The banking sector has undergone some pretty major transformations in the past decade.
Since the financial crash of 2008, banks and credit unions have been in a tight bid to win back consumer trust. The goal has been spotlighting the customer experience while adapting to technology that prioritizes convenience over in-person interactions.
Powerful customer experiences in retail banking necessitate a combined focus on the digital and social aspects driving financial culture. Both are key parts of the bank/consumer relationship and necessary for achieving the objectives of the new banking industry. Here are four ways to bring intimacy back to banking and provide the type of service consumers expect.
1. Boost Your Mobile Presence and Capabilities
Today’s consumers are doing their banking on their phones, not at the local branch office.
In just four years, the percentage of smartphone users relying on their mobile devices for banking has jumped from 36% to 60%, according to PwC’s 2017 Digital Banking Consumer Survey. Among smartphone users aged 18-24, the percentage is even higher, at 82%. There’s no going back from mobile banking, so if you’re in the banking sector, it’s time to embrace and enhance your mobile offerings.
A comprehensive mobile customer banking experience is about more than just check deposits and credit card payments. While an app can never provide a bank’s entire range of capabilities, digitizing as much as possible is crucial. If you don’t offer a certain degree of capability to your users, another app will. Here are a few ideas:
- Expand mobile offerings, including once innovative but now expected services like user-to-user bank transfers and rapid loan approvals.
- Gather data about individual behaviors to target coupons and rewards directed toward what users need.
- Increase reliability and mobile banking security with biometrics like fingerprint and/or retina scanning.
The more you can turn mobile into an alternative to in-person banking, the better you can maintain customer satisfaction with your brand.
2. Bring a Human Element to the Digital Experience
Digital banking doesn’t mean the end of human interactions in the financial services industry. Instead, online banking services can make it easier for customers to connect with real people outside of traditional settings. Optimizing the customer experience in banking requires a marriage of the digital world with the physical one. That means offering more flexibility for getting in touch and getting things done.
Achieving this balance starts on the digital side. Improvements should include 24/7 access to live customer support, simple ways to schedule in-person transactions, and targeted social media efforts. There’s a role for artificial intelligence too – AI in digital banking can streamline simple processes like paying bills and checking account balances with a personal, human-like touch.
Social interactions are a mainstay of the banking sector, and for good reason. Customers expect real people to be in charge of the handling and security of their finances. But there are plenty of opportunities to blend the need for in-person interactions with the conveniences of technology. In turn, this can lead to more comprehensive customer service and a better overall experience.
3. Reimagine the Branch Office
Branches may no longer be the epicenter of retail banking, but they’re not going away either. The PwC survey found that 65% of consumers still feel it’s important to have a local branch they can visit. Yet research from CACI suggests that consumers will visit branches just four times a year by 2022. Among young adults aged 18-24, branch visits are expected to occur only twice a year by 2022.
Focusing on improving digital customer experiences is important, but so is maximizing the efficiency and enjoyment of in-person banking. The branch offices of the future may get smaller, with fewer offices and more friendly faces right out front. Digital accommodations combined with human interactions will help speed up branch visits while modernizing the look and feel of bank interiors.
Customer experiences in banking happen at more than one strategic point, even if, overwhelmingly, they’re happening online. When a customer does visit a branch, use that as a chance to enhance their experience and show how much you have to offer.
4. Modern Banking for Modern Customers
As the paradigm changes around how banking is done, so too does the customer journey. A superior customer experience in banking is one that recognizes how people like to bank and then seamlessly facilitates it.
What’s most important to consumers today aside from a strong digital presence? More than anything, modern banking customers want transparency, autonomy, and security. If you can deliver on these three fundamentals, you can create an experience worth coming back for.
There’s a lot to lose by failing to adapt to the new normal of retail banking. A nationwide study by Market Force Information found that in 2017, 23% of consumers were dissatisfied with their current bank relationship – up from just 15% in 2016. There’s no such thing as coasting by in customer relations and financial organizations have to excel to keep their valued customers.
The revolution of banking that started with the 2008 financial crisis and was transformed through fintech is ongoing. But one thing is clear: improving the customer experience and inspiring customer loyalty matters more than ever. The better experiences you can create, the more sustainable growth you can secure.