CSP Happenings

Topic: Customer Service Experience

3 Techniques to Facilitate a Smooth Customer Experience

March 30, 2022

Customer experience is best delivered when it doesn’t feel like an “experience” at all, but rather, a seamless part of your customers’ day-t0-day lives. By removing friction, your brand becomes less of a separate entity, and more of an extension of your customers’ thought process and needs, creating a greater intimacy and mutually beneficial relationship. Customers are increasing their interaction with financial institutions through digital platforms, and in order to enhance that experience, your organization should streamline online activities so customers can easily and conveniently interact with your financial institution.

Provide Free, Customizable Tools

Customers need to be able to use the tools you provide for them, such as budgeting software, retirement planning and how they organize their savings buckets. However, they way your organization sets up your tools may be different from how your customers want to use them. Think about if your tools may be too “rigid” in their application, and how they can allow for customers to use your tools the way they want.

As an example, customers may want to be able to categorize different types of food purchases, such as separating drinks at happy hour from a dinner out with the family, even though both would typically fall under “Food and Dining.” Providing the customization ensures that your customers will be able to use your budgeting tools (in this example) in a way that is meaningful to them and the way they think about their expenses. Think about how you can set up your tools to allow for flexibility and a tailored approach.

Keep Promotions As Targeted As Possible

Promotions can be a tricky thing. On one hand, you want to utilize your customer data and your platform to promote new products and drive sales as much as possible. On the other hand, you don’t want to jade the overall customer experience by making your digital interface feel like a clickbait website full of pop-up windows and banner ads.

Pick your marketing opportunities wisely, make sure they’re non-abrasive (ie make sure they don’t interfere with online banking activities), and most importantly, make them relevant. The more accurately you can use your customers’ data to give them timely, relevant ads and promotions, the more likely they are to find utility in what you have to offer.

Encourage Digital Engagement

Get your customers to engage with your digital platform as much as possible. By creating an easy-to-use, streamlined app and online banking platform, you can remove the friction from your customers’ experience and enhance their utility of your dashboard. Think about ways you can make every task as simple as possible – from making mobile deposits to creating a new account. Similarly, anticipate ways your customers might get more utility out of your platform. Can you waive certain ATM and overdraft fees? Can you pre-approve them for new accounts without a waiting period? Anticipate your customers’ needs, then make achieving them as easy as possible.

Customer Satisfaction and Retention: 3 Reasons to Delight Your Customers

Exceeding customer expectations doesn’t just feel good — it’s a core driving force for your financial institution.

Too often, financial institutions are forced to apply fees and extract value from their customers in order to drive profits on a quarterly basis. However, this approach leads to poor customer experience, lowered enthusiasm for you financial institution’s brand, and an increased churn in your customer base coupled with lower profitability.

In reality, most executives and directors want to do right by their customers, and fortunately, there is a strong business case to do so. Consider the following when thinking about your customer experience and driving revenue for your financial institution.

Creating Advocates For Your Brand

One of the most powerful marketing tools your organization can have is a strong base of passionate brand advocates. These are the individuals who talk about your financial institution openly and enthusiastically with their friends and family members. By going to bat for your organization and speaking from a place of authenticity, your organization’s efforts to delight this customer have created a marketing tool that is both free and more powerful than any set of digital ads could ever be.

Admittedly, achieving passionate brand advocates sets a high benchmark. These individuals are ultimately putting their own reputation on the line by recommending you to those in their lives, cognizant of the fact that a bad experience could come back to them in the form of a disappointed acquaintance. However, by doing your work well and proving time and again to be a reliable partner, these enthusiastic customers won’t hesitate to sing praise about your organization’s value.

Creating Value For Your Client Base

Perhaps unsurprisingly, individuals who are more passionate about your brand are more willing to engage in new products and services, seek out your brand for new solutions, provide constructive feedback and overall serve as a more profitable customer.

In this way, executives and directors of financial institutions must always prioritize the long-term relationship over short-term profits. Decisions made to extract value without providing it in return, such as hidden fees as the most common example, slowly dissolve the trust between you and the customer, and result in less passion about your brand, higher attrition and less advocacy overall.

Fulfilling A Higher Purpose

In a business environment that largely focuses on profitability, it’s important for business leaders to remember that their organizations impact the financial lives of their customers, which impacts their wellbeing as human beings.

