By Neil Murphy, Global VP at ABBYY
Consumers have accelerated their adoption of digital channels more over the last year than any other time, with banking leading the pack. Fintech companies and challenger banks are not sleeping on this innovation wave and are siphoning off a huge share of banking revenue which has led to traditional banks taking the back seat.
These challenger banks have the advantage of starting with a vision and no legacy and have become experts at creating frictionless, seamless customer experiences. They also know the importance of keeping the customer at the centre of every business decision, and as a result, banking is becoming a commodity– which is why established banks must build on their brands and their position of trust.
So, how can these traditional banks work to sustain great customer experience and withstand the forces of becoming a basic commodity?
Credit cards, current accounts and coffee
Today’s consumers live fast-paced lives and their demands in banking reflect this. They want banks to provide them with a digital experience that makes their lives easier – helping to make decisions faster and achieve more from the day. But while customers are becoming more digitally savvy, many still place importance on human contact at their local branch or with their bank advisor by phone. YouGov found that almost a quarter of Brits still manage their money by popping into their local bank branch. So, banks will need to master the balancing act between digitalisation and personal customer service.
This is why the Dutch bank ING’s North American arm, Capital One and Lloyds Bank in Manchester transformed their banks into café-style branches. Discussing your current account over a coffee might appear strange, but more banks are creating spaces where customers will actually want to speak to bankers. In fact, the Dutch Bank created several cafes in the U.S. where “financial baristas” would serve coffee as they chat with visitors about their financial needs and explain the financial institution’s capabilities.
In an increasingly saturated industry, it’s no longer about the products and services banks sell to consumers, it about creating a unique experience within them, while improving any poor customer experiences that are rooted in processes and technology. Banks should work to understand what success looks like from a customer perspective and then work backwards to understand current processes and the holistic experience of everyone who is interacting with your product, service, brand, and company.
360-degree view to enhance CX
As traditional services are becoming a commodity, having the better customer experience can make the difference. And even if you provide an exceptional service, if the journey to use that service isn’t great, customers will leave, and your customer acquisition costs will rise. This is why having a smooth process is key for customer retention, onboarding and overall satisfaction.
A common approach to streamlining the journey is to collaborate with team members and specialists who work within your process – for banking, this can include customer acquisition staff, customer service representatives, and anyone who regularly interacts with content-centric tasks – and look for areas of improvement. Work with these team members and allow them to share input and guide you to achieve your goals.
It’s also important to incorporate technology that can give you an unbiased look into how processes are working. Process intelligence gives banks the tools to analyse less structured processes, identify opportunities for improvement, and increase both the speed and accuracy of executing processes. When banks use advanced platforms that both understand content (including unstructured content such as e-mails, application forms or pay slips) and detect behavioural changes (whether it is customer behaviour or operational behaviour), they can identify factors that delay customer service response times, service delivery and even product innovation, and target them precisely here.
Innovate to customer needs
The technology implemented should augment and assist people, not replace them. The key to delivering a great customer experience is human intelligence. By knowing where process bottlenecks or deviations are occurring, you can revise steps or retrain staff to ensure optimal outcomes occur.
Similarly, if certain employees can complete tasks at a higher success rate than others, you want to know how they’re doing it so it can be duplicated across the team for overall improved workforce productivity. This is where task mining is gaining momentum.
Task mining allows businesses to understand how employees complete tasks by recording user interactions, while keeping privacy in mind. It shares similarities with process mining, but it leverages user interaction data instead of business metrics and log files to analyse processes. The data you get from your customers can be incredibly effective in building customer experiences. Leveraging this data in a useful way can lead to big gains for banks and help make insightful and impactful decisions.
Avoid the commoditisation trap
In order to meet today’s requirements of the digital bank customer and to keep up with large technology companies that are becoming more and more established in the financial sector, the banks must adopt solutions with digital intelligence, sustain great customer experience and withstand the forces of becoming a basic commodity.
Cost savings and improved efficiencies certainly drive banks to discourage their customers to visit their branches, leading to most banks becoming faceless which automatically drives the trust level down. With the right digital intelligence tools, banks and financial service providers can obtain a complete overview of their processes and improve the customer journey – only then can they build meaningful relationships leading to business success.