5 Customer Experience Trends for Banking in 2020

Victory on the new battlefield for customers in the banking industry depends on leading-edge CX. With the differences in products and services offered continuing to be slight, improving the customer experience will be one of the most powerful differentiators in the future.

With new technologies and new ways to engage transforming the way banking customers interact with their financial institution, a consumer’s satisfaction is becoming more dependent on the quality of engagement than on the differentiation of products and services. Consumers expect interactions with their bank or credit union to be based on insight built over time, with the timeliness, personalization and contextuality of engagement becoming paramount. Not to be forgotten in this equation is the increased importance of trust and security as more data is collected on each consumer.

As we look ahead, consumers will increasingly expect their financial institution to be proactive in helping them manage their finances. This is a significant departure from the rear-view mirror perspective most banks and credit unions have used in the past to communicate with consumers. People will also expect the experience they receive to be seamless across channels, with insights being the same no matter the channel they prefer to use.

Despite the desire for improved digital capabilities, consumers will want a strong integration of human and digital capabilities when engaging with their financial institution. This extends beyond a chatbot capability, to include easy access to humans when dealing with complex issues. While visits to the branch will continue to decrease, the importance of these interactions will increase.

The customer experience (CX) expectations of today’s consumer is being set by high tech organizations outside the banking sector. The reward for meeting these higher standards will be enhanced by the social media voice of every customer and member. Unfortunately, these same voices will be amplified when banks and credit unions fall short of expectations. Unlike the past, the penalty for under-performance can be immediate and relatively silent, as consumers can open new relationships with alternative providers relatively easily without completely closing existing accounts.

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1. Proactive Engagement for Improved Financial Management

With the combination of increased data, advanced analytics and expanded channel opportunities, financial institutions will have a greatly expanded array of “moments of truth” to engage with consumers, in real time, to assist with the management of financial relationships. Beyond next-best-action or locational opportunities, banks and credit unions will be able to deliver proactive insights that can help consumers avoid financial pitfalls or take advantage of opportunities faster than ever before.

Deploying messages on a mobile banking app or through SMS capabilities, banks and credit unions will leverage past behaviors and transactions to provide intelligent recommendations in context. At a time when privacy and data security is of utmost importance, delivering this form of insight to the consumer will form the basis for a value exchange the consumer will depend on. Ultimately, this will positively impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Hyper-Personalization at Scale

Delivering personalized experiences is not new to the banking industry. It has been the foundation of most direct and digital marketing activities for decades. That said, today’s consumer wants more. According to Salesforce, 62% of consumers expect companies to adapt based on their actions or behaviors. The same study found that only 47% of consumers believe they are receiving this level of personalization today.

The difference between marketing of as little as five years ago and today is that, while segmentation was commonplace in 2015, organizations can now deliver a message to a “segment of one” at a lower cost than ever before. Individualized experiences can now use consumer data to remove noise from experiences, increasing relevance and speeding customer access to desired functionality and content. This can increase the emotional engagement of consumers … leading to increased opportunities and revenues.

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3. Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

Consumers want to believe they are unique and important to their financial institution. They don’t want to be “forced” to use a specific channel simply because it is easier for their bank or credit union. They want their financial institution to allow them to select their own path to purchase and ongoing interaction, without a difference in the level of service received. While omnichannel strategies have been discussed for more than a decade, delivering a seamless experience will be a requisite for success in 2020.

While the vast majority of consumers shop between online, offline, and social media channels before buying a service, they do not want to be asked to use multiple channels once they want to buy.

In other words, if the consumer starts their buying of a product or service on a mobile or online channel, do not require them to change channels (go to a branch) midway. In addition, if they must stop their buying process, allow them to resume on any channel they prefer without the information already provided being lost.

For most financial institutions, processes and technologies will need to change in order to provide a consistent experience across channels and between departments for consumers. Measurement of engagement during the entire customer journey will be required to ensure the impact of your efforts are optimized.

4. ‘Humanized’ Digital

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to accelerate, with the ability to access and analyze data, improve processes and recommend actions improving each day. AI increases the ability to personalize and contextualize interactions making them feel more “human” without humans being used.

That said, there is no match for a truly human interaction.

In some instances, organizations will bring humans back into the engagement process, providing access via digital channels. Far beyond a chatbot, human interaction will be accessible on a highly personalized basis, with specialists being available “on call” without the specialist ever needing to leave their office.

In another deployment of human aspects to digital, voice device interactions will begin to assume the “personality” of the bank or credit union. From distinctive voices (not Siri or Alexa), to ways of dealing with requests, these interactions will continue to improve over time as they learn accents, pronunciations, etc.

5. Transparency, Security, Ethics and Trust as CX Tools

All of the customer experience tools of the future won’t matter if the consumer doesn’t trust how you will value their identity, protect their data and be forthright in their interactions. In other words, they want to know that you will always be engaging on their behalf.

More than ever, the consumer wants complete transparency about how their data will be used. They also want to have robust security around their data, including biometrics. If there are privacy concerns with your organization, trust is eroded and the customer experience will definitely take a hit.

According to Salesforce, people expect companies they engage with to consider a broader set of stakeholders, going beyond financial shareholders to include their impact on society as a whole. In fact, 80% of customers are more loyal to companies with “good ethics,” while 68% of customers won’t buy from companies with questionable ethics.

More than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from only 36% a decade ago, according to Gartner. To succeed, financial institutions will not only need to invest in the major components of customer experience, but also in the collecting and analyzing of customer feedback across the entire customer journey.

Beyond knowing your customers, organizations will need to use the knowledge acquired to personalize each interaction, provide seamless experiences across channels, humanize digital engagements and improve trust on an ongoing basis.

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