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What Influential Trends will Drive Financial Service Customer Experience in 2015?

December 15, 2014

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Banks are catching up to their customers, and specifically, how those customers access their products and services. The unprecedented diversity of channels customers see today is influencing how banks allocate resources to each channel to align with evolving customer expectations.

In December, BAI released its latest Banking Strategies Executive Report, brimming with interviews and opinions from thought leaders and retail banking executives from around the country. You can request your own copy of the report from the BAI website, but for those short on time, here are some of the highlights:

Omnichannel Strategies that Revolve Around Mobile

As mobile devices become more central to consumers’ everyday lives, so too has the mobile channel taken a central role on the omnichannel stage, which makes sense: mobile is perhaps the most omni of all channels.

Devices can be used practically anywhere, and for a number of different purposes – checking balances, depositing and transferring funds, searching for information, calling a branch or customer support line, leaving reviews on consumer-facing sites like Yelp, and following a bank’s social media feeds.

Mobile will continue to be a key area of focus in 2015, but more importantly, banks will need to grasp how this channel intersects with and influences others, and how customers move between all of them.

“People are not migrating solely from one channel and leaving another one behind. […] The branch continues to be a significant channel for even the most technologically-savvy customers.”
David L. Stein, Executive VP and head of consumer and commercial banking for Associated Banc-Corp

The adoption of mobile among consumers could have banks looking at mobile solutions for their business customers, too, such as payments and remote deposits. B.C. Krishna, President and CEO of MineralTree, Inc, notes that “the vast majority of B2B payments still tend to be manual, paper-based, ad-hoc, check-oriented transactions” that cost money to process. Could 2015 be the year we see that start to shift?

Personalized Experiences Based on Data

It goes without saying that no two customers are exactly alike, and now, financial institutions have access to the data to help paint a fuller picture of each individual.

But it’s not the data itself that matters, it’s what you do with it. In 2015, banks can use this customer intelligence to deliver a customer experience that not only seamlessly flows between channels, but recognizes each customer’s unique needs.

In fact, through the rise of predictive analytics, banks have more capacity to anticipate these needs and be proactive in offering solutions to each customer – perhaps before the customer themselves has identified a need. Consider this the Small Data within Big Data.

Not only does personalization contribute to the customer experience and to loyalty, it could be a competitive differentiator as consumers gravitate to the providers who best suit their unique needs.

“Many banks have made strong steps towards customizing customer experiences, particularly on mobile and in social media, but not all banks are as far along as they could be.”
Simon Mulcahy, Senior VP Financial Services at Salesforce.com

Refinements on the Frontline(s)

A lot of the data, mobile development, and analytics we’ve discussed so far are things happening in the background, but lest we forget, the frontline of customer service is one of the key direct experiences a customer has with your bank.

“Employees in the frontline environment of the retail bank are important because the frontline largely impacts the customers, and as a result, can influence results – positively or negatively,” warns Malysa O’Connor, director of financial services at Kronos, a workforce management solutions provider.

These days, the frontline isn’t always the teller behind the counter or the rep on the phone. As customers connect to their banks through other channels, like social media, every bank’s training efforts, methods, and materials will need to continue to evolve in order to maintain alignment, not only with customer expectations, but company culture.

 

CSP is thrilled to see our clients forward into the New Year and guide them as they navigate these up-and-coming challenges and opportunities to create the best customer experience.

To keep up with current developments in retail banking and customer experience management, don’t forget to follow @CSProfiles on Twitter.