Customer experience in the financial services industry is undergoing a revolution. Customers want personalization, real-time interactions, great customer service, and outstanding customer support—and now they want it all digitally too.
Oracle recently reported that 86% of consumers say they want to make payments and transfers through digital channels while 60% said they want to open a bank account online.
On the back of this, many institutions are doing all they can to bolster their digital offerings, bridge the gap between offline and online, and create consistent omnichannel banking experiences. There's every incentive for them to get this right.
According to Forrester, 69% of US consumers shop more with brands that offer a consistent experience both in-store and online.
Now let’s take a look at some examples from companies leading the way in delivering an outstanding customer experience.
1. Erica Chatbot By Bank Of America
Erica acts as a financial assistant, helping customers with common issues without the assistance of a live operator. This drives down personnel costs, and the AI-assisted self-service ensures a successful customer experience.
Erica, Bank of America’s app-based chatbot, spearheads customer experience transformation by automating the customer journey.
Digital transformation has disrupted the traditional banking dynamic, leading to the closure of over 1,500 banks per year since 2015 in the US alone.
But the digital experience has also given rise to digital-only banks like Simple.
Simple adds to the digital experience by providing financial planning tools to supplement customer expectations.
Simple has no physical branches. This digital-only business model represents a fundamental change, offering a totally different proposition to the locally-based retail banking and credit unions of old. Now customers can access services from anywhere in the world.
But banking isn’t always about location. PWC recently reported that 60 percent of Gen Z customers found their bank through recommendations from friends or family, but only about 30 percent said that a local presence was an influencing factor.
Digital technology has made websites the new storefronts, whilst banking and financial planning are now consolidated into a single end-to-end user experience.
Banking has always been about securing money and investing safely and effectively.
But today’s financial sector has added customer satisfaction and ease of use into the equation. Customers want instant access to every aspect of financial services—including their money—whenever they need it.
Zelle is one answer to this problem. Owned in part by a handful of major banks, the service is designed to help consumers share money with friends and family.
With Zelle, customers can access their finances faster and send money to friends and family without any hassle.
Zelle has huge corporate power behind it, but the app feels small and approachable. It serves customers’ needs without the tedium normally associated with sending money between users and across different banking institutions.
Leveraging digital technology, Zelle transforms the customer experience by providing real-time access to funds and finances, making it easier to share money on the fly.
Early last year, JP Morgan announced the first bank-backed cryptocurrency in the US. Running on blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies use a decentralized network of ledgers to track changes within the system, preventing fraud and government interference.
The JPM coin is the first digital coin from a major banking institution.
This brings validation to cryptocurrencies everywhere, but it also improves the customer experience for banks, broker-dealers, and corporations.
The JPM coin brings the backing that may help digital currencies go mainstream.
Customer journeys today go far beyond the point of sale, and now include, amongst other things, how you help customers with product issues.
Indeed, customer experience management experts will be quick to tell you about the importance of support for nurturing customer relationships.
The Bank of Oak Ridge leveraged digital technologies to expand its customer experience by offering additional service and support options.
This makes it easier for consumers to access personalized help and has extended the bank’s customer journey well beyond the scope of its transactions.
Coined as an “Intelligent Assistant” rather than an AI or a chatbot, Eno meets customers’ needs by providing instant access to basic information and support, across any platform.
Eno monitors customer accounts to send alerts, notifications, and insights when it detects irregularities. Security and fraud checks are transformed into rapid customer touchpoints.
The onus is often placed on customers to reach out with questions or concerns. But Eno actually offers up useful information to address customers’ needs, helping them maintain visibility on their accounts.
The number of bank branches in the US has been falling.
JP Morgan Chase is bucking this trend by experimenting with “Everyday Express” branches -- where customers can access a “Digital Advice Bar”—akin to Apple’s Genius Bar—to receive financial advice.
Customers can also use these spaces for simple services like opening an account. Video conferencing connects customers with specialized staff for more complicated needs.
This means excellent customer service for a generation of customers who transact online but still need advice when it comes to more complicated financial issues.
Much like Capital One, Russian-based Sberbank is leveraging the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to help users control their finances better.
Tips analyzes user data to draw conclusions from real-life situations and upcoming real-world events.
For example, Tips might track how much a customer spends at Starbucks or the grocery store and produce insights to help users budget more effectively. Tips even provides access to documents and addresses that may help with, for example, planning for a baby.
It’s a good illustration of how companies can leverage machine learning to sense usage patterns and deliver an outstanding customer experience.
In 2016, TD was already using analytics and data to deliver a rich customer experience. Now TD Bank is combining those analytics with AI, creating the MyTD Experience.
The MyTD experience is all about personalization from the first time that the customer uses it. TD can boost customer engagement and brand loyalty by delivering the tools, resources, and guidance that the customers need to succeed.
TD combines a chatbot and data profile solution to create a streamlined customer journey.
Banks don’t need to invest millions in digital marketing or social media campaigns to change customer perceptions. All they need to do is improve their customer journey.
PNC recently proved how simple that could be by making a small change at their ATMs. Rather than forcing customers to receive cash in specific denominations—the company allowed customers to pick and choose the bills they get.
This small change created an emotional connection with customers by improving the customer experience.
Where to focus your efforts?
With such a wide variety of possibilities to improve customer experience, it can sometimes be confusing to know where to focus your efforts. Here are some ideas:
Align messaging across all digital touchpoints
Building a strong omnichannel banking experience is as much about consistency as it is about implementation.
Smaller financial institutions like local banks and credit unions may find this easier as there are fewer staff interacting with customers and thus can gain a competitive advantage.
By contrast, in larger financial services providers, an entire department might be in charge of ATMs or self-service while a team on another side of the country might control the contact center.
Without a consistent message across all physical and digital channels in the customer journey, customers disengage. All groups must work together, ensuring they don’t send mixed marketing messages.
Creating and implementing an effective omnichannel strategy may be hard, but it’s also profitable. According to LucidPress, a consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by an average of 23%.
Focus on the experience, not the sale
It’s not employees, but user experience that closes sales in this day and age.
With the availability of mobile apps, Google searches, and social media reviews, creating a digital omnichannel banking experience is more important now than ever before. So much so in fact, that Microsoft estimates nearly 56 cents of every dollar are influenced by digital interaction.
A true omnichannel experience meets customer expectations through a mixture of physical channels, artificial intelligence, social media, and marketing distribution across the customer lifecycle.
A holistic customer-centric experience makes digital banking fun and meaningful.
In metric-driven environments like retail banking, the focus needs to be shifted away from the individual sale towards customer experience. There's every reason to do that.
According to PWC, 65% of US customers say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising. Failing to adopt an omnichannel approach is likely to lose customers.
Implement a CSM powerhouse
There’s always one customer who falls through the cracks. That’s why it’s important to empower your customer success manager to operate across multiple channels and systems.
An omnichannel experience essentially replicates what an effective CSM can do, only at a much larger scale.
But that doesn’t mean that big brands can forget the small stuff. The banking industry still needs individuals who can string key elements of the customer experience together on a personal level, especially when systems fail.
The importance of a personalized experience cannot be overstated. As a study by Salesforce points out, 63% of consumers and 74% of business buyers say that they’ll even pay more for a better experience.
Give CSMs the ability to get involved when things go awry and equip them with the tools they need to get customers back on track.