The financial industry faces unique challenges in appealing to the tech savvy consumers of today and balancing the needs of old-school clients who would rather visit a local branch to talk instead of downloading a mobile app or navigating a website.
According to a Viacom SCRATCH report, “All 4 of the leading Banks are among the ten least loved brands by Millennials”. They also found that Millennials would prefer to take their finances through digital channels like Apple, Paypal, or Square over a national bank. Direct banks (those without branches) are the preferred method of banking. Drawing them into the traditional fold will require innovation.
On the other side of the spectrum are those slow adapters to digital channels, who prefer bricks and mortar and expect human interaction. Banks must carefully integrate technology into their lives in a non-invasive and intuitive way.
It’s not an easy task to cater to both, but banking needs a CX revamp. If you’re looking for a way to address these issues, we’ve got some good news on where to start.
Here are 5 Techniques to Improve your Banking CX
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence offers a wealth of possible implementations when it comes to banking. Through applying data science and machine learning, consumers can receive hyper-personalized recommendations to restaurants offering card based discounts, enhanced security data analysis to avoid fraud, and customized financial guidance based on spending habits.
AI can also improve customer support by analyzing problem areas and automating solutions for simple questions or tasks with voice-driven technologies, which will free up staff members to have higher quality interactions with clients.
An example of AI in application is the strategic investment Citibank made with Feedzai in 2016. The global data science enterprise works both for online and in-person banking by analyzing big data in real time to identify fraudulent patterns.
Using AI brings convenience to CX putting the customer directly in contact with a means to be helped and adds an easier option than having to manage tasks in person.
2. Online Banking
In a Digital Banking Report, they show that 82% of consumers go online first to research a product, 59% of those never speak to a representative. With data like this, it’s clear how important it is to have a digital presence.
While most banks have managed to offer some online facet to users, this point is less about making the feature available and more about improving upon it.
The fact is, too many banking websites do not focus on the customer’s journey, giving its attention to each touch point. A banking website should not only invest in security, but ensure easy accessibility, design an efficient user experience on a variety of devices from tablets to smartphones, as well as maintain brand identity throughout.
Because customers are less likely to speak to a representative during their research, it’s absolutely necessary to provide all of the information they may need on the website to contribute to making customers feel empowered.
Bank of Melbourne and First Tennessee Bank are great examples of successful website design. They held the top spots in The Financial Brands’ rating of 20 Visually Stunning Website Designs From Banks & Credit Unions in 2017.
3. Digital Integration to Mobile
Today’s customer wants to seamlessly manage their banking needs while responding to emails or surfing “the gram”. Digitization gives customers the ability to get things done quickly in a straightforward manner and with minimal effort.
WellsFargo is a perfect example of making the most of digital integration. In 2017 the company introduced a new feature that allows customers using their ATMs to use their smartphone instead of a debit card. With the WellsFargo app, users can request a one-use code at the ATM to access their account. This offers a convenient and secure alternative for customers and one that I am envious my own bank doesn’t offer.
While many banks already have an application, WellsFargo shows how banks can go beyond the basic digital tasks like checking balances, paying bills, and monitoring accounts to create more personalized customer experiences delivered in a way today’s tech savvy customer will be satisfied with.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR)
AR/VR turns routine into a unique experience, one that customers are beginning to expect as the technology is being integrated into more and more sectors.
Some banks have already adapted augmented reality to enrich their CX. The National Bank of Oman uses AR to make finding nearby branch or ATM locations easier, as well as displaying store deals that customers of the bank can take advantage of.
Similarly, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Halifax in the UK offers a “home finder” app that use AR to show users information on houses that are for sale as they pass them by.
AR/VR has the potential to help customers interact with representatives in an engaging way without having to leave home. It’s an opportunity to build upon a routine bank visit and that may, like AI, give staff time to dedicate themselves to better in-person service.
5. High Touch Customer Service
Each of the technological methods mentioned can be integrated to create great customer service. However, human interaction should never be replaced by digitization.
In a Forrester ranking of CX, customer service was the most important driver category for direct banks’ CX. In addition, the report found the top emotions that drive loyalty for direct banks was feeling appreciated, confident, and valued.
Taking a high touch approach to the banking customer experience can help identify and anticipate gaps and areas in need of improvement that will surprise and delight customers once addressed.
Creating unique and satisfying experiences for banking customers can improve customers’ perceptions of banks. An example of high touch is Umpqua Bank’s ice cream truck that sweetens their customers visit. This doesn’t mean you need to have a food truck outside of the office, but it’s a testament to how an out of the box approach is memorable and impactful.
Banking brands have to take immediate and precise action to integrate technology into their CX in order to maintain and earn trust with potential new customers. A CX revamp that focuses on convenience, personalized banking, and establishing trust is essential in order to thrive.
It begins with seeing the gaps, investing in technology to enhance customer engagement, and staying relevant in a fast changing economy.
Dayana Aparicio Originally from Panama City, Panama, studied Sociology and Business Management at Georgia College & State University. Customer Success Specialist and Junior Content Producer at Worthix. Focus is on present and future trends in customer experience.