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5 Ways the Financial Services Industry Is Adapting to Customer Expectations in 2019

author
Laduram Vishnoi
CEO, Acquire.io
7 min read
5 Ways the Financial Services Industry Is Adapting to Customer Expectations in 2019

Customer expectations are changing, and the financial services industry isn’t immune to these new demands. The expansion of big data, social media, and the ability to find or buy nearly anything you need mean that people are accustomed to fast and personal experiences. Everything is available at your fingertips, and how businesses differentiate themselves is evolving.

Changing technology and regulation has also spurred an onslaught of innovation in the financial services industry. New ways of tackling traditional financial tasks, such as investing or banking, are popping up and investors are buying their slice of the fintech pie. In 2018 alone, more than $40 billion were invested into Fintech.

It's not just brand new fintech teams that are focussing on innovation, though. The challenge has been accelerating for more traditional financial services institutions as they feel the pressure of an ever-growing industry ripe with options for consumers. Innovation, reputation, and security are no longer enough to attract and retain customers.

These days, users care about customer experience and personalized service perhaps more than ever.

What Customers Want From Financial Institutions

Banking and investing are in no way new industries, however, customers now expect to interact with them in different ways. Based on research into the financial services industry and consumer surveys, we’ve uncovered five main themes that represent what banking customers are looking for in 2019.

Ease and accessibility

With nearly 70% of banking done digitally, as opposed to in-person at a branch, it’s no wonder that the digital experience is so important. Financial services need to have accessible and easy to use digital platforms across devices.

Mobile, in particular, is on the rise. One PwC survey found that 15% of banking customers were mobile-dominant in 2018, up from 10% in 2017. This means that your mobile app needs to be at least as useful as your website or branches. Customers expect a full range of features on a mobile app, too. Users expect to be able to carry out money maneuvers, such as making payments to friends, and 37% of customers seeking a quality banking experience want instant access to face-to-face advice on mobile.

As for customer expectations around offline interactions, omnichannel is the name of the game. A mix of physical and digital services that blend together seamlessly is a wish for around 50% of bankers.

High-quality customer service

Just because financial services are taking place increasingly online doesn’t mean the importance of the human element goes out the window. In fact, in a time of ever-growing options, customer service is critical for loyalty. Up to 49% of people say that high-quality customer service is key in keeping them loyal. One Trustpilot survey of 15,000 banking customers found that customer service and reputation was the most noteworthy quality of a financial institution. More than half of those surveyed felt that interactions with the company were more impactful than service fees. Qualtrics also found that poor service is a bigger detractor than a poor product.

Customers leaving is often an unwanted surprise, since three-fourths of banking customers don’t tell their financial service company they’re on the way out. That means the problem is only realized once it’s too late.

Want to make sure customer service isn’t a silent business killer?

You need to start thinking proactively, as opposed to reactively. Redesigning the customer experience and amping up customer support efforts help you nip issues in the bud.

Personalization

Customers are craving personalization and contextual help, but so far, financial service companies have struggled with this. 70% of financial institutions stated that “understanding individual customer needs and local value propositions" was one of their main challenges in meeting customer expectations.

Banking users are willing to meet companies halfway for personalized service, too. 63% of global banking users are willing to trade their personal data for tailored advice.

Additionally, close to half of banking customers would like access to personal advice on their mobile device, linking the personalization and mobile accessibility expectations together.

Personalization and support have an opportunity to expand beyond banking, too. 48% of customers would like banks to send them advise and product information that relates to what they’re currently doing, such as buying a property. Customers also want to help shape their banking experience, and 43% would do so by providing input online.

High-tech and high-touch are welcome

While customers care about high-quality customer service, they’re less picky about how exactly they’re helped. A personalized experience is critical, but using computer-generated support to achieve it is welcome.

71% of banking customers are open to receiving automated messages that guide them through selecting which account type is best for them. Self-service customer support empowers users to find the answers they need on their own time, while also freeing up customer support teams.

Sometimes there’s no replacement for one-on-one live support, though. 36% of banking customers want to talk to a real person when solving issues, such as settling disputed credit card charges.

