to benefit its members.

Great websites and good discounts are attractive elements that work well with a good marketing spend. However, the long run does depend on tailoring an experience that makes a customer feel significantly valued and appreciated. When frontline staff go beyond their call of duty and proactively offer customers an enriching experience, they become a brand’s strongest tool in making customers feel valued. This effectuates word of mouth that creates long-term customer relationships.

For more information on Engaged Strategy’s benchmarking products, click here.

Engaged Strategy’s Most Valued brand award is a part of our Customer Excellence Awards that recognise brands that are leaders in Australian customer experience.