Profit-driven private organizations can continue to do so ethically when they know those profits are driven by a higher mission of improving customers’ lives. In particular, financial institutions have the privilege of working in the realm of personal finance, a deeply intimate and important facet of virtually every American’s life.

By honoring that relationship with the customer and creating value to create economic security and financial savvy, banks and credit unions are truly fulfilling their highest purpose.

3 Values of Financial Institutions: Banks As A Vehicle For Trust

Financial institutions are put under more pressure than ever before to perform across a wide variety of facets and offerings. They need to offer state-of-the-art technology, drive customer experience, become a partner that betters their clients’ financial lives, establish competitive offerings and evolve more quickly than ever before, just to name a few.

With so much responsibility, it’s easy to understand why financial institution executives and directors could become overwhelmed. When leadership is stretched too thin, it can sometimes be valuable to regroup and re-focus around a bank or credit union’s core offering: a safe yet accessible place for customers to maintain their wealth.

Specifically, by re-focusing around the central selling point of being a secure place for customers’ financial lives, banks and credit unions can drive other aspects of their organization. Consider the following:

Increasing Threat of Cyber Attacks

More than ever, financial institutions and tech organizations with access to customer data are subject to cyber attacks and data leaks. As such, organizations are taking increased measures to protect customer data, including adhering to new regulations around data storage, sourcing outside cybersecurity firms to protect their organization and investing time and energy in internal staff to work with customers and notify them of suspicious purchases.

Simply put, the core value of financial institutions as safe harbors of personal wealth is constantly being challenged, and by investing and protecting, your organization doubles down on this core value and is inherently important to your customers and the broader personal finance ecosystem.

Opportunity of FinTech Partnerships

If your organization has made the proper investments in cybersecurity, your leadership team will want to simultaneously protect customer data while utilizing it to its full advantage, making use of customer information to help promote products and services and better serve your customers.

This opens the opportunity for a FinTech organization to partner with yours and contribute to your overall value. In particular, when a FinTech organization has a reliable customer base (in the form of your financial institution’s customers) and a safe, secure space to work without concerns about customer data, they can help build out your organization’s more innovative features, finding ways to utilize customer data that delight them and make them more informed and sophisticated stewards of their own wealth.

Customers With Higher Demands

A final important reason to invest in your cybersecurity is because customers simply have higher demands today than in the past, and ensuring a safe space for their financial lives is assumed to be guaranteed and ensured by your financial institution.

When things don’t go right, customers may begin to question the efficacy of your financial institution and look elsewhere for more secure options. By creating a robust security system for your customers, you lay the cornerstone of your institution on which customer experience and tech innovation can thrive.

4 Ways to Modernize Your Financial Institution

March 2, 2022

At a high level, customers want more and less interaction with their financial institution simultaneously. 2022 will see increased interaction and monitoring of their financial life, but will experience more of this activity through digital, rather than in-depth and in-person interactions.

Customers will have higher expectations of their financial institution, and think of their FI as a strategic partner in their overall financial health. Going into the future, consumers will expect their data to be better utilized, but to be even better protected as it’s being accessed.

More Frequent Touchpoints

Consumers will conduct more transactions and interact with their financial institutions than ever before, looking for features and capabilities that help them be nimble with their finances. Higher numbers and increasingly specified savings accounts, more flexibility with retirement accounts and regular monitoring of their financial health all play into this dynamic.

Branding Through Digital

Customers will have more interactions through digital than ever before. Increasing amounts of self-service, confident movement through improved mobile apps and increasing digital parity among big banks and smaller financial institutions all make the digital playing field more accessible than ever before. As such, organizations need to make sure their personality, brand values and differentiators are communicated through this channel, especially mobile.

However, this doesn’t affect the relevance of branches and bank associates. It simply puts more pressure on branch experiences to excel in their delivery. Utilizing the capabilities of a universal banker, bank associates must be familiar with the digital landscape their customers regularly function within as well, able to explain and troubleshoot digital issues in person.

Growing Through New Value

One of the ways customers are increasingly expecting more from their financial institutions is through consulting and advice. For the traditional retail banking customer, they’re looking toward their financial institutions to help them manage and optimize their finances, rather than simply oversee them.

