Nowadays, anyone can easily observe how consumer needs and expectations are changing dramatically across industries. Even at banks, customer interaction in private customer business has to be redesigned, digitally, pragmatically, and personally.
All you have to do is look at yourself: in daily life, we demand more and more from products and services as well as from the experiences associated with them. Our changes in behavior and increased expectations are primarily shaped by the offers from companies such as Uber, Amazon, or Spotify.
But this development affects all areas of the consumer ecosystem, which means that banks, at least in the private customer business, can no longer rest on their current market dominance as they have to reinvent themselves.
The financial sector has made many changes and, for example, introduced user-friendly interfaces for mobile banking. For the most part, however, these changes take place selectively, without fundamentally addressing the underlying needs of customers, rethinking processes, and creating a holistic customer experience.
In order to remain relevant in the lives of customers, banks need to better understand what they actually expect from them. The best way to do it is by studying customer journey map templates for banks and improving customer experience. Only on this basis can the institutions organize future interactions with their customers in a targeted and proactive manner. There are three fundamental principles that must be observed in this regard:
1. Use Value-Creating Interactions With the Right Frequency
New technologies such as chatbots, predictive learning, in-app support, push messaging and others offer the possibility of better and more frequent contact with customers. However, these technologies are hardly used by banks.
Often digitization is misinterpreted as a possibility to reduce the interaction with the customers. Just because customers place their capital investments to a certain extent in the hands of an algorithm, it does not necessarily mean that they do not want to be involved and do not want to be kept up to date.
Customers even expect more frequent interaction and more transparency. Today, however, banks usually contact their customers with digital content that is impersonal and offers little added value.
In order to remain relevant, banks must deal with their customers in a way that goes well beyond the necessary and standardized interactions and offers real, situational, properly dosed added value. This is the only way you can create a positive, consistent, and, above all, sustainable experience for your customers.
2. Solve Customer Problems Quickly
Customers want the whole process to be as smooth and simple as possible. This means that companies must also anticipate future questions or problems. When these occur, the customer should feel that the bank does everything to help him/her out. At the moment, however, one often experiences the opposite.
When you reach the Service Center, you are asked to enter your account details at countless touchpoints. This process is tedious and time-consuming. When the contact is finally made, the customer service representatives should be able to solve questions that go beyond a predefined catalog.
Instead of holding the customer responsible for not adhering to the predefined processes, the bank should work on a solution. Both common and unusual problems need to be anticipated and dealt with empathy, common sense, and pragmatism. And that’s when customer journey maps can be of great help. If you have never mapped the customer journey before, you can take a look at templates of customer journey maps for banking before getting started.
3. Treat Customers as Individuals
Technology can be an excellent way of setting up more (and better) touchpoints for customers, but there is also the risk that the customer’s inner bond with his bank will be dissolved. Even young bank customers still need personal advice, regardless of how flawlessly the other services offered work and how well the automated interaction is managed.
Capable and motivated employees, who act as real ambassadors for their bank, remain a key factor and play an increasingly important role in modern banking. Such employees help bring the brand to life and build a stable relationship with the customer.
The interaction does not necessarily have to be branch-based, but can also take place via modern formats such as video chat – but in any case, it should be a clearly defined, independent, dosed component in the customer experience. So technology should be seen as a way to improve and develop existing relationships. It should not be used as a substitute for high-quality human interaction.
The challenge for banks is to regain relevance in people’s lives. The changing expectations of customers, which are defined by other industries, must be taken into account. The established banks can certainly play a role in this change, but to do this they have to introduce fundamental changes. They have to become more digital and pragmatic, but at the same time be able to offer personal advice in the right places.
These three principles should be intertwined in such a way as to create a consistent yet differentiating customer experience. If this fails, banks will continue to lose their relevance and will be quickly replaced by new, more flexible players in the private client business.