Today, smartphones have a massive effect on the world, with these devices expected to account for a third of internet protocol traffic by 2021. This extends to financial services, with many customers using mobile apps to conduct their day-to-day banking business.
A recent study conducted in the UK by Smart Money People discovered just how prevalent this effect is, with 39.2% of customers saying their preferred means of dealing with banks is via apps. This study also found that the preference for online banking has fallen to 38.6% – putting it below the use of banking apps for the first time.
“It’s a timely reminder that every financial services firm needs to offer an excellent, app-based user experience,” explained Mike Fotis, founder of Smart Money People.
So, excellent user experience is the name of the game for global banks, meaning that there is now a tangible need to create an end-to-end, digital customer journey within the banking sector that covers everything from journeys that allow fast opening of accounts, setting balance alerts, and notifying when pre-set spend limits are approaching, to the ability to manage more complex life events such as buying a home. But how exactly will these banks operate at the intersection of data, design, and technology to deliver a differentiated experience to their customers?
This question needs to be answered quickly as customers feel there is a considerable lack of customer service excellence on the ground. In fact, the Capgemini Research Institute (CRI) found that 80% of consumers are willing to pay for a better experience, across sectors, with around 9% actually willing to increase their spending by more than half if they need to. And while 75% of organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, only 30% of their consumers agree.
But how do you change your customers’ perceptions? First, banks need a digital, customer-centric strategy that is highly contextualized to the need of the customer, allowing for preferences to be taken into consideration for not only “how to” get something done but also the range of product and service offerings available. This means anticipating customer needs through technology, people, and continuous innovation to decipher how to best fulfill a customer need, or simply to quickly resolve an issue such as a lost card or an unrecognized transaction in a statement.
To ensure that technology is able to keep pace with the rate of digitalization, banks need to have systems that are capable of aligning with new API- and cloud-based ecosystems. After all, these two technologies are crucial for staying competitive in the market. APIs enable banks to plug in and unplug from services and products, while the cloud can be leveraged to transform core systems and make services available anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
Always remember that each conversation is a potential channel for creating a memorable experience for your customers, and APIs and the cloud lie at the heart of this process. For a quick and easy explanation on how banks could effectively leverage these technologies, take a look at Lisa’s end-to-end automated banking experience or Ted’s banking experience while on vacation.
But how do you start creating a digital, end-to-end customer journey? You need to make customer centricity a core value of your organization. This alone will make any organization ask, “but how does this benefit our customers?” And this will ensure that their products and services have more value to their customers.
Next, you need to anticipate customer needs – but not just for today, tomorrow, or even this year. You need to be able to figure out what customers need before they need it. To succeed here, banks need to regularly collect customer feedback and innovate constantly. This will show your workforce what you’re doing well and what needs to be improved going forward.
But this isn’t the whole story. To get more ideas on how to build memorable customer experiences, it is important to understand the customer expectations from each interaction and also whatever their future expectations might be. It is also good to recognize that most micro and macro life events will revolve around a financial transaction of some description, whether it is saving for higher education, buying a new car, or simply parking the car. Hence, the wider experience needs to be taken into consideration, not just the component relating to the banking service. Being of service across each life event is the key to creating memorable experiences and authentic moments of truth in experiences.
New technologies such as AI, AR, VR, and blockchain will continue to evolve and play a critical role here. After all, there is currently a need to deliver a customer experience that automatically understands customer next steps and provides easily accessible options in order to make your customers feel that they are valued and special.
For instance, when a client opens an app, the screen should be customized. When they visit the bank, the bank representative should know why they are there, with the same information being relayed to and triggered on the bank’s multiple channels, products, and interaction points.
This is why it is very important that banks implement an effective customer-centric strategy, but it’s vital to remember that the heart of any new customer-centric strategy needs to come from your people, starting with the CEO. The CRI recently discovered that 80% of respondents gave their CEO credit for leading a successful cultural transformation within their organization. This is significant as a successful cultural transformation is an important factor when banks want to begin or expand out their customer-centric strategy, as a more mature culture leads to happier employees, and happier employees will always put the customer first.
But the CEO can’t achieve this change alone. All colleagues that are in the business of helping customers need to be engaged. This ensures that sustainable value can be delivered for customers which in turn helps their bank make positive strides to grow the customer base. This requires a paradigm shift in culture, moving away from thinking in silos to thinking in terms of transformative communities. In addition to this, leadership teams also need to foster innovation culture, emphasize the power of knowledge and learning, and be more aware of their employees’ needs.
All of this will ensure that new ways of working, cooperation, and thinking are established, which in turn will revolutionize your customer journey and lead to a better overall customer experience and end-to-end digital customer journey.
The opinion expressed is in an individual capacity, please feel free to contact me for queries and suggestions.