More readily available information about personal finance and a consumer base that more readily shares data and information has given rise to this increase in expectation, and financial institutions can make themselves invaluable partners along the way.

The Future is Sophisticated Security

Perhaps most notably, the direction banking is moving toward in the future includes the unique challenge and opportunity of guaranteeing security while utilizing/sharing more consumer data than ever before. Open banking, the pioneering of blockchain for financial institutions and the capabilities of FinTech all create audacious and meaningful opportunities.

While FinTech partnerships with traditional financial institutions are already moving ahead full steam, open banking and blockchain are still being defined. This creates an opportunity for executives and directors to get on board with these innovations before they enter the mainstream in order to position their organizations for long-term success and timely evolution.

What Gen Z Wants

When directors and executives at financial institutions think about generational differences, technology often serves as the biggest indicator for behavioral changes, and this stands true for Gen Z. As a generation fully immersed in online technology and banking since day one, they think about online experiences differently, and have higher and unique standards than their Millennial peers.

However, other trends reflect a response to their generation’s lived experiences, the lessons they’ve learned from older generations, and incremental building on the existing platforms they enter adulthood with. Consider these pieces when thinking about working with your Gen Z customers and retaining their attention.

An Organization With a Soul and a Face

More than any other generation, Gen Z wants the businesses the interact with to have an avid corporate social responsibility track record. This includes but isn’t limited to diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental and economic responsibility, and specific causes organizations partner with.

Gen Zers understand the impact their dollar has, and they want to make sure they’re supporting organizations they’re ethically aligned with. By being proactive about your organization’s stances and social advocacy, you can add the “why” to the “what” of your organization, attract young customers with a high lifetime value, and make a difference in the process.

New Financial Habits

Younger customers show a variety of new behaviors and spending habits. Namely:

  • They are weary of credit. Gen Zers tend to look for alternatives to credit cards, such as pre-paid cards or alternative financing options, in order to avoid debt early in life. In particular, they have heard many stories about student debt from their Millennial peers, which has left an impression on them regarding debt as a whole.
  • Personalization and community. Gen Z wants their products to reflect their identify, and to be tailored to their needs. Where Millennials saw value in innovation on a mass scale, Gen Z wants to take the next logical step to have smaller, tailored communities reflected in the products and services they purchase, including their relationship with their financial institution. Think of ways your organization can create personalized budgeting tools, or create a community of like-minded people who connect through their spending habits, investing decisions and interests.
Will to Change

More than past generations, Gen Zers are open to switching financial institutions for better offers and options, showing a flexibility and openness that is unprecedented. Obviously, this provides both an opportunity for acquisition and risk for attrition.

This willingness to change emphasizes the need to deliver on your brand’s promise and to find ways to deliver on customer satisfaction. Additionally, Gen Zers are more open to working with multiple financial institutions, so your organization will need to make a valid case for each new cross selling opportunity.

A Simple Checklist for 2022

March 1, 2022

It’s no secret that customer centricity wins in banking. Financial institutions that begin with a customer need, then subsequently build a framework to support that need, have excelled in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

In 2022, your financial institution should focus on the basic foundations of customer experience in the form of serving as a useful and willing partner in their financial lives, and creating a smooth omnichannel experience to enrich their financial lives.

Consider the following ideas when thinking about how you can best serve your customer base this year.

Low/No Fees

As a simple and straightforward gesture to a strong partnership with your customers, your organization should work to reduce fees associated with your accounts. Overdraft, credit card and other fees send a negative message to your customer base, and put you at a competitive disadvantage with a shifting landscape.

Other financial institutions are working with eliminate any friction associated with their organizations, and those who fail to make this transition may leave customers with a bad taste.

Better Transactions

In 2022, customers will look for faster forms of payment, options with how they pay, including no-qualification financing and will have higher expectations around their modes of payment, such as credit/debit cards with an on/off switch and other pre-paid cards.

The desire for greater flexibility of how people spend and finance their purchases is a major opportunity for financial institutions to differentiate themselves and meet a growing market.

