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The imperative for personalized digital experiences

customer experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the way banks support and engage their customers. During this crisis, interactions between banks and their customers have been relegated to digital channels – gone are the face-to-face interactions many banks rely on to build relationships with their customers.

While the format of interactions has changed, customers still expect much from their banks. Your customers want to feel assured that you know who they are and the history of their relationship with your bank, that you value their business and that you can help them resolve any issue or concern they may have.

The digital nature of interactions during this crisis can make it difficult to fulfill these emotional and functional needs while delivering exceptional experiences. Developing and delivering personalized interactions to your customers can help lessen the strain and frustration customers feel during this troubling time. Personalized interactions will also help strengthen your relationship with your customers, leading to improved loyalty and increased product utilization.

One way of showing your customers that you know them, value them and are ready to help them is through hyper-personalized interactions. Personalized interactions allow banks to fulfill their customer’s functional and emotional needs and, in turn, lead to benefits to your organization as well. The impact of these benefits is felt exponentially during times of crisis.

By delivering personalized experiences, you are positioned to:

  • Improve customer experience: Personalized experiences are often faster, more convenient and more enjoyable for customers.
  • Build trust and loyalty: Demonstrating that you know your customers and have their best interests in mind can help build trust and loyalty.
  • Reduce stress: Personalized interactions are more likely to eliminate potential pain points, put your customers at ease and help them avoid unnecessary stress.
  • Streamline resolutions: Personalized interactions often lead to faster, simpler resolutions to customer concerns, which can improve customer experience.

Personalization has the potential to dramatically improve your customer retention efforts, assist in new customer acquisition and increase wallet share – especially as customers deal with confusion, fear and anxiety associated with the pandemic.

Developing a personalization strategy

Developing and orchestrating personalized experiences isn’t always easy. The most effective personalization strategies are developed based on specific personas and defined outcomes, with unique approaches for each communication channel.

To deliver truly personalized experiences, it is important to:

  • Develop a 360-degree view of the customer: To develop an effective personalization strategy, it is important to fully understand your customers, the experiences you currently deliver and the channels and technology necessary to support personalized interactions. This means heavily relying on data regarding each customer, their journeys and more. Ensure that all customer data is stored and accessed in a single record, and that all staff members are working from the same record when developing personalization strategies and actively supporting customers.
  • Develop customized journeys: Personalization goes far beyond simply displaying a customer’s name on a web page. To be truly impactful, you must personalize the entire customer journey, including each step a customer takes to engage your brand. Use customer data to map customer journeys and identify opportunities for personalization. Focus on developing customer-centric journeys, or journeys that put the customer’s needs and best interests first and break down the silos of your organization.
  • Leverage technology: The delivery of personalized experiences often requires multiple technology solutions working together. For example, your contact center and CRM solution must work in tandem to drive a personalized chat interaction. Identify the technologies necessary to support your personalization strategy. Ensure these solutions are up to the task – if not, explore upgrades or integration opportunities.

While developing your personalization strategy, carefully consider the future of your business and the evolving expectations of your customers as you develop a personalization strategy.

Remember that while customers are likely to still desire face-to-face interactions, more and more experiences will continue to shift to digital channels.

By considering current and future need and planning for them, you will create a strategy that is viable during COVID-19 recovery and well into the future.

Jamie Gomoll is senior client strategist and Kurt Schroeder is chief experience officer at Avtex Solutions.