There’s always a new angle to find when looking into financial services industry trends. And that’s because the market and customer expectations are changing constantly — the expansion of big data, social media, digitization (accelerated by the pandemic) all mean that you need to keep your finger on the pulse in order to shape your future strategies.
To help out, we collected the seven most important digital banking trends to watch for customer experience.
7 financial services industry trends
1. Digital transformation is a priority
The idea that traditional banking should give way to digital has been around a while. Consider that 41 percent of banking customers are now digital-only, according to JD Power. But we’re still not at the point where digitization is taken for granted. There’s still room to achieve better operational efficiency by using emerging technologies and adding more and more digital channels that customers prefer.
For example, mobile banking can get even more powerful with the addition of AI chatbots. Artificial intelligence can also be used behind the scenes to automate key processes. The in-branch experience can be replicated online, and the role of social media is expanding when it comes to banking customer support.
2. Personalized banking is becoming crucial
Personalization is big across sectors, and banking and financial services is no exception. Sixty-three percent of global banking customers are willing to trade their personal data for tailored advice.
Financial institutions should aim to keep unified customer profiles to make sure no information gets lost between interactions. Then, company communications can use this information to offer relevant recommendations or individualize support.
Also, personal banking is important to customers – financial institutions that offer tools to help with managing finances, as well as financial advisors, can keep customers more well-informed and happier.
3. Banking is going phygital and omnichannel
We already mentioned that the in-branch experience can be replicated online – using various standalone solutions, like chatbots, live chat, cobrowsing, and more. But, customers want more than that: they want to be able to jump from channel to channel, and use branches or digital banking whenever they want without losing any information or facing blockers.
This is the concept of omnichannel customer experience. Every medium you meet your customers in should be seamlessly connected with the rest. In fact, mixing physical and digital services together seamlessly is what 50 percent of quality-seeking banking customers want. You can easily provide that option using an all-in-one customer support solution.
4. The human touch remains key
Automation and digital technologies in general can often lose the personal touch. And yet, that remains a key ask of many consumers. Thirty-six percent of banking customers want to talk to a real person when solving issues, such as settling disputed credit card charges.
So, the financial services industry should make sure to retain a human touch even in the online world. From issuing a credit card to applying for a loan, there should always be a technology that enables real time interactions with customers. For example, messaging apps and live chats have been gaining momentum as service channels — and they provide a great opportunity to talk to customers in an efficient and personable way.
Customers expect a full range of features on mobile apps, and some even want instant access to face-to-face advice (via video chat banking, for instance).
5. Companies are ramping up automation
The financial services industry is big on automating processes — and this trend will continue. For example, 62 percent of banks and credit unions used customer onboarding and feedback automation during the pandemic and will continue to use it.
Self-service options are also a way to “automate” support and reduce costs, as some customer queries never need to reach an agent. Customers can often resolve issues by talking to a chatbot, using the mobile app, or checking the help center.
6. Customer experience is #1 priority
According to Cornerstone, 70 percent of credit unions and 67 percent of banks rate improving CX and service delivery as their first priority. This makes a lot of sense — consumers tend to be less loyal than they were years ago. And, according to some reports, trust in financial institutions is going down as well — only 29 percent of people trust their banks to look after their long-term financial wellbeing, compared with 43 percent two years ago.
This means you need to do a lot more to keep customers happy — and that includes streamlining online banking and implementing more effective customer service strategies.
7. Companies rethink data management
Banking and fintech companies have used data to make decisions for a long time. But legacy systems and data silos have often got in the way of efficiency and data quality. Right now, using data properly is a challenge but also a huge priority for financial institutions. According to The Financial Brand, enhancing data and analytics capabilities is among the two biggest strategic priorities (along with improving online experiences).
This means that next year may be time to re-evaluate your tech stack and operating models to make sure you capture the right data, ensure data quality and data protection (of course), and gain useful insights about your customers.
The financial services industry evolves rapidly, as banking and capital markets change and innovations are added, like distributed ledger technology. This is why it’s important to monitor trends and adjust quickly. Don’t be afraid to experiment — but always make sure you keep your customers and their needs in mind.