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The importance of the human touch in the financial services industry

The changes the world has seen in digital in recent years have been vast, and almost every industry across the globe is grappling with how best to adapt to enable greater efficiency and improved customer experience.  No more so than the financial services sector, which arguably serves to benefit more than other sectors by adopting fully integrated digital platforms to serve their customers.

There is no doubt the majority of consumers desire an integrated digital platform which enables them to have seamless access to all banking services, from effortless money management, to opening new accounts and just simply checking their balance.  There are numerous advantages to the automation of the banking sector, capitalising on innovation to provide seamless, user-friendly and trustworthy services to customers.  

The human experience, however, is still considered a hugely important part of the financial services world.  Whilst it will come as no surprise that the younger age demographic prefers digital solutions, the older generation places a higher preference on person-to-person contact. A white paper released by marketing company Caci predicted that by 2020, branch visits would average only two per year for high income professionals, compared with those consumers nearing retirement age averaging nine per year.  This demonstrates that the human interaction side of the business, albeit reduced, will remain an important part of the customer experience, and the banking sector needs to keep this front of mind when exploring fully automated systems.

Further, we’ve all experienced the frustration of having an issue or question which is unable to be resolved online via the digital platform. For the majority, having a customer service number in order to speak directly to a representative regarding an issue, is still of significant value. Various customer reviews indicate that those companies who do not offer a physical contact number sacrifice their reputation and lose customers as a result of the poor experience.

The banking sector will need to continue to respond to the needs of its customers, by adopting new technologies and providing an integrated platform to suit consumer needs. We at Intelligent Environments believe there is a balance to be found, supporting the need for the human touch, whilst introducing technologies that will provide benefit to customers that would not otherwise be possible. The exact balance between these two approaches is still to be found, but there is no doubt that there is considerable room for growth in the sector.


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