Trust

Trust has always been paramount in banking. After all, customers need to feel comfortable leaving their money in good hands. While data security is a concern today, there are more ways to forge customer trust. J.D. Power found that 91% of customers who receive the digital advice they want from their bank have a high level of trust in their bank.

How The Most Innovative Companies Will Get Ahead

As studies have shown, customer service and advice is as, and sometimes more, crucial than your product or service fees. So how are financial institutions planning to meet these customer expectations? 36% of FSI respondents in an Adobe survey say that making the  customer experience easy and valuable is a primary way they’ll seek to differentiate themselves over the next five years. Let’s explore some changes that top companies will make to get ahead.

Creating a people-first experience

Infusing the value of customer-centric ideology in your team is the very first step towards achieving customer satisfaction. To do so, banking services need to have accessibility over their customer journey - their buying behavior, their preferred channel of communication, the information they access before they initiate a conversation and the typical questions they raise, all these data once mapped can help you optimize your customer journey.  

You need to take time to understand the motivations and questions that both potential and current customers have throughout their time with your company.

81% of financial service companies say that customer journey optimization will be very important for their marketing efforts over the next few years. Think of customer journey mapping and customer experience strategy as your game plan for providing the very best service to every user. The point of this is to create a customer-centric organization.  

Like most relationships, the first step for creating trust and understanding is by listening.

Engaging high value interactions at the first touchpoint

Engaging customers through live chat technology as a first touchpoint gives you invaluable insight into how to best serve them and is convenient for both agent and user.

Meeting the customer hand-in-hand at their digital pain point, whether it be applying for a loan, opening an account or exploring investment options, inevitably translates to savings on lost time and frustration for both the customer and the agents tasked with supporting them.

Any live chat tool worth its salt should allow agents to handle and assign multiple conversations within the same user session to ensure that the customer is escalated seamlessly to the level of support they require.

Some of the key reasons why live chat  can become your main support channel are:

A. Live chat makes your support more human -

As mentioned before you should not miss on the human element - live chat enables your agent to provide customer service in real-time. Whether your customer contact you through their desktop or mobile, the agent can respond in flash with a live chat widget.

B. Live chat support helps to resolve issues faster.

Live chat along with other visual engagement tools like co-browsing can help you complete time-consuming financial processes like helping customer filling multiple documents, verifying proofs, and addressing queries with absolute ease.

C. Live chat support helps you track customer behavior and journey.

By tracking customer activities you can strategies customer service based on an analysis of consumers’ current relationship, recent behaviors, and past experiences, which enhance the overall customer experience.

Perfecting a high-touch customer experience

The idea of “the segment of one” will be on the minds of banks this year. Data and streamlined technology will make it easier to deliver personalized one-on-one communication. Tools such as co-browsing make it possible to work alongside the customer through interactive navigation and highlight features, whether they be on your website or mobile platforms.

Recent research by Forbes shows that “Interactions that include co-browsing – which allows the agent (with permission) to view and interact with a customer’s web browser in real-time – show customer satisfaction rates that are more than six points higher than the average, at 89.3%.”

Co-browsing enables first-time contact resolution - this means an average of customers gets the resolution to their problem in the very first conversation itself which leads to higher customer satisfaction ratio and seamless customer experience.

Considering the security factor,  as opposed to full-screen share, customers don’t need to leave the site to download any external application or launch a separate video meeting. Moreover, co-browsing allows field-level encryption and sensitive field masking, which helps customers to hide confidential information from the customer service agents.

Scaling customer support

In addition to creating better one-on-one experiences, the financial services industry will need to crack the code of providing scalable, high-quality customer support. One way to accomplish this is via artificial intelligence chatbots. In fact, the majority of FSI companies are using or plan to use AI in the coming years, and it’s forecasted to be one of the most impactful technologies this year.

Understanding the limitations of a chatbot should be one of the key considerations governing it’s implementation. At its core, banks must not forget that customers will soon sniff out a cost-saving measure if they overtask the bot to answer too much.

Today’s banking customers want experiences that are accessible, personalized, and helpful. By providing consistently high-quality customer service at scale, financial institutions can build trust and loyalty. Of the top 50 largest global banks, three quarters plan to undergo a customer experience transformation.

Do you have a plan for creating customer-centric experiences within your organization?

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