CSP Happenings





Topic: Customer Service Experience

4 Banking Trends for 2022

January 25, 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

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-Representatives

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.

Banking in 2021: 5 Trends From the Past Year



2021 was a transformative year for financial services, with an extended effect of Covid-19, a low-interest and heavy inflation business environment, and a challenging new regulatory environment in the expansion of cryptocurrencies and online payments.

Financial institutions should focus on the lessons learned from the past year, largely in terms of the importance of innovation in a constantly shifting landscape, to guide their decisions in 2022.

Here are some of the major trends from 2021:

A Strong Step Toward Open Banking

2021 felt like the year when the rubber hit the road in terms of true, widespread FinTech partnerships in the form of open banking, where financial institutions standardized their open APIs in order to attract various FinTech suitors and “cook in” innovation into their offerings with minimal overhead investment.

In this way, financial institutions should thinking of an open API as the one key investment in innovation to make, if they haven’t already. In doing so, they create an environment to largely expand their offerings through collaboration.

Digital Winners

Banks and credit unions who focused on their digital offerings were rewarded in 2020 and 2021 during a major shift in adoption of digital and mobile banking. Those who focused on easy-to-use interfaces, pertinent features for their customers and a robust support center gained new fans in the form of older, late adopters of digital banking technology, as well as a streamlined experience for more seasoned online banking users.

An Explosion of Crypto

Cryptocurrencies saw a huge amount of adoption in 2021. The sources of this explosion are varied, but include:

  • Prospective value. Crypto, particularly in the form of BitCoin, has been around for a while, and has seen a roller coaster of valuations over time. However, there seems to be enduring interest, and 2021 saw a pool of new investors invest in crypto for the first time, interested in getting in early on what they see as a growing wave of adoption.
  • Lack of regulation partnered with increased pool of interest. One of the biggest benefits of crypto is the lack of regulation and fees around it. Additionally, more currencies have entered the market, and while some will likely fail to gain traction or clear regulatory hurdles, the breadth of the pool signals a trend that isn’t going away any time soon.
An Expansion of Online Payments

Contactless payments saw a major boost this year in adoption, and Apple Pay paved the way for the next generation of digital wallets to streamline payments, particularly in a digital venue where login information and other personal details are needed to complete a transaction.

In 2022 and beyond, tap-to-pay solutions as well as real-time payments will grow in popularity and efficacy.

Customer-Centric Business Approaches

Above all else, financial institutions became more customer-centric in 2021, moving away from the traditional model of a secure utility and finding ways to innovate, offer new technology and become more invested in customers’ financial wellbeing.

Specifically, financial institutions shifted away from a technology-first model to a people-first model, mapping out customer journeys, understanding pain points, and then seeking out technology and other solutions to solve those problems.

4 Banking Trends to Expect in 2022



Looking ahead to 2022, financial institutions can expect a cooling down of the market in order to curb above-average inflation, an emphasis on talent management, a booming crypto market and an emphasis on payments modernization. Consider a few of the following trends when thinking about your strategy for this next year:

Fed Rate Hikes

The fed plans to raise interest rates a few times in the coming year in order to curb high inflation and align itself with a generally strong market following initial concerns over Covid and a pandemic that, despite its ongoing issues, is expected to become increasingly under control.

Accordingly, financial institutions will need to compensate and adjust for increased mortgage rates in an already-expensive market for first-time Millennial homebuyers, a less audacious business environment with reduced access to bottom-line business loans and a slightly cooled off stock market.

A Tailored Strategy for Talent Management

2021 was largely defined by “The Great Resignation,” with an incredibly competitive landscape for employers to hire and retain employees.

Because of this, financial institutions will need to find creative and enticing ways to attract and retain their top talent, including through competitive benefits and clear growth trajectories for employees.

In particular, a clearly defined growth trajectory can help expand the lifecycle of employees, increase internal satisfaction, encourage skill development and help differentiate a financial institution from its competitors. For financial institutions, creating a growth plan centered around the universal banker helps facilitate a mutually beneficially path to growth and increased value for your employees.

Expanding Crypto Market

Crypto adoption has become popular for a number of reasons. There is an increasing interest in new, non-governmentally-bound currencies to offer international stability, there is interest in engaging in a new market early before their valuations are through the roof, and there is a low barrier to entry for trading, using and investing in the form of fees.

