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3 Ways to Elevate Your Financial Services Customer Experience

How Financial Services Can Improve Customer Experiences

Customers want better experiences from their financial service providers. Here’s what they’re thinking — and how to improve.

The latest Future of Financial Services Report – a window into global customer preferences and behaviour – sheds light on what ASEAN customers today expect from financial service providers. Customer experiences of banking, insurance, and wealth management services are falling short of expectations. This is prompting customers to switch service providers. But for financial services institutions (FSIs) willing to make changes, these trends present an opportunity to inspire new loyalty, trust, and business growth.

Salesforce ASEAN’s Prakash Thomas believes that customer behaviour has significantly shifted in the region. In an era of economic uncertainty with the lingering effects of the pandemic, customers today prefer digital-first experiences in almost every aspect of daily life. As Regional Vice President of Financial Services & Health, Thomas notes FSIs are having to rethink customer journeys, and make them digital-first to meet customer expectations. 

“Financial services are making the shift to digital-first experiences,” said Thomas. “Yet customers aren’t satisfied and aren’t afraid to switch providers. Over one-third of customers across banking, insurance, and wealth management switched providers in the last 12 months — for an easier, better experience. Today, FSIs have an opportunity through digital transformation to anticipate customers’ needs just like Spotify and Tiktok anticipate what their users want next.”

As interest rates and costs of living rise, the report shows consumers are more willing than before to look for better alternatives that meet their needs. Global customer churn rates are substantial at 22% for banking, 33% for insurance, and 33% for wealth.

At global level, the churn rates are at 22% for banking, 33% for insurance and 33% for wealth. In Singapore, the churn rates are at 22% for banking, 29% for insurance and 46% for wealth.

In Singapore, the churn is high especially in wealth management services with 46% of surveyed customers switching providers – 13% higher than the global churn rate. 

This can be partially explained from the reasons for switching providers. 

A common trend is the lack of trust ASEAN customers have in their providers. The biggest driver for switching providers was ‘hidden fees and fine print’ (40% in Singapore). 

With customers expecting digital-first experiences even after pandemic-related social restrictions have eased, FSIs need to invest in technology to lift their digital capabilities. The report highlights three key trends in the future of financial services. To retain and delight customers in a post-pandemic economy, successful FSIs of the next decade will need to excel in the following areas. 

1. Offer seamless digital services and customer journeys

As businesses shut and call centres were overwhelmed with customer calls during the pandemic, digital channels emerged as the preferred option to engage customers. This trend continues now for ASEAN customers, who are ready to change providers for a better digital experience. Customers highlighted ‘Easy to use digital interface and user experience (website, app, chat function)’ as another key reason for switching providers (39% in Singapore). Top three reasons customers switch financial providers in banking, insurance, and wealth management — transparency, ease of use, personalised service.

Andrew Taggart, Partner (Clients & Markets Leader), PwC South East Asia Consulting, says FSIs are trying to make the customer experience seamless and easy. 

“We have seen FSIs trying to move beyond creating good customer service through easy and efficient customer transactions,” said Taggart. “They are now trying to create more customer value by providing more contextualised and personalised insights, and advice at interactions across all channels, human and digital. This requires a shift away from the mindset that digital channels are only good for efficient transactions and that human interactions are better suited for handling enquiries, to an omnichannel customer journey that bridges the two.”

The report also reflects a consumer trend of switching to fintech platforms for their simplicity. When asked why they didn’t use a traditional provider, Singapore customers highlighted ‘easy and fast setup, verification, onboarding, and first time use of the app’ and ‘easy and intuitive user interface/user experience and navigation of the app’. Percentages for both were well above global averages.

Why customers are trying non-traditional Financial Service Institutions — 47% global customers and 52% Singapore customers cited fast setup, verification, onboarding. 41% global customers and 48% Singapore customers also mentioned easy user experience.

Gary Teh, Managing Director (Group IT) at Great Eastern, a Singapore-based insurance provider, believes FSIs can implement service automation to deliver better customer experiences. But they should have a strategic approach to automation. 

“We are guided by the value to the customer,” said Teh. “Ultimately, automation needs to enable customers to get service faster and more comprehensively in one click. If it doesn’t help the customer get quick service, then I’d say don’t do it.”

Great Eastern has successfully implemented many ‘one-click’ services – enabled by integrations with multiple platforms like digital IDs and instant payment transfer services. Its customers can fill in their application form with SingPass and pay via PayNow almost instantly. Products such as travel insurance, home content cover, and dengue cover can also be purchased at the point of need in one click, without having to go through an agent.

2. Make every interaction personal

From online searches to advertisements to Netflix choices, consumers are being delivered personalised experiences across industries like never before. Non-curated experiences are impacting customer satisfaction in a significant way. ‘Attentive and personalised customer service’ was the next highest driver for switching providers (31% in Singapore). 

This is an area where traditional banks are still trying to improve their capabilities. Many are still using legacy systems with data silos across the business and no centralised source of truth. This makes it difficult to have a 360-degree customer view. When asked ‘does your provider anticipate your financial needs?’ only 13% of Singapore customers said they agree. 

Delivering the relevant and personalised experiences that customers expect requires customer data to be readily accessible and easily managed. A cloud-based CRM like Customer 360 can provide a single, shared view of the customer journey across a service provider’s teams. It can enable teams to work together to deliver connected customer experiences and build strong relationships. 

While data and digital capabilities are important, it is also equally important to deliver service with a human touch. Teh explains how Great Eastern relies on its network of agents to deliver personalised customer experiences. 

“Nothing can beat personalised service with a human touch. If you had a butler, would you not call? So, our focus has been to empower our agents with the tools to deliver personalised service to customers. When we design our customer journey, we always have our agents in mind. Today, our agents can help our customers perform financial and non-financial transactions digitally. Customers don’t need to step out of the comfort of their home or office.”

3. Build credibility and trust with customers

A key theme of the global report is a continued lack of customer trust in financial providers. For the Singapore market this is particularly clear, with less than 18% agreeing with the statement ‘I trust that my provider is invested in my financial wellbeing.’ 

According to Taggart, customers are questioning service providers’ ability to use their data to provide proactive service and increase trust

“The customer experience of privacy today is clicking on long, never read, legalistic terms and conditions and then clicking through cookie acceptances,” said Taggart. “They are really left hoping service providers will do the right thing on data sharing, that the laws they don’t understand are sufficient to protect them, and providers have sufficient cyber defences to protect their data. 

“I think more is required to educate customers and ultimately allow them to participate in the data sharing market, i.e. if FSIs share customer data with an organisation, they will get benefits and in turn pass on benefits to the customer, like discounts, points, gifts, or upgrades.” 

Customers want providers to care more about their financial wellbeing and the insights from the report outline some key areas for improvement. To start, financial providers can regularly highlight how they protect and use customer data, remain compliant to industry regulations and make terms and conditions easily understandable.

Want to learn more?

Understand the trends that are shaping the future of financial services by downloading the ‘Future of Financial Services’ Report today.

This post originally appeared on the A.U.-version of the Salesforce blog.  

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