Forty-one percent of U.S. retail banking customers are classified as digital-only and 59% of customers say their standards for customer service have gone up. Consumers have pivoted quickly from traditional channels to new digital and self-service solutions. These new avenues show banks can be agile and provide customers with the digital engagement they are used to from companies like Amazon or Uber.
Only 27% of consumers describe financial service institutions as completely customer-centric. With experience becoming central to relationships, customer service in banking must become connected and seamless, anytime, anywhere, and on the customer’s channel of choice. This starts with putting the customer at the center of everything. Customers want to feel like their needs come first, and banks that can deliver on this will come out on top.
When it comes to meeting expectations, banks can do so by focusing on:
- Seamless, connected customer journeys
- Automation and innovation
- Using customer service in banking to grow
Create seamless, connected customer journeys
The past few years have accelerated expectations for customer service in banking, with 68% reporting that COVID-19 has increased their expectations of companies’ digital capabilities. Banks must deliver the friction-free, 360-degree, agile service that people want.
Simple, intuitive, transparent transactions
We live in an age where people are used to opening an app, pushing a button, and getting everything done from the palm of their hand. Online banking has become the norm, and the mere presence of an app on which people can address their banking needs is table stakes. The functionality of that app and how it works in concert with other aspects of customer service in banking is the differentiator. Usability is critical when people evaluate banks or financial institutions.
People want … clear, transparent, and easy to understand [information]. In short, they want empathetic banking: simple practices that put the customer first.
People want easy, 24/7 access to their information. They also want the information to be clear, transparent, and easy to understand. In short, they want empathetic banking: simple practices that put the customer first. This includes services like automated and proactive notifications, the ability to track loan processes, free credit scores, and transparency on how to avoid fees and overdraft penalties, which erode consumer trust and expose banks to severe competition from rivals.
A connected 360-degree customer experience
Eighty-one percent of people attempt self-service before seeking support — which is a good thing. Self-service saves time for both customers and the banks, making for quick, in-and-out interactions. But, these self-service incidents need to be an integrated part of a connected experience. Data must be collected and connected at every touchpoint. When a customer walks into a branch, the human-to-human interactions inform the digital interactions and vice-versa.
52% of customers describe most service interactions as fragmented.
However, as it stands, 59% of consumers say it often feels like they are dealing with separate departments, not one company, and 52% of customers describe most service interactions as fragmented. People want friction-free, seamless interactions. They want their banks to have a 360-degree view, so they avoid repeating their story or starting at square one when moving across teams, channels, and departments. Regardless of the issue or whether it escalates, banks must engage with customers on their channel of choice.
Beyond creating a connected experience, people want an experience tailored to them. Sixty-six percent of customers expect companies to understand their unique situation and needs, with 52% expecting personalized offers. Enabling a 360-degree view of the customer allows financial institutions to obtain the knowledge needed to personalize interactions and offers. A comprehensive view of the customer allows banks to make offers based on the customer’s past actions. It opens up opportunities to reach out to the right customers at the right time with the right offers. Ultimately, this improves the overall customer experience and fosters long-term loyalty by making the customer feel like more than a number.
Integrate automation and innovation
If banks want to reinvent themselves, they need comprehensive digital solutions. Banks can use tools like automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to help free up time and resources and reallocate them into growing business and customer relationships. Automating processes and properly implementing AI creates efficiencies and infuses context and insight into each interaction. Automation enables banks to streamline onboarding, simplify complex transactions, anticipate customer needs, and offer customized products and services in the right way, at the right time, across the banking customer lifecycle.
Automation and artificial intelligence benefits banks — and their customers.
Automation and artificial intelligence benefits banks — and their customers. Autonomous finance allows for far more personalization and creates an enriched customer experience. It cuts red tape and process times, resulting in faster, more simple interactions in everything from mortgage approvals to dispute resolution. It also eliminates pain points like fragmented journeys, redundant product offers, and long wait times. The result is a banking experience that feels tailor-made for each consumer.
Use customer service in banking to grow
Despite elevating digital service and capability, many financial institutions find it is difficult to win the loyalty of their customers. The problem is that digital rarely differentiates the bank, makes the customer feel special, or builds lasting relationships. Digital experiences, ease of use, and transparency are essential, but they need to come with a side of advocacy. People want a digital experience, but still crave the benefits of human interaction. Seven out of 10 would welcome a digital experience that includes human advice for banking problems. They want to feel like their financial institutions care about them and also have their best interests at heart.
For financial institutions to build relationships, they must truly get to know their customers — and prove that they do, at every touchpoint.
For financial institutions to build relationships, they must truly get to know their customers — and prove that they do, at every touchpoint. A connected customer experience stemming from one source of truth affords banks this capability. It allows them to create a connected experience, address customer needs, and build a foundation for long-lasting relationships.
Customer experience is the future
Eighty percent of consumers say that the company experience is as important as its products and services. Enhancing the customer experience is paramount, and it requires an intentional prioritization of the consumer. Focusing on their wants, needs, and expectations — as well as investing in the right tools and solutions — make delivering this kind of service possible.