Lawmakers and governments will continue to monitor and work to understand the regulatory implications of cryptocurrencies, and how they can have responsible oversight, or what they choose to recognize as legitimate. Regardless, the buzz around crypto was strong this past year and is likely to continue into 2022.

Payments Modernization

Financial institutions have a major opportunity to improve the value chain of their payments processing in 2022 and beyond. From back to front, new solutions are becoming available to cut expenditure and increase speed in the clearing, processing and customer-facing elements of the growing online payments market. By investing in new solutions now, your organization can clear the way for increased profitability year-over-year in an increasingly digital payments ecosystem.

Your Financial Institution Needs a Digital Leg Up: 3 Approaches

November 17, 2021

The past two years have driven more and more customers into the digital space, including late adopters who may be less tech-savvy than other customers. With this in mind, your digital offerings have increased in importance, and your financial institution should focus on competitive advantages to differentiate your brand. Consider the following approaches to help guide your digital strategy:

Create Moments that Matter

When most financial institutions think of making customers feel special, they think of interpersonal interactions — giving a warm smile at a branch location, or hearing out a customer’s issue over the phone. However, these types of warm and fuzzy moments are just as important in digital realms. Consider the ways your financial institution tries to create special interpersonal moments. During security alerts, remind customers that you want to protect their wellbeing at all costs. If they have a CD, remind them how much they’ve saved through higher interest rates, and how that can help them buy something they want. With more and more interactions happening online or via mobile, giving context to the interactions and services your financial institution provides can make all the difference.

Building for Growth

Growth and change are the only constants in the digital world, and this is true for financial institutions as customers seek out experiences to help them better navigate their finances.

  • Create an omnichannel approach: Omni-channel interfaces are the new expectation for an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base. If they conduct an activity on their phone, they expect it to be documented when they go into a branch. Or, if they make a call over the phone, they want that experience to be accounted for the next time they log in on their laptop. Financial institutions need to make sure that they have an omnichannel infrastructure created to allow for growth in their approach and to make sure high customer satisfaction translates to all channels and the way they interact.
  • Seeking partnerships with FinTech: FinTech offers innovation and a new way of thinking about personal finance for consumers, and is often able to focus on creative technology without the restrictions and legal requirements financial institutions need to prioritize. As such, partnerships between the two parties are a great fit, with creative new technology meeting an existing customer base and regulatory adherence. Financial institutions should consider solicitation and evaluation of FinTech companies as a major part of their strategy to effectively “outsource” new competitive advantages via partnerships.
  • Establishing an open structure to build upon: Rather than focusing on an IT structure that is internally managed, financial institutions should work toward standardized, open formats that can be manipulated by a wide variety of parties. Creating a structure that allows for plug-and-play changes, vendors to potentially work on in the future and easy debugging is an important piece of groundwork to lay for the future and creating an agile IT infrastructure.
The Universal Banker

We’ve talked about the universal banker many times before — namely, the idea that a financial institution representative should be a jack-of-all-trades associate, able to take any task or request a customer throws their direction. This singular entity being able to solve a variety of requests results in higher customer satisfaction, and the same should apply to your digital strategy as well. Online chat representatives and phone associates should be able to help customers without having to transfer to a different department. Similarly, online interfaces should provide ample resources so that any task, from getting a loan to making a deposit, should happen seamlessly.

Customer Loyalty in Banking: 4 Ways To Retain Customers



Considering the amount of effort your financial institution puts into acquiring new customers, your attention to retain customers by differentiating yourself should be a top priority.

However, in the banking world, differentiation can sometimes prove challenging. Consider the following ways to make your financial institution stand out and create a unique, personalized experience for your customers in order to drive loyalty.

Put a Face On Your Digital Offerings

Any time a representative interacts with a customer via a phone discussion or an online chat, provide a picture of your employee. Showing a human face helps establish an otherwise absent bond. Similarly, when you send email offerings, include notes from your leadership with their signatures and pictures to help humanize your organization.

Coach Your Branch Staff to Establish Rapport

When a customer walks into your branch location, hopefully you have a trained universal banker staff to hold their hand through the process. By training your representatives to introduce themselves and make a bit of small talk, they can create a relationship with the customer that transcends business. By doing so, your customer will associate the individual with your brand and have an enhanced connection to your financial institution.

