Over the years banking products have become more and more commoditised. The number of players in the market has also increased. There are two levers that a bank can use to differentiate their proposition to grow market share and profitability. The first lever is Relationship which can be strengthened by building trust. The other one is Service which relates directly to customer experience.
It is no coincidence that there is a renewed strategic focus by CEO’s on Net Promoter Scores (NPS) as a key business performance metric. NPS measures customer experience and it is widely reported that it can credibly predict business growth.
Below are some examples of customer experience trends:
1. Omnichannel Customer Service
In the past, service hours were restricted to the period from nine to five, with support simply not available outside these ‘working hours’.
Customers have now been enabled with a tool set to operate 24x7 with convenient multi-product, multi-language support that is available over the phone, via a website, on a mobile app or in a branch.
While it will be important for banks to continue to invest in more functionality across digital channels, what is becoming more important is providing an omnichannel service experience. This means banks must provide the customer with consistent, integrated and seamless experience across all customer touch points.
2. RPA, AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain, and Chatbots will grow
Banks have progressively adopted robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), block chain and machine learning, which will continue to revolutionise customer service experience.
Chatbots will provide intelligent and personalised conversational experiences, while instantly solving the customer's query 24x7.
Blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency, accuracy, security, transparency, and execution speed will see this technology get more acceptances.
To date, banks have primarily used RPA to focus on operational processes; however RPA has real front-office potential as well. By automating functions in contact service centres, banks can reduce errors of manual data entry, reduce rework, decrease complaints, improve efficiency, and hence allow for greater focus on listening to the customer and providing more effective solutions.
3. Personalised Customer Experience leveraging Big Data
Big data as a strategic CX lever is nascent although evolving very fast. At this juncture there needs to be a greater weightage of effort on cleansing data versus analysis of data. The pendulum will swing overtime but due to the sheer magnitude of data, and the associated noise in databases and legacy systems, banks need to ensure that analysis is being conducted on credible information. This will help avoid falling into the trap of ‘rubbish in rubbish out’ due to incorrect decisions being made on inaccurate data.
Ultimately, to be a leader in the RPA and AI space banks will need to be able to accurately predict and deliver relevant experiences to customers at the individual level and across channels in real time.
4. Digital Trust is Crucial
Digital trust and privacy will be critically important to the customer and the CX. The amount of private, personal, confidential data banks gather must be protected. In a time of data breaches, regulators all over the world continue to focus on customer data privacy, and it is therefore imperative that CX leaders make cybersecurity measures a top priority.
Banks can play a role in educating customers on cyber security as they have invested heavily in expertise, resources and technology. By bringing the customer on the journey will not only help them protect their organisation but will further build trust with the bank.
5. Better Customer Experience via Relationship
There is an emerging theme of non-revenue generating tasks and servicing being realigned from the frontline to operations. Furthermore, banks are adjusting their operating models to reflect the structure of the clients they support. One example is the regional treasury centre (RTC) that clients have moved toward to benefit from multi-country, centralised support and coordination. Equally on the bank’s side, centralisation of servicing for multi-country and multi-products sets out to achieve this same objective.
While AI-powered chatbots will be used to respond to simple customer queries, humans will be required for more complex queries. Developing deep and meaningful customer relationships as part of the CX will require a human touch. Today customer service has evolved from being viewed as back-office function to a trusted business partner.
Empowering customer service teams to engage with customers in new ways by leveraging insights from AI data tools, will enhance relationships with customers and boost loyalty. Creating customer-centric cultures by training employees to focus on the quality of customer interactions, as measured by customer retention and feedback, will become increasingly more important.
Today’s customers are smarter, better informed and more empowered. With more competition and capability in the market, customers have come to expect more servicing support resulting in a higher level of service being provided in the base tier. For the most prized customers this means that they will be up-tiered and receive an even higher standard of service including service management and regular service reviews.
Until recently Fintechs were viewed as disruptors, nibbling away at the market share of traditional financial institutions with their innovative and fast to market solutions. Fintechs have now been embraced as partners, having been invited to work together with banks and playing to each other’s strengths to collectively meet the rising demands of tech savvy customers. Institutions that carefully select and embrace the right fintech partners are expected to continually enhance and differentiate their CX proposition.