Customer experience can be defined as the end-to-end interaction of a customer with any product, service, or company. Not surprisingly, it is a key focus area for organizations that wish to grow and is closely linked with revenue and customer churn. So much so that a PwC report highlights that one in three customers say they’ll stop transacting with a brand they love after a single bad experience. Yet, many companies fail to meet their customers’ core demands, especially in terms of speed, friendliness, knowledge, and support.
Customer Expectations in the Financial Services Industry
In 2017, PwC pointed out an emerging trend in the financial industry – the rise of the digital-only banking customer. It also gave deep insights into the changing behaviour of banking customers, who prefer using mobile, tablets, and PCs for all their banking needs, avoiding physical channels of banking altogether. However, merely going digital isn’t enough at a time when fintech companies are innovating at breakneck speed to build a world without banks. To stay competitive, banks and other financial industry players must understand customer expectations and invest in emerging technologies to exceed these expectations.
Take the example of the retail industry. Increased customer standards in this industry are driven by technology advancements, creating a league of customers that demand omnichannel experiences, which requires the breaking down of organizational silos. The same is the case with the banking and financial industry that must improve customer experience to use it as a competitive differentiator.
Below, we have identified some key trends that can be leveraged by the banking and financial industry to understand and match the evolving customer expectations with seamless technology integrations that will also streamline core business processes.
Top Trends to Meet The Changing Customer Expectations in The Financial Industry
Customer churn often comes as a surprise. However, firms can prevent this from happening to a large extent by redesigning customer experience and improving customer support. Here are some proven tips for amplifying and fine-tuning your customer experience to meet the rapidly evolving customer expectations:
1. Conversational Banking
Most customers prefer to interact with financial institutions online, but these conversations are typically one-way. Integrating a chatbot into your customer service’s front line can change this by initiating two-way conversations that are much more enjoyable and empowering for your customers.
Besides answering up to 80 percent of repetitive queries instantly, NLP-powered chatbots can capture information across multiple touchpoints to offer personalized services to your customers. These advanced chatbots can also track customer behavior to anticipate their needs and suggest products and services accordingly for an improved experience.
One interesting example is Wells Fargo’s chatbot that automatically responds to natural language queries from users on Facebook Messenger. Users can not only ask the bot about their recent transactions or account balance but also get answers to personalized questions like “how much did I spend on coffee in the last seven days?”
2. Real-time Customer Support Through Live Chat and Co-Browsing
Speedy and efficient customer service is the cornerstone of good customer experience in any industry. High-quality customer service through intelligent chatbots, round the clock, can help financial institutions build customer loyalty and trust.
However, only relying on technology is not the solution that your customers are looking for. Many users, especially from the older generations, prefer interacting with human agents when discussing complicating financial matters. But the remote working protocols in the present times mean your contact center staff is mostly over-burdened, which may lead to poor or slow query resolution. A simple way to overcome this challenge is by integrating live chat software in your digital assets with co-browsing, chatting, video, and audio calling support.
Advanced technologies like co-browsing also minimize errors while improving customer satisfaction. In India, a private bank, ICICI, introduced co-browsing to help users fill up insurance applications instead of offering support over a phone call. This small change decreased the average operating time by half while improving the customer satisfaction rate by 65 percent.
3. Curating Personalized Experiences Using Customer Data
Customers don’t want to be treated like numbers. They demand personalized experiences and expect organizations to anticipate their needs and fulfill them. In return, they are willing to exchange personal data for customized benefits. According to an Accenture report, 63% of global banking customers are comfortable trading their personal data for personalized advice.
The same report mentions that about half of global financial consumers expect their financial providers to provide more than the traditional financial services. For example, they expect financial providers to assess their spending patterns and offer tailored advice. A large percentage of customers have also shown a preference for behavior-based insurance premiums, especially for health and auto insurance. There’s also a demand for seamless experiences across devices so that the users can pick up from where they left on any of their connected devices.
Financial institutions need to make focused technology investments in gathering and processing data from cross-channel and multi-device interactions to deliver on these fronts. This goldmine of data also needs to be processed using various machine learning algorithms to predict user expectations and needs. There’s also a need to break down the informational silos to create holistic user profiles for better expectation mapping.
One interesting example is that of HSBC that uses artificial intelligence to ensure a personalized experience for its US credit card customers. The financial giant is working on a personalized rewards program that crunches user data to predict how customers are likely to redeem their credit card points and send them customized market offerings accordingly.
4. Designing Secure And Intuitive Customer Journeys
Increasing data theft and other cybercrimes are a harsh reality faced by most industries, especially the financial sector. Thus, besides delivering exceptional customer experiences, the banking and financial industry firms must also use the latest tools and cloud-based technology to protect systems from cybercriminals at all times. This calls for a balance between user-friendly design and safe practices without diminishing the overall customer experience.
For example, while designing your site for user convenience, you must consider the duration for which user devices may be recognized. A long recognition time might increase the risk of account fraud, mostly if the device gets stolen. However, a shorter recognition time can lead to frustration and eventually churn if users are asked to fill in the same information each time.
In the present times, financial institutions worldwide are adopting modern technologies like blockchain, AI, machine learning, data analytics, etc., to curate outstanding customer experiences. However, merely adopting new technology for the sake of modernization isn’t enough. It is essential to map the overall experience to your customers’ journey to meet, and even exceed, their expectations at every touchpoint.
Whether it is taking the bank to people through AR/VR during the pandemic or offering personalized financial advice based on user behavior – the financial industry sits on a treasure trove of data which, when combined with modern technology, can create a robust and secure framework for everyday banking.