COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation across every industry sector, and consumers have had to adjust to this new normal by shifting much of their usual practices online to digital services.
Recent research has shown that digital transformation and providing helpful customer experiences are the top two priorities for banking in a pandemic-impacted world. It’s essential for banks to improve their end-to-end digital services and enhance consumer
experiences and engagements throughout the pandemic, and beyond.
The demand for “everywhere, anytime” engagement
Now more than ever, customers are looking for ‘everywhere, anytime engagement’. As the majority of services are currently being accessed remotely, customers are looking for an experience that looks and feels the same regardless of how and when they are in
touch with their bank. Whether a customer is banking on a device, a computer, a phone, or in person – the experience should be consistent and familiar, taking into context the relationship established with the customer and their banking behaviours over time.
Recent research has found that customers want companies to understand them, know them, and reward them – with 75% of people looking for a consistent experience wherever they engage with their bank. To deliver this, it’s essential that banks are delivering
the same level of experience across the different channels they offer, while also considering the individual requirements of that customer and personalising their services to suit.
Moving forwards, banks and credit unions will have to make choices on how they support customers in their digital banking journey – providing a personalised service and offering helpful and proactive financial advice, delivering a service that replicates
digital leaders in other industries.
The need for an omni-channel experience platform
When we look at the ability of companies to deliver on the promise of personalized customer experience across different channels, a gap emerges. As it stands,
only 12% of organisations say they have an omnichannel banking platform that allows them to measure satisfaction across the entire customer journey. As we head further into 2021, we can expect more organisations to adopt digital experience platforms that
are able to unite all components of a customer experience technology ecosystem together. Being able to deliver the best customer experience is the essential competitive edge of any business, and customers today are expecting exceptional, frictionless, and
consistent service across all platforms.
Why it’s important that more traditional channels remain part of the mix
Although the pandemic has accelerated a move to digital channels for many customers, it’s essential that more traditional services are still offered through the brick and mortar channels. Many customers may prefer to speak to a person in-branch, and recent
research has shown that in-branch is still the most effective new customer acquisition channel. It’s worth noting that the primary reason for this was the inability for many banks to support loan applications or digital account openings, and the in-branch
service often serves as the default channel rather than the preferred channel for customers to avoid the lengthy and sometimes complicated digital processes. It’s expected that there will be customer demand for more services to be available through a digital
channel, and for those services to be accessible and simple to use for all.
The emerging threat of fintech and challenger banks
For many incumbent banking organisations, the goal has been to become the primary financial organization of choice for their customer. The introduction of emerging challenger banks has made it easier for customers to utilise different products and services
across many different providers who may offer distinctive features.
Although consumers were buying services using digital channels before the pandemic, COVID has widened the demographic of those who are looking to newer digital offerings. Customers are looking for convenience,
with interest in products and service offerings that can save them both time and money. An increasing number of younger consumers are willing to look at purchasing financial services from large technology companies. This should be a concern for incumbent banks
as many of these emerging fintech and challenger banks receive a higher satisfaction rating than traditional banks.
As improved digital options become available, traditional financial services organisations are at risk of losing individual accounts from existing customers. To build on existing relationships and retain customers, those organisations should focus on improving
digital experiences, deepening engagements and experiences throughout the customer lifecycle, building trust and loyalty in order to remain the best choice for their customers.
Moving forward past the pandemic, tactical changes were made last year that need to become strategic changes this year and beyond for banks in the way they engage with customers and the experiences they deliver. Personalized, contextualized and frictionless
engagements are expected by customers and an imperative competitive differentiator.