In an oversaturated market rife with competition, financial service providers struggle for differentiation—clamoring to shatter the noise floor and garner customer attention. And what do customers want? Easy, user-friendly, personalized customer experiences that get them the answers and results they want. Fast.
Today, success hinges more than ever on a thorough customer experience strategy. It ranks as the driving force behind the world’s most successful banking institutions. Because smart devices and troves of readily accessible apps dominate any industry you can imagine, consumers demand better, easier and faster services. Fueled by digitization’s unavoidable tidal wave, customers feel and act more empowered than ever before. Organizations across the board must adapt.
If they don’t, poor customer experiences will result and prove costly. Even a single sub-par interaction can compel a customer to take their business to a competitor. And who wants that? Yet without much to distinguish the services banks provide, customers see few incentives to stay. If financial service providers want to future proof themselves and edge out the competition, they must heavily invest in tools that produce excellent customer experiences.
Focus on customer satisfaction, not the transaction
While banks scour resources in search of ways to break from the pack, the answer already stands before them: the customer. Can a company claim to care about its customers when it inundates them with inappropriate offers? If a bank aggressively offers a family an unrealistic mortgage, do they truly provide a supportive personalized experience? While empathetic engagements may not deliver businesses with short-term results, they serve a vital purpose: to establish loyal, long-term, profitable relationships.
As part of a broader customer engagement strategy, banks need to take a comprehensive look at how they interact with customers. Then, they must determine how to improve those interactions. For many, this means analysis of customer data—historical and contextual—to understand whether their customer interactions are relevant, helpful and personalized. This helps the customer feel that their needs are understood and met as quickly as possible.
Break down silos, break free of channels
Many times, poor customer engagements stem from disconnected channels that stop customers and agents alike from enjoying a smooth journey. To combat this, forward-thinking companies will adopt an omnichannel approach where customer conversations seamlessly transition across a variety of channels without the loss of context.
Banks need to integrate channels—phone, mobile, chat and email interactions to name a few—to optimize customer-facing interactions from the initial inquiry all the way through to the sale. Providers that take this end-to-end approach can deliver connected, consistent service capabilities across all channels and phases of the client lifecycle. The end result? Lasting relationships.
Simplify processes behind the scenes
Another major hindrance for banks that seek to deliver great digital customer experiences stems from disjointed processes on the back end. Organizations today can leverage new technology that unifies and centralizes data, automates tedious tasks and properly digests customer information to make the right recommendations an individual basis.
While organizations can adopt various strategies to improve processes, automation technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) or artificial intelligence (AI) rank as especially efficient. Intelligent automation tools can help streamline processes and reduce the touch points involved in a single customer journey. Ultimately this reduces costs, makes employees more productive and bolsters customer experiences.
Be open to new tech … but have clear strategy to check
New technologies emerge every day. Each one claims to solve a multitude of business problems. Choosing the right technology to achieve organizational goals—such as breaking down silos and keeping customers happy—will turn into results when you do your homework. Consider technology solutions as part of a greater digital transformation context that ultimately improves the experience for customers. Look for solutions that offer a holistic, end-to-end approach that help to simplify back-office tasks (robotic automation) and improve front-office processes (artificial intelligence).
The always competitive financial services industry has turned the game up several notches over the last few years. Banks need to grasp every opportunity to surpass their competition. Focus on the customer, simplify processes and become an early adopter of the right technology. This will enable your organization to improve efficiency and customer experiences.
You want to be future proof. Your customers want to be delighted. It would be nice if a silver bullet could make this happen. We all know that’s not possible. But the right plan, the right tech and the right focus represent a silver lining, and then some.
Christine Parker is vice president and Global Financial Services Industry Lead, Pegasystems.