The customer experience in the banking sector is one of the aspects of the service offered by banks that will become increasingly important in the future. In fact, transforming a simple exchange of services into a truly relevant experience with high added value is an effective way of attracting new clients and forging a stable and lasting bond with current ones.
This is all the more true in the banking sector, where the services offered are not immediately understandable and lenders are not always able to easily differentiate themselves to consumers.
Often, in fact, proximity still plays an important role in the choice of the bank, both in terms of the territory (to have a feeling of closeness, even physical proximity to the bank thanks to the various branches) and of knowledge (often, banks are considered “family” and manage the savings of several members of the same household).
To move forward and differentiate themselves from the competition, it is therefore necessary to push on this aspect, using all the weapons available, especially the digital ones.
What is the customer experience?
Before understanding how to deliver a quality customer experience in the banking industry, we must first understand what is meant by the “customer experience.”
The customer experience is the way a company interacts with its customers at every stage of the buying process, from marketing, to sales, to customer service and every step in between (source: Oracle). In other words, the customer experience is the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with a brand.
But interactions are not just actions or activities in which the customer plays the role of agent; they also include a series of aspects, i.e., the sensations, emotions, and perceptions that the customer experiences while dealing with the bank. Among other things, these latter aspects are very often decisive and ultimately influence the decisions and choices of consumers, who, even without realizing it, develop specific opinions and ideas about banking institutions without being able to identify the precise cause.
Therefore, any bank that wants to offer a great customer experience must work with both the rational and irrational aspects in order to convince and satisfy consumers on multiple levels. It may go without saying, but in order to hold these two aspects together and make the most of them, you first need to know your customers well and the state of the art within the industry in order to identify people’s expectations.
Space and time, the first two coordinates of a good customer experience in banking
As always, everything starts with data, or at least with a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the context, which in this case provides interesting information.
It was recently observed that more than half of millennials would be willing to change banks on the condition that they offer better mobile or digital capabilities. At the same time, however, digitized consumers say they miss the personalized service that only a direct, physical relationship can provide through live operators.
To this, we would add that 9 out of 10 consumers consider having a fast and immediate answer is “important” or “very important” when it comes to asking a question and receiving an answer from the customer service that resolves the issue.
The same consumers– 30% of them– consider that they feel frustrated when they ask for help from customer service and find themselves having to wait or needlessly repeat the same processes and requests without actually resolving the problem. We can draw some considerations from these statistics.
The first concerns time: when it comes to building a good, effective customer experience, it’s essential to ensure perfect time management. This means that the customer, regardless of the stage they’re in, must not have the feeling of wasting time or spending time unnecessarily. In a sense, it’s the same thing that happens on the internet: if a page doesn’t provide an immediate response, the user quickly abandons it with a sense of annoyance. Likewise, if there’s no immediate, effective response from customer service, the entire customer experience may be permanently compromised.
The second consideration is that, when we talk about the customer experience, the space where it takes place — obviously the digital one–is important. A customer experience in the banking sector is effective and truly relevant only if it is developed in a digitized context, i.e. one where a customer can perform most actions directly with a mobile device.
Among other things, this is in line with a certain trend that has been observed for some time now, namely that linked to the growing need for autonomy on the part of all customers. In Italy alone, it is expected that by 2022, the number of so-called self-directed customers will increase by seven percent, in other words, those who seek and choose products and services independently.
The customer experience, therefore, must also be built taking this into account: agreement on the immediate response from customer service, but we must also leave space for customers. Indeed, we must build a space where they are able to navigate to perform the actions they want.
The customer experience in banking is also about personalization
However, the statistics say that one item should not be ignored if you want to build a truly high-level customer experience: personalization.
One mistake that you must avoid is thinking that the efficiency provided by digital solutions is enough to satisfy customer expectations. In fact, it’s not the case. On the contrary, personalization and the human element still play an extraordinarily important role, even within the banking sector.
On the other hand, this aspect was also noted in a previous post about the most recent marketing trends: people and their specific needs will increasingly be at the center of brands and their marketing strategies. This will take place, in terms of relevance, of the logic of business and profit.
In this sense, it is not surprising that the digitization of services alone is not enough and that every bank must come to terms with the renewed need on the part of customers to have a direct and human relationship, especially after such a delicate period as the one we have and are still experiencing..
Covid also increases the importance of a personalized relationship
There’s no denying that the recent pandemic has greatly affected the way banks do business.
