How to Automate with the Banking Customer in Mind — and Create A Smoother CX

With digital services and automation tools increasingly centering the banking experience, today's customers seek a certain level of instant gratification. In order to keep customers engaged, financial institutions need to build journeys centered around efficiency and great service. Here's how — and why.

Today’s customers are used to getting what they want, when they want it — with just a few clicks. But the banking industry still comes with a customer journey that can be cumbersome because of delays, errors, hidden fees and fund-accessibility issues. When was the last time you told someone about the great service you received from your bank, insurance company or tax office?

Whether it’s a car or house purchase, investment fund transfer, or simply renewing a bankcard, financial institutions do not generally have the best track record when it comes to customer satisfaction or net promoter scores (NPS). Customers rank their streaming and parcel delivery service higher in terms of satisfaction. The effectiveness of a bank’s digital services, or the TrueDigital Quotient, comes in at a mere 25%, reflecting the dissatisfaction customers feel when completing transactions solely through digital channels.

Many big-name banks and financial institutions are exploring ways they can increase customer satisfaction, reduce operational costs and drive revenue growth by using artificially intelligent (AI) technologies in the future. But why reinvent the wheel?

Doesn’t investing in existing intelligent automation (IA) to manage digital tasks make more sense? IA utilizes robotic process automation (RPA), AI, machine learning, no-code development, natural language processing and other cognitive technologies to optimize workflows and boost efficiency. But IA can do more than that — because end-to-end process automation can have a real impact on boosting customer satisfaction.

Fintech firms and digital banks can leverage intelligent automation for faster customer journeys. This includes Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, digital onboarding, and seamless processes, catering to both digital and traditional customers effectively — meaning customers can get what they want quickly, and without pain. For younger customers this means digital banking, while traditional customers are provided with better service at a physical location that includes digital offerings.

Processes should be designed with the customer in mind. In banking and finance, most companies think of RPA-IA as an efficiency tool, but significant opportunities often unexpectedly arise when they start to deploy it. Often, it is the customer experience that benefits most as it is not just about efficiency. Automation software can help re-imagine your offerings with the customer at the center of it. Amidst the frenzy over AI, revisiting foundational basics before proceeding may be prudent because, as intelligent automation highlights, essential groundwork is often overlooked.

Avoiding Customer Churn

From routine tasks like mortgage applications to specialized services — such as closing accounts and infrequent or one-time customer experiences — significantly shape long-term loyalty and recommendations.

To illustrate how today’s predominantly young customers are not brand-loyal and seek the easiest route to fulfill their needs swiftly, let me paint you a picture with a tangible example of why people might take their business elsewhere. If you join a cloud-based digital bank that has no branches, all transactions will likely be delivered by a 24/7 customer support hotline. Certain banks like this also do not offer checking accounts, only high yield savings CDs and loans, which many people are attracted to given preferrable interest rate offers. This all sounds great, but you still run into problems because of the infancy of some of these technologies. Mobile check deposits can take 14 days to clear. That’s not good enough.

If you are dealing with checks, the bank may require the customer to write a restrictive endorsement on the back of the check saying it can only be deposited at a specific bank. If there is a problem, this one transaction can take a lot of your time. Anything that improves time to resolve in a self-service fashion on a digital channel helps, but it’s a dichotomy. How can you have a cashless society until you solve basic issues? It is a pain to transfer out and you don’t really want to, but lethargy is inherently baked into the system so anything that can speed up the process is going to improve the customer experience.

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Dissatisfaction often goes unvoiced, with customers silently departing without notice. Many companies remain unaware until weeks later, indicating a blind spot in recognizing and addressing evolving customer behavior.

With so much money at stake why are organizations struggling to get it right? The customer experience needs to take center stage, with forward-thinking companies investing in process intelligence, business orchestration and automation. Those lagging behind are the organizations that lack measurement tools and an end-to-end view of their processes. In my experience, banks that handle digitization successfully employ more than 500 digital workers and meticulously measure outcomes. Organizations with a small digital workforce — or none at all — will find it hard to stay competitive.

Navigating the Digital Landscape

The U.S. digital banking market continues to grow because of consumer demand for the convenience of it. But Northern Europe boasts the largest global digital banking market, with Sweden dominating with a 98% cashless economy. Nordea, a leading bank in the region, spearheads this transformation by prioritizing customer-centricity around the concept of ‘the idea of something better’ through cutting-edge mobile and digital banking solutions. Despite its 200-year legacy, Nordea embraced online banking early on, and in 2015, it adopted banking automation software to revolutionize its operations. Some six million transactions are processed by its digital workforce, including simple tasks such as new card requests, reducing errors and costs, allowing Nordea to tailor its services based on customer preferences.

“It’s one of the key aspects where we want to be the leading bank. We have invested a lot into our mobile bank, which is regarded as the best in the Nordic markets,” says Ossi Leikola, Head of Operations at Nordea. “We also believe very much in a personal relationship with our customers – that’s why we’re very interested in omni-channel.”

Nordea now employs nearly 400 digital workers and 450 automated processes for its 10 million customers worldwide. This transformation has elevated customer satisfaction, positioning the bank as a regional leader, using intelligent automation.

When it comes to customer experience, efficiency is key to retaining loyalty. Companies excelling in speedy, accurate interactions keep their customers.

Automation tools simplify transactions, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty. In today’s informed market, banks must capitalize on customer engagements — or risk reputational damage.

Rob Paisley is the industry director for financial services and insurance at SS&C Blue Prism. He specializes in data integration, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Analytics. With expertise as an industry subject matter expert, Rob has been leading the cross-sell strategy for SS&C Blue Prism’s banking, financial services, and insurance verticals since May 2023. Prior to joining SS&C Blue Prism, Rob was a robotic process automation (RPA) and business process management (BPM) solutions engineer for 15 years. Additionally, Rob brings a wealth of experience from working with prominent Wall Street banks, insurance companies, and logistics providers.

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