The Three Cs that Generate Loyalty for Retail and Community Banks

Industry Transformations5 minutes readApr 12th, 2018

How do you spell “loyalty”? If you are a community banker, you spell it with three Cs: convenience, customer service, and confidence. That was made very clear in a recent Unisys survey on digital banking, when community bankers were asked to describe how important a seamless experience between branch and digital banking is to earning customer loyalty. Here are quotes from survey respondents:

Three Cs that Generate Loyalty


  • “Customers now demand convenient, simple digital banking.”
  • “It is important to have both branch and digital banking so customers can select whatever choice is convenient for them.”

Customer Service

  • “It shows customers that we are reliable and accessible at all times.”
  • “It is part of the level of service a customer should expect from his or her bank.


  • “It is important because people need to feel comfortable and confident when handling something as delicate as money.”
  • “It is very important because it inspires in the customer.”

Put simply, a seamless banking experience is vital to earning customer loyalty because it provides convenience, customer service, and confidence. But how does seamless – or omnichannel – banking deliver these three Cs? What does it really look like for the community bank and for the bank’s customers? Consider three scenarios that put theory into practice.

  1. Convenience

Community banks know their community: that is their defining characteristic. They are local, and have their finger on the pulse of trends such as property values, the job market, and auto loan opportunities. Consequently, community banks are in the position to help their customers get great deals and great service quickly and easily.

For instance, suppose local housing prices are on the upswing in the community. Recognizing that people may want to increase the equity in their homes to take advantage of the housing market, a community bank could offer a low rate on a home equity loan.

But, here’s the catch: in the absence of seamless digital banking that allows the customer to apply for the home equity loan from his or her desktop or mobile device, the bank is likely to lose that potential revenue. Making a timely offer is one thing – making it easy to accept the offer is something completely different, and is only made possible by providing a frictionless omnichannel experience. 

  1. Customer service

Community banks have always enjoyed a personal relationship with their customers. Really personal: the “I heard you are expecting another child; congratulations!” kind of relationship that becomes the perfect lead-in for a talk about increasing life insurance or starting an education fund for the child.

But today, customers don’t walk into the branch nearly as frequently. Some never do. They don’t know the tellers or loan officers or mortgage specialists. But with tailored and targeted solutions, community banks can still offer timely products and services that will make customers feel valued and cared for.

For example, suppose a customer’s checking account shows a consistently high balance. The bank can send him information about CDs or other investment vehicles that will net a higher rate of return than a checking account. The customer appreciates that his bank is looking out for his best interests with this level of personal customer service.

If the customer decides to move forward with investing, he may want to go to the bank branch to discuss his options. But, very likely, he may simply want to set up the CD or investment account online on the spot. Omnichannel banking makes these different routes of response possible.

  1. Confidence

Customers want to know that their money and personal information is being cared for and protected. A community bank can utilize analytics to identify possible fraud and send an alert to the customer. But beyond that, as a local bank, they can do something more: reassure customers who call with concerns – immediately.

For example, a customer receives an email purporting to be from her local bank. The email states that her debit card has been compromised. Not sure whether this is a phishing scam or not, she contacts her local branch. There is no endless voice menu to navigate; no impersonal representative on the other end of the line who is clearly following a script (which never generates confidence). Instead, she immediately reaches the branch manager, whom she knows from the occasions she stops at the branch. The branch manager promptly pulls up the customer account, confirms the email is a scam, points out how to recognize the signs in case future fraudulent emails or calls come through, and assures the customer that the matter will be investigated.

With omnichannel banking, both the branch manager and the customer have all the information they need at their fingertips: there is no worrisome delay as siloed systems are checked and cross-referenced, and no possibility that the information on the screen is out of date.

Customer Loyalty for Community Banks

As these scenarios show, community banks do not have to lose any of their personal “edge” in this new age of modern technology. Rather, with seamless, omnichannel banking in place, community banks can meet their customers’ needs in even more targeted and dynamic ways than ever before. As they do so, they will deliver the three Cs that generate customer loyalty: convenience, customer service, and confidence.

Eric Crabtree, VP & Global Head, Financial Services, Unisys

Click here to read the “Digital Banking for a Community Connection” report.

Click here to learn more about our research.

Tags-   3Cs community connection confidence convenience Customer service Elevate frictionless Omnichannel seamless