Online Accessibility

Customers want to conduct an increasing amount of activity online including opening accounts, budgeting in combination with other tools, and conducting more activity from their mobile devices. Accordingly, your financial institution needs to think of its “face,” (ie, your brand and customer experience) from a mobile-first perspective, laying the foundation with a seamless online platform with an easy and intuitive design.

A True Omnichannel Experience for Smaller Banks

Above all else, mobile will win in 2022, and your organization needs to have the technology to truly establish your brand through your mobile platform.

Notably, this includes an omnichannel framework and underlying technology to support the customer experience, where activities that happen, regardless of platform (in-person, mobile app, etc.) are documented and recorded in a single place to ensure a consistent experience across channels.

In order to create a comprehensive omnichannel experience, many banks and credit unions may need to completely rethink their underlying technology and the framework for their digital experience. This includes creating an API framework that makes customer data organized in a way that is standardized and accessible, allowing FinTech partnerships to easily slot in and support your organization.

In doing so, your organization is able to open itself up to innovation from third party partnerships, effectively “outsourcing” technological growth initiatives to a FinTech organization, who can benefit from the trust and established relationship you have with your existing customer base.

Improving Retail Experience: 3 Innovations

January 25, 2022

Customers, whether they know it or not, are incredibly demanding. Financial institutions and retailers are constantly working to gain an edge over competitors in customer experience, privy to how that edge improves their bottom line and creates a differentiated product and experience.

In that regard, retailers and points of commerce will work in 2022 to improve the transaction process through innovation, customer experience initiatives, and new technology.

Enhanced Product Information

Consumers can make more informed decisions than ever before about the products they’re purchasing. Reviews, independent blogs and usability tests on YouTube all illustrate ways customers can learn about products. Beyond this, even closer to the point of purchase, customers have access to enhanced photos, customer support, creative payment plans, greater transparency in the services they’ll receive, and customized offerings created by leveraging customer data. The world of e-commerce is more personalized than ever before.

Highly Personalized Shopping Experience

Online retailers have become very sophisticated about where their customers are in the purchase process, creating unique landing pages and more personalized customer journeys to help individual navigate their online platforms easily. Additionally, the advent of data science in the e-commerce space helps businesses understand what their customers are looking for, create customized offerings and even sell customers on the value adds that are most important to them.

Expedited Processes

Customers are now benefitting from things like one-click purchasing, pre-loaded payment options and simpler account creation by linking to their social media platforms. These various processes make purchasing easier, and have an effect on customers’ expectations of their financial institutions. Simply put, they want ease of purchases and ease of transactions. In particular, Millennials have less patience when it comes to technology that isn’t intuitive. They expect it to work right the first time, and consider the efficacy of the online platforms they’re using a reflection of the brand they’re working with.

4 Banking Trends for 2022

2021 saw an explosion of activity across FinTech and FI partnerships, increased sophistication of customer-facing tools and resources, a reinvigorated focus on using technology to support the customer journey, and adapting to a new Covid reality.

In 2022, those same tools will become more sophisticated and truly impactful in customers’ lives, mobile-first technology will dominate banking and the internet as a whole, financing and payment options will see a breadth of activity and open banking will become the focal point of innovation for financial institutions

Enhanced Tools

If 2021 saw an explosion of new tools available to customers, 2022 will see the sophisticated refinement of those tools. Budgeting tools will work to provide a templated experience with customizable features that are easy to access, such as purchasing categories to track spending and user-specific tweas. Similarly, long-term savings goals will be coupled with features to keep users engaged, such as improved interest rates and partnerships for discounts for achieving savings goals, and taking gamification to a different level by providing tangible, real-world rewards.

Data visualizations will also improve to give users concise, useful feedback about their progress toward goals. The value customers derive from data visualization and other tools will be central to their innovation and evolution this year.

Mobile-First Technology

Financial institutions and other organizations will begin the design of their digital platforms with mobile as the central offering. In particular, this will lead to a bare-bones, streamlined interface that prioritizes important features and ruthlessly cuts those that aren’t immediately useful. In additional, location-specific features will come front-and-center, such as point of purchase features and financing options.

Similarly, notifications will serve to keep users engaged, and retail partnerships and the separation of financial institutions, FinTech partners, and financing options will become blurred.

