When thinking about a positive customer service experience, people tend to remember times when a strong connection was made. Personally, one of the best customer service experiences I’ve had involved Amazon and my young daughter.
My daughter misplaced her beloved pacifier, which we affectionately referred to as “Lamby.” This pacifier was critical to her nighttime routine — and our overall well-being. If you’re a mom or dad, you get this.
“The consumer world continues to undergo massive transformation ignited by conveniences made possible by digital technologies and platforms.”
When Lamby mysteriously went missing one evening, I needed to take immediate action and find a quick solution. I jumped on Amazon and ordered a replica (and a back-up) for next-day delivery. I didn’t have to enter my credit card information or my address which, as a sleep-deprived father, I very much appreciated. A single click, and all would soon be right in the world.
Question to ponder: Could my financial providers right my personal financial challenges so quickly?
The consumer world continues to undergo massive transformation ignited by conveniences made possible by digital technologies and platforms. No industry is exempt from this reality, especially as innovators like Amazon enter new markets and continually set the standard for customer experience.
Research continues to show that people would switch to Amazon if the ecommerce giant offered banking solutions. This begs the question: Do banks and credit unions truly understand the threat of Amazon and others when it comes to their business? With Amazon knocking, financial institutions must be innovating continuously to not only meet and exceed consumer expectations but compete with and differentiate among new and non-traditional competitors.
With this in mind, it’s time for financial institutions to reevaluate existing infrastructure and processes.
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Is Your Technology Foundation Strong Enough to Build On?
Financial institutions must evaluate their current technology stack and architecture. Without a single, unified platform, financial institutions will not have the necessary insight or understanding around current business activities to effectively prepare and evolve. When evaluating existing infrastructure, they do so from consumers’ perspective. Designing a foundation around the ideal customer experience will identify key areas needing improvement and will ensure a consumer-centric strategy from the start.
“Designing a foundation around the ideal customer experience will identify key areas needing improvement and ensure a consumer-centric strategy from the start.”
At the same time, financial institutions must consider the role data analytics will play in their future operations. If a financial institution isn’t already considering how they’ll bring data together across different systems, they’re going to be further behind the competition as factors like artificial intelligence and machine learning take hold.
The next step in laying a strong base is going digital, which will help remove friction points for the consumer. Enabling a seamless, one-stop-shop banking experience, where a consumer can move from one process to another without interruption, will be a critical aid to competing with the likes of Amazon.
Taking this step demands more than a front end that simply collects data. It means being available through a consumer’s chosen channel and offering the same level of service and relationship building no matter how, where, or when the interaction happens.
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Can You Get Personal, Establish Trust and Humanize the Banking Experience?
This level of personalization, speed and convenience is what financial institutions need to strive for. While financial institutions aren’t in the business of replacing toddlers’ favorite toys, they must consider the kind of personal and streamlined experience I opened this article with when making business decisions.
“Banks and credit unions must shift their focus from what products they can offer next to what services will help their customers achieve their goals and meet their needs.”
Aside from meeting consumer needs in an efficient and timely manner, making these adjustments will also help establish trust, which can ultimately impact retention and revenue. In the digital age, institutions are potentially constantly engaged with their consumers, even when they’re not physically in the branch. Thus, by default, trust and loyalty are keys to long-term success.
Financial institutions need to be viewed as trusted partners by consumers whenever they find themselves in the banking version of my family’s Lamby emergency. In order to do that, banks and credit unions need to shift their focus from what products they can offer next, to what services will help their customers achieve their goals and meet their needs.
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Pursue Strategic Partnerships that Fulfill Key Challenges
Amazon has a maniacal focus on its customers, and it shows in their ability to enter markets previously unimaginable. This is the attitude banks must adopt now in order to make the necessary changes that will allow them to compete and succeed.
With the bar set higher and higher each day, taking on digital transformation and competitors like Amazon are not tasks to attempt alone. Very few traditional financial institutions are also technology companies and crafting the right platform can take massive amounts of time and resources. Partnering with technology providers can help bring processes online and provide new and innovative tools to consumers.
A key part of Amazon’s “magic” is its operations. One the biggest takeaways for financial institutions is the benefit of operational efficiency and transparency, as it relates to designing a premier customer experience. When implemented effectively, customers will feel as if their financial institution truly knows them, because it is able to offer them exactly what they want and need, quickly and easily.