Utility of Technology

Your organization’s efforts to improve your website and mobile app are only as valuable as the individual user’s ability to navigate your platform. Hopefully, your team has worked hard to create an intuitive experience that quickly maximizes the user’s comprehension of your platform. However, a guiding hand can often make the difference between a rudimentary understanding and your customers finding true value in your app.

Make sure your app has regular “pop-up” tutorials to walk users through new features, especially after updates are released. Similarly, “help” features along with live chat support are major differentiators to help ensure your technology is utilized to its full potential. Your organization’s ability to quickly answer tech-related questions eliminates a major pain point and ensures optimal usage of the platforms you’ve invested in.

Smart Offerings

Your organization should be able to make the most of the customer data available to you — leveraging data to create tailored offers for additional products and services that will benefit your customers.

Beyond presenting customers with timely and applicable offers, make sure your message is accurate and clear as well. Speak clearly about what you’re offering, why you think it makes sense, and try to avoid industry jargon.

For example, if a customer has a large amount of cash regularly sitting around that they don’t utilize, your organization should offer a CD in clear terms, noting that you’ve observed their cash sitting idly, you think you can help them, and present a quick explanation for how they can maximize their interest rate.

Offerings and descriptions such as these help keep your relationship with your customers fresh and show that your organization will continue to court them and value their business long into your relationship.

3 Strategies for Integrating With Your Customers



As a financial institution, your organization has the unique opportunity to play a daily role in the lives of your customers. The chance to serve as a constant underlying function of their purchasing, organizing, budgeting and overall family wellbeing entrusts your organization with a great deal of responsibility and upside.

When you consider customer experience, how are you aligning yourself with your customers’ lives? In particular, your organization should focus on serving as a well-oiled background utility, integrating yourself with various parts of your customers’ lives and providing useful ways for them to improve their financial wellbeing.

Make sure your organization focuses on the following aspects to truly create a seamless relationship with your customers.

Becoming a Background Utility

When a customer visits your branch, your organization always strives to deliver the best possible customer experience, utilizing universal bankers to deliver a continuous employee contact and optimizing each touchpoint within the customer journey.

Similarly, your organization should optimize your customer experience for digital banking and app-based experiences. In particular, your financial institution should strive for low-friction interactions, where you seamlessly integrate with your customers’ lives in a way that is quick, meaningful, and practically without thought.

An example of this is an overdraft notification, texted to your customer’s mobile device. This shows your organization being proactive, anticipating your customer’s need, and providing a solution. Even better, your organization could simply send a follow-up email letting your customer know you moved money to prevent them from overdrafting, and that the problem was taken care of.

Interactions such as these incorporate your financial institution in your customers’ lives without much effort or thought on their end.

Cross Selling and Various Points of Contact

Your financial institution should utilize customer data to make timely offerings and create a deepened, multi-product/service relationship with your customers. For example, your organization can facilitate a mortgage with an existing banking/checking customer, expanding your reach and providing a more meaningful and wide-reaching relationship.

By utilizing customer data, your organization could anticipate when customers might be thinking about purchasing a home, as an example. A subsequent, timely offer for a mortgage that utilizes their credit score and is tailored to their buying power could prove to be particularly enticing and show your organization listens and works with your customers’ actions.

By being their mortgage provider, your financial institution deepens its relationship with your customer and broadens the business relationship.

Smart Budgeting and Integrations

Most customers think of their financial institutions and their budget separately, but by providing tools to organize budgets directly within your banking portal, you can streamline your customers’ activities, sustain their interaction with your organization, and expand your role by serving as a partner and financial advisor.

Make sure your organization goes above and beyond to provide these tools and present yourself as a sophisticated, modern financial institution working not only to provide the online banking infrastructure your customers need, but to also provide the tools and knowledge to help them make the most of their finances.

Proactive Customer Engagement: 3 Predictive Strategies

October 26, 2021

Financial institutions tend to react to customer needs, and then work to serve those needs as best as possible. A request for a new loan results in a timely response and a competitively low rate. If a customer overdrafts, a bank may transition money into their account to notify them of the overdraft after it happens.

Despite this history of reactionary correspondence, financial institutions of the future will proactively reach out to customers with opportunities and offers, flipping the script.

