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Converting seamless customer experience to customer loyalty

In response to the increasing demands of today’s always connected consumer, the term customer experience has become more than a simple buzzword. Used as a key brand differentiator for all types of industries, it has emerged as a crucial tool in driving customer loyalty in banking. According to Gartner, 89 per cent of businesses now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus just 36 per cent four years ago. So, what do financial institutions need to consider to build loyalty through a unified customer experience?

Keep it simple

While many customers now prefer to bank online, this doesn’t mean the demise of the traditional high street branch. Research shows that even though customers use digital platforms as an initial point of contact for basic services and information, human face-to-face interaction is still a key engagement driver with over 60 per cent of customers preferring financial advice in-person.

However, branch designs and processes do need to adapt in order to deliver a more integrated, cost effective and customer centric experience. Removing barriers within the branch format can help create a more welcoming and modern environment, which coupled with the appropriate technology, allows the re-definition of customer, staff and cash journeys.

Practice personalisation

Every individual will naturally require different services to suit their needs and loyalty often comes down to how financial institutions match these needs and deliver tailored services accordingly. Some new entrants in the market - such as Atom Bank, which offers only app-based interaction or Metro Bank who has centred its strategy on branch banking – are starting to redefine the banking landscape and create new opportunities for the personalisation of financial services.

However one customer’s convenience is another customer’s hassle, so financial institutions need to put customers at the heart of their strategy, to ensure that they are delivering the right service, at the right time, through the right channel.

Collaborate for convenience

With a sharp rise in new payment technologies and new entrants redefining the traditional banking experience, banks customers are increasingly using peripheral services outside of their designated bank, in search of convenient financial instruments. 

Recognising the need to embed innovative new services into their wider customer offering, almost two-in-three banks globally are upping their investment in fintech this year to better position themselves against changing consumer needs. By investing in start-ups, leveraging third-party services and using fintech partners to fill the gaps, banks are better placed to offer customers the service and choice they expect, even with the legacy technologies that still permeate many traditional banks.

Financial institutions need to continually reassess their customer strategies in order to drive loyalty. Whether buying a coffee, flowers or taking out a loan, all customers today demand a convenient, simple and personalised experience.

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