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How can banks embrace the post-pandemic relationship with customers?

The past 12 months have been a period of intense learning for banks, providing them with unique insights into the customer experience and what services will be at the core of their offering for the years ahead. Banks must now look at how they implement these learnings and ensure they maximise the opportunity to strengthen customer relationships as lockdown eases. This bears extra importance as competition across the industry has intensified with a host of new fintechs and challenger banks continuing to enter the market, each bringing new experiences and levels of service for customers.

The pandemic placed an undeniable focus on digital methods of banking as physical services had to be reduced, or halted completely. While there is widespread adoption of enhanced digital services, and this has increased during the last year, a more balanced mix of integrated physical and digital services will prevail for the future. Banks serve every corner of society and the diversity of demographics means that choice is key. There should be an emphasis on the provision of different services to ensure that the ultimate goal of fulfilling customers needs is upheld. For example, there are a large number of people who are not digitally enabled with no prospect or desire for these circumstances to change. They will always require a physical outlet to carry out their banking interactions.

Another group impacted by the debate around digital only services are the many cash businesses active in the UK. These businesses are typically SMEs, which have been unable to operate for much of lockdown. The reopening of high streets should see an expected rise in branch use by SMEs and banks should consider how these customers can also experience an integrated physical and digital service. More connected journeys should be introduced to help these customers, such as pre-staged interactions for business cash deposits, or the availability of multi-function self-service solutions.

We have witnessed during lockdown just how effective digital services can be thanks to the ever-evolving capabilities of technology available to banks. However, inclusivity should remain at the top of the agenda for banks when devising their post-pandemic strategies. Technology should form part of enabling a better consumer experience, driving a more personalised relationship between bank and customer. The choice of what service comes first, remains in the hands of customers - and always will.

We find ourselves in times of continued uncertainty ahead. Uncertainty around how customers will behave, what their banking needs will be and whether we will face future lockdowns. Amongst this uncertainty, it is important to consider a banks’ role as a point of trust for customers. There is a responsibility for banks to supplement their core services with elements of customer support, education and personalisation. And for many customers, they have come to expect this as the norm. Especially those who bank with neo-banks, which have all come to market offering an array of halo benefits and functionality.

Looking ahead, there is an equilibrium to be found by the industry that will give customers the best possible service, smoothly transitioning between whichever method of banking they have chosen at that moment in time. This is not limited to making a decision between using an app or a bank branch, there are multiple touch points that can work together to enable this level of customer experience. As an industry, we can step forward by focusing less on the polarity of those that bank only via digital channels and those that bank only in branch. For the majority of banking customers, a blend is the most desired way to bank.


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Matthew Phillips

Matthew Phillips

VP, Head of Strategic Advisory Services, Eurasia

Diebold Nixdorf

Member since

20 Sep 2017



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