How Personal Do You Want to be With Your Bank?

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) celebrations that took place on 6th October 2020, we shared a number of blog posts which showed our approach to customer experience.

While the day might be over for another year, we’re continuing our programme with more insight into how and why we put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Does your bank delight you, exceed your expectations and provide you with a secure house for your hard-earned income?

Or, have you switched in search of a better experience?

In today’s world we expect banking for free with products and services that are super quick to take advantage of and require minimal effort. Customer experience is very much at the forefront of banking strategy and has been for some years now. However, banks recognise that to remain relevant in today’s market they must look at capturing our attention with broader lifestyle offerings.

It is no longer enough to be offering advice on which bank product best suits the customer. In today’s world, it’s about helping people achieve their financial goals, understand where to spend more and where to spend less.

Let’s start by summarising some of the new opportunities and challenges banks face.

The regulators are paying more attention to customer complaints with a view of problematic product sales practices, and therefore banking CEO’s being called up by governments to justify their behaviour. In addition, measures such as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will apply across Europe from September 2021, enhancing security and preventing fraud.
So, how do Banks continue protecting customers, and at the same time, demonstrate that “ease-to-do-business” experience that we all crave?

Immense Opportunities

Firstly, with a combination of client data, superior analytics and multi-channel opportunities, banks possess a wealth of knowledge. This knowledge enables them to increase the ‘moments of truth’ that deliver proactive insights, helping customers make the right choices more quickly and easily. Customers like having multi-channel choices (web, mobile app, phone, in-branch), however, they become irritated if when buying they are asked to change channels, in other words begin an on-line process then asked to ‘go to branch’.

For most banks, processes and technology will need to adapt to provide a consistent experience across channel and departments.

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) continues at pace as we take advantage of the data now available to personalise and contextualise interactions, improving processes and giving the impression of a more human interaction without humans. Having said that, organisations realise there is a balance, and human engagement can be modelled on a highly available basis without the specialist ever leaving the office.

Human actions to digital – technologies are evolving from Alexa and Siri type responses to more personalised accents and pronunciations and will become more common place in time.

Superior Personalisation

Delivering personalised experiences is nothing new to the banking sector. It’s has been a cornerstone for marketing activity for decades. That said, expectation is higher than ever before – according to Salesforce, 62% of consumers expect companies to adapt based on their actions and behaviours.

In addition, the study found only 47% of consumers believe they are receiving this level of personalisation today. This is one area some of the smaller and emerging banks are taking advantage.

Two examples:

Bunq, a Dutch international mobile bank introduced ‘Freedom of Choice’, a world first. The freedom to choose what happens with your money, where your deposits are held and how they are used. Bunq claims that no other bank in the world lets you choose what happens with your money. They also pride themselves on an online 5minute sign up to access services.

The bank is run by mostly by young IT specialists and not traditional bankers.

In Spain, BBVA has an app feature called Bconomy, which helps customers set goals, save money and track their progress. It also provides the ability to compare prices on things like groceries and utilities. Another experience feature is the ability to compare spending to similar customers to see if their financial activity is on track.

In just three weeks, Bconomy had half a million users.

That superior personalisation doesn’t necessarily mean providing lots of choice either, it’s about having the right ones. Overall, less choice for customers is clearer and cheaper for any business. For example, one car manufacturer includes full spec on all cars, you may think this is expensive, however costs of multiple production lines and ‘stop-start’ to fit different variations is very expensive.

These examples are certainly appealing to many however for organisations to thrive in decades to come they must weave customer centric experiences into every aspect of their organisation focusing on human centred design. Success will depend on anticipating customer needs and making engagement a pleasant experience.

So, what do banking professionals think?

One customer experience professional working in a large European bank shared their insight into the challenge of balancing customer experience investment with the drive for profitability, something they have worked hard to bring the benefits of customer happiness and financial success.
Being clear on a CX vision and mission with the branding of being a ‘Loveable Bank’ is something they are proud of and have metrics and action to continually improve.

One such example is the ‘butterfly effect’ whereby some 150-positive employee/customer success stories have been captured and promoted. Another example is where employees are brought together to create a ‘Channel Squad’ focused on providing seamless and consistent experiences, whatever a customer’s preferred way of banking is.

Finally, IT plays a vital role in merging technology improvement with CX. For each IT project a ‘one pager statement is generated to outline; 1) how many customers are affected, and 2) what is the likely impact either positive or negative, and if negative what mitigations need to be identified.
Another Banking IT professional spoke about similar challenges in striking a balance of managing costs whilst providing safe and secure banking for clients, and indeed how CX initiatives drive a supporting strategy for maximising customer satisfaction.

Measuring CX is a key factor for the bank and their IT functions, focusing on newer insights from generation topics and social responsibility sources. These are now more widely considered when digitising business, and therefore, how better to connect with clients.

For IT specifically employees are now able to provide ‘real time’ feedback regarding their technology procurement or issues, enabling a much swifter response and connection with the User. The outcome of such enhancements builds trust with employees and demonstrates that the business cares about them personally.

Final Thoughts

There is an emerging realisation that the future of CX in banking isn’t about banking at all, it’s not about account products and mortgages, it’s more about lifestyle choices. Traditional benchmarking against other financial institutes is no longer as important. Today’s banks are looking to benchmark against organisations selling similar experiences and lifestyles as them from other sectors.

For example:
• Hallmark cards output is greeting cards, but they market ‘Expressions’
• Harley Davidson’s product is the motorbike, but they sell ‘Freedom’
The outcome of a banking experience is helping customers ‘achieve financial goal’s’. Customer-centric thinking organisations look at achieving outcomes for customers that relate personally, and therefore become more relevant and valuable to retain customer for the longer term. So…do you want to be more personal with you bank?

Further Reading

Strong Customer Authentication
Managing a customer experience transformation in banking
Customer experience key to the future of banking in 2019


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