COVID Hiked Digital Banking Users But Improved CX Keeps Them There

Health concerns due to coronavirus accomplished a migration to digital banking services that neither marketing nor technological advances had done nearly so well with. Improving the scope and type of customer experience research conducted for banks and credit unions can build on COVID-era growth.

As more consumers and businesses adopt digital channels, the key to maintaining this momentum and even increasing it will be making processes as devoid of friction as possible.

Banks and credit unions face a two-fold challenge here. On one hand, they need to keep up with digitally savvy segments who love digital and want every improvement your institution can make. On the other hand, solutions presented must provide experiences that ensure that digital newcomers are making the most of digital services.

To accomplish both goals and to guide more customers toward being self-sufficient digital consumers, financial institutions need to be able to identify digital hurdles and help their customers overcome them.

COVID-19 has permanently changed consumer attitudes to digital banking. Today, digital-first is a given. Yet this digital surge has left many financial services customers — and organizations — struggling to keep up with accelerated change.

Better Research Drives Better Digital Banking Experiences

Many financial institutions rely on monthly surveys to gauge people’s mindsets and feeling about their services. However, assessing these factors 12 times a year is insufficient and doesn’t facilitate rapid change and adaptation. Today people expect a real-time response and that takes a customer experience program that can keep up that pace.

“People expect a real-time response and that takes a customer experience program that can keep up that pace.”

Strong customer experience programs generally rely on three data streams: attitudinal, behavioral and observational. However, financial institutions traditionally invest heavily in only one facet of customer experience research — attitudinal data collection, supplemented by very limited behavioral tracking based on siloed data. The most common and widespread attitudinal method used involves questionnaires or surveys, both online and offline, which require voluntary cooperation and solicit data that is, by definition, subjective.

The problem is that in the digital realm, limiting customer experience evaluation to attitudinal data alone is insufficient. That’s because digital interaction has an inherent element of objective observability that attitudinal programs just can’t capture.

The beauty of digital channels is that financial institutions can monitor their customers more closely. They can anonymously view people’s actions, interpret their hesitations, determine their intent and — with the right technology — respond in real time to mitigate any friction they encounter.

That’s why it’s crucial to add real-time behavioral and observational data streams to the customer experience ecosystem. These two measurements deliver objective answers.

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Four Steps to Improve Digital Habits and Uptake

Exploring the full scope of the digital customer experience — attitudinal, behavioral and observational — is an important first step. Here are four more steps financial services organizations can take to improve digital habits and uptake:

Step 1: Facilitate new audience adoption.
In the age of coronavirus, many have increased online banking usage. Yet that adoption has not always been voluntary. Newer users like Baby Boomers may be less digitally savvy, yet still feel obligated to use digital services. Make sure you understand the new customer experience and identify friction points that they are facing even as they continue to adopt digital channels. This will not only lead to smoother onboarding, but can also lower the strain on overloaded call centers that are fielding questions from confused new users.

Step 2: Streamline new digital journeys.
New audiences have new journeys that need to be assisted. For example, wealth management — once a very high-touch, in-person experience — is increasingly moving online to roboadvisors and other mechanisms. The same with mortgages and 401Ks. And these macro journeys are comprised of many micro-journeys. Make sure your institution understands and tracks new journeys at both levels, and ensure that they are as free of struggles as the rest of your digital experience.

Step 3: Help new digital banking users to help themselves.
Ideally digital users are low-touch customers. This means that digital self-service should be the rule, and call center interactions the exception. Yet those calls are inevitable, and you can improve both the digital self-service funnel and the time it takes to resolve issues if agents are equipped to understand exactly what the customer is calling about. Empower your agents with real-time data and visual evidence. This helps them understand both the customer journey and the friction points encountered before the customer even comes on the line. Then, agents can teach customers how to overcome obstacles and submit clear tickets to engineering — lowering future call center volume.

Step 4: Align internal functions for a better digital end result.
Customer-facing service does not exist in a vacuum. In fact, it cannot exist without complete internal alignment centered on the customer’s perspective. Breaking down internal data silos is key to ensuring that data from every digital journey does not remain hostage with individual teams. Rather, you need to adopt technology that can democratize data currently spread across voice of the customer and customer experience functions, as well as IT, Marketing, Research, Business Intelligence, Risk, Consumer, Business and other groups — stitching it together to effectively orchestrate or course correct each customer journey with a single unified viewpoint.

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