In most cases, Covid has given a strong impetus to digitization, pushing banks to rethink their internal organization (smart working is now a reality that is difficult to eliminate for many banks) and the type of services offered, especially by exploiting mobile devices and highly integrated touch point systems in an omnichannel perspective.
But there is one aspect of the pandemic that has gone unnoticed and which, instead, is important: the increased need to deal with reliable brands, perceived as close and able to treat customers as people, reserving a treatment that is perfectly tailored to their needs.
This aspect has translated into a trend – one that is not yet fully exploited – that has also involved Italian banks. According to the results of a recent KPMG study, The New Consumer, on a sample of about 1,000 respondents per country, the prevalent psychological condition in Italy is anxiety and vulnerability (54%).
This has led Italian banks to modify their approach in order to make it more empathetic and to become a reliable reference point for customers in a period of considerable economic uncertainty, managing the forced migration of offerings to digital channels without losing focus on the human touch.
In order to continue to provide this proximity, in the future it is necessary to push personalization, making it a lever through which to build a solid relationship of trust with the customer as well as a formidable tool for involvement.
Personalize touchpoints and improve the customer experience in banking: email marketing
Without a doubt, one of the first things to personalize is email, which is absolutely one of the most important touchpoints for companies and banks in particular.
Email marketing is, in fact, an ideal tool for reaching your customers and addressing them directly, so sending standardized messages is undoubtedly a missed opportunity.
There are many ways to personalize a message and one of them is offered by Doxee itself, Doxee Pvideo, the customizable and interactive videos that companies can use to email their customers. The special feature of these videos is the possibility to combine all of its parts by personalizing them, from the texts to the banners, up to the images that can be chosen ad-hoc, to the audio library, and the voice guide in the movie.
In this way, the customer will receive an email with content that is built exactly for him and of which he can even choose the content, since each video is interactive, that is, it allows the recipient to make certain internal choices that change the storytelling of the video and make the customer experience surprising and immersive.
And that’s not all.
Thanks to the many combinations of content, the message can be modified from time to time, depending on the type of customer and the specific customer journey traveled by the customer.
Improve customer service to increase personalization
Another way to improve the customer experience through personalization is to enhance customer service.
As we have already mentioned, every customer expects their bank to be responsive in solving their problems. To offer this kind of service, artificial intelligence is undoubtedly an interesting tool to use, especially if it is used to personalize customer service. That’s why one of the most interesting applications are intelligent chatbots.
They can be very useful in the banking sector, provided that their potential is fully exploited without relegating them to a simple maintenance tool.
On the one hand, intelligent chatbots are perfect for giving quick and effective answers to users, since they are able to learn from the conversations and behaviors of customers and, therefore, to predict their needs and requirements at a later time.On the other hand, artificial intelligence systems such as those at the base of intelligent chatbots are ideal for collecting data about customers and enhancing the customer experience through listening and relating to them.
As noted by Forbes, to properly personalize banking services, a bank needs to create personalized conversations. This results in the need to collect lots of data and create relevant conversation opportunities.
Intelligent chatbots manage to fulfill both functions, provided that they have their own integrated and coherent role within the marketing strategies of the banking institution.
However, artificial intelligence, no matter how evolved, cannot completely replace the human relationship. In fact, it requires a good balance so that the information collected through chatbots can become the basis for the intervention of the operator, who, once he intervenes, already knows the customer, not making him feel like a stranger.
Personalization means being proactive
Another way that personalization can improve the customer experience is by making banks truly proactive players, redesigning certain aspects of their business to meet customers’ needs even before they express them.
For example, by mapping the customer journey of users, it is possible to understand how each customer interacts with the bank, their preferred channel, and the best mode of interaction, so as to be able to provide a product that is tailored to the customer.
In this way, the bank can move in advance and modulate its offer according to the financial profile of the individual consumer. Among other things, by enhancing customer information, many banks have begun to provide customized reporting services, thus playing a useful consultative role in growing the business and strengthening the bond of trust between consumers and lenders.
But proactivity is not just expressed in this way.
Through user tracking, you can also redesign your own website, resolving inefficiencies and making the user experience more fluid and immediate, even before users express criticism, which is a part of the customer experience.
Alternatively, you can also involve the users themselves, initiating collaboration, giving customers the possibility to freely modify their home banking according to their most frequent actions.
In this way, the user has the perception of not just being a customer, but above all a person who can build a truly valuable relationship with the bank, a relationship where his needs and requirements are also truly relevant.