Balancing Security With Convenience

Most customers want security around their accounts, including safety of their passwords and notifications of fraudulent activity. In 2021 and beyond, preventing issues such as these will be a core standard for financial institutions.

However, most of the actions banks can take to proactively prevent security threats require intervention. This includes steps such a preventing potentially fraudulent action from happening by denying the charge, or sending short term PINs via email/text when a customer logs into an account from an unfamiliar source. In both of these situations, prompt communication is key, especially when there is a chance the interaction isn’t fraudulent.

  • Always communicate.When you’re taking an intervening action, let your customer know via text. They need to know right away, and they need to have an option to override if their request isn’t fraudulent.
  • Listen and learn. Understand the types of transactions your customer conducts. Fraud prevention is good, but if it happens regularly during a routine purchase, they’ll become frustrated.
  • Communicate when you prevent fraudulent activity. If your technology is working correctly by preventing fraud, let your customer know! They’ll appreciate your care and concern, and you should use the prevented problem as an opportunity to boast about your brand and attention to detail.
Communicate Ways to Save Money

Millennials and Gen Z are open to changing brands, including financial institutions, and you can rest assured that even if you’ve successfully acquired a customer, there are competitors getting marketing materials in front of their eyes every chance they get. As such, it’s important to continue to court your customers once they’re acquired. Perhaps counterintuitively, you should be thinking about ways your brand can communicate savings opportunities to your long-term customers. Interest rates on accounts lower rates for mortgages, waived fees, and new offers are all ways to have your customers’ best interests in mind.

Even if it means a hit in revenue for your organization, providing customers with savings opportunities lets them know you’re doing everything in your power to save them money. Plus, this has a hidden benefit: Your customers will be more receptive to future offers (additional accounts, loans, etc.) if they’re used to you providing opportunities that bring them genuine value.

Guide New Technology

If your financial institution regularly updates your mobile banking app, chances are you’re internally excited about new features and fixes. However, even if these new features seem obvious to your team, your customers might not know about how to properly use them. Make sure to guide your customers through new features and updates, finding ways to overcome the learning barrier in order to get them understanding and using all of the wonderful ways you’ve invested in your technology. Updated guides, pop-up buttons and online support are all ways you can aid your customers and make sure they get the most out of what you put in.

Segmentation’s Value for FinTech: 4 Key Benefits



Most financial institutions focus on their customers in a large brushstroke, considering the ways their offerings interact with their customers. In particular, financial institutions get more granular regarding customers journeys — working to understand various customer paths leading to different products and services, and the touchpoints along the way.

Getting a granular perspective on the customer journey is certainly a valuable endeavor, but it isn’t enough. Directors and executives can’t afford to view their customer base as a monolith. Instead, they should more accurately view their customers as a diversity of opinions, financial situations and needs.

When considering partnering with a FinTech organization, getting more granular with customer segmentation leads your organization to better leverage customer data in order to offer customized, high-value offerings for your base. Consider the following points when looking at your customer data for segmentation.

Demographics

Looking at your customer demographics can help point you in the right direction, and while seemingly basic, can provide a great starting point for learning about your customers. Age might dictate tech fluency, while other factors like gender might lean toward certain spending or savings behaviors.

Online Shopping Behavior

If your organization is able to process your customers’ spending data, you can learn about what interests them, what they find valuable, and how they apply their financial spending power. This can help your organization and FinTech partnerships to do things like creating tailored budgets, developing partnerships with third-party vendors for discounts, or simply speaking to your customers in a way that’s relatable.

Income

Your customers’ spending power dictates their ability to save and spend, and as their financial institution, you can help put them in a stronger, more resilient financial position by understanding their income and how it’s applied.

By partnering with a FinTech organization, you can understand your customers’ income, cross reference it with other major pieces of their financial picture (cost of living depending on area, rent/mortgage expenses, etc.) and make tailored recommendations to help improve their financial lives.

Credit and Financial Information

Beyond spending and income, credit and general finances help deepen your organization’s understanding of your customers’ financial lives.

Your customers’ credit expands their power to purchase a home at a low rate, while the size of their emergency fund might make them either resilient or vulnerable to economic hardship. As a financial institution, and with the support of a Fintech partnership, you can make sense of this financial information and serve as a consultant on their next financial moves.