Widespread Open APIs

Open APIs will be the major focus of most financial institutions not already on board. FinTech partnerships are heating up, and banks are simultaneously seeing the innovation FinTech partnerships can bring to their institutions while also appreciating their own value they bring to the table in the form of a reliable, established client base for FinTech partners.

Additionally, the trust and rapport financial institutions have with their customers makes them prime, captive audiences for FinTech organizations looking to grow their footprint.

Enhanced Financing and Payment Options

2022 will see the broad growth of payment and financing options, from real-time payments to new, expeditious financing options that don’t require approval and can be offered on the spot.

Both retailers and financial institutions alike will work to incorporate these into their systems to improve the customer experience by providing flexibility of payment and quick, customers-pleasing experiences.

3 New Types of Creative Financing

January 24, 2022

In 2022, banks and credit unions will look to expand their view on financing options for customer, using creative thinking, flexible options and expeditious customer service to improve the customer experience and gain a competitive edge. Consider the following options when thinking about how your financial institution approaches financing options.

Buy Now, Pay Later

The innovation of creative financing has seen buy now, pay later options take the forefront in 2022. Most notably, these financing options are appealing because they typically don’t require any approval, are offered on-the-spot, and of course, they create a more appealing payment plan on major purchasers for consumers.

Retailers selling expensive products are already on board with buy now, pay later financing options and will look to the flexible payment plans as a value add and way to overcome objections to purchase.

Smarter Financing

In an effort to become more efficient and streamlined, non-bank institutions that offer financing for expensive products, such as vehicles, will look to third-party providers to improve the financing experience.

Notably, these third party loan providers will function as a service more than just the loan itself, offering customer service and opportunities to refinance throughout the life of the loan. By thinking of the loan itself as a service, the issuing organization will be able to think of the financing aspect of their business as another touchpoint, working with third-party providers to deliver on customer satisfaction within that touchpoint in order to gain a competitive edge.

Lending Experts

Financial institutions will find increasing partnerships with FinTech organizations — namely, those who focus on financing and loans options as their core value add.

Financing has typically been slow and arduous through financial institutions, and there are now FinTech and other organizations thinking about the loan process from front to back in an effort to expedite the process, improve customer experience, and carve out a niche additional value that exceeds what has typically been provided. Additionally, this new streamlined approach aligns more closely with the increasingly impatient “I want it now” attitude consumers have become accustomed to in the digital age.

5 Facets of FinTech to Support Your Financial Institution

December 21, 2021

Many financial institutions are openly engaging with FinTech organizations to support their innovation initiatives and expand the way their organizations can ensure security, create personalize back-end value adds, and give customer-facing tools that can deepen their relationship with an organization.

Below are a few examples of how FinTech can be leveraged and applied to your financial institution, along with the technologies to support these partnerships.

Automated Security

Security screenings used to require a higher degree of human interaction to vet, analyze and take action on possible security threats and notifications. Now, much of these processes are automated, where FinTech organizations are sophisticated enough to provide data analysis that fully comprehends the security threat, takes automatic action (such as notifications or pausing accounts), sends back end record keeping, and can perform follow-up tasks depending on the customer’s concern and legitimacy of the security threat.


Blockchain technology is still getting off the ground for the financial services world, but once it is fully established, it will allow for the automation and real-time security of peer to peer transactions. Simply put, blockchain will provide a universal and verified security system for online transactions between customers without the need for third-party mediation or supervision.


Robo-responders have become more sophisticated over time, and FinTech organizations can create personalized responders to address customer questions effectively in an online format. These types of systems are particularly effective when backed by a human element, but used on the front end to handle simple and straightforward requests, and provide a money-saving option for organizations.

Open API

Simply put, the open API platform is one of the most fundamental ways FinTech organizations can work with banks and credit unions to leverage their data in innovative ways. If not already in place, banks and credit unions should work with their legal and digital teams to provide an open API so that FinTech organizations can access their data, manipulate and utilize in ways that provide value and do so in the most familiar, industry-standard way possible.

Data Science and Machine Learning

Data science and machine learning are at the forefront of data analytics for financial institutions, finding ways to capture large degrees of customer data, analyze it, apply it and learn from it moving forward. Data science is transforming financial institutions, serving useful in situations as granular as deciding what type of ad to show a customer all the way to giving context for major decisions within a financial institution’s executive team by providing valuable insights.