The only thing advancing faster than technology is consumer expectations. Thanks to consumer technology giants like Amazon and Uber and rising UK fintech stars Monzo, TransferWise and Nutmeg, the components of a great digital experience have been redefined.
These companies have moved the goalposts beyond sleek user interfaces to include features and functions that support customers’ individual needs and lifestyles. In addition, our “always on” society has created an expectation for everyday services, including banking, to be constantly available and accessible through a relevant and compelling digital experience.
A recent report from Fiserv based on a commissioned survey of 1,000 customers across banks and building societies revealed 82% of UK consumers expect their financial service providers’ digital experience to be equal to or better than those offered by consumer technology companies.
There is a clear appetite from customers for frictionless, transparent and readily available digital financial services, and a true opportunity for financial institutions to empower customers to live a better financial life.
Here are five key digital experiences that banks and building societies can rely on to help retain and reinvigorate customers.
1 Offer account access flexibility and control
Most of the Fiserv survey respondents stated a preference for going online to manage their account (40%) compared to talking on the phone (32%) or going to their branch (27%). In fact, 79% of respondents expect online channels to become even more important to how they manage their finances, from account opening, to saving, to speaking to an advisor online.
Bank and building society customers want the same seamless experience when they access their digital account as they do when they book a ride with an app or buy an outfit with next-day delivery.
Customers now place a premium on the experience they receive, seeking the control and flexibility to plan, budget and spend better. They expect digital services from their bank or building society to meet even more of their individual needs as they integrate financial services into their everyday digital lives.
2 Provide consistent experiences across every channel
Customers interact with their banks in a variety of ways that can shift from day to day. Banks and building societies can leverage data to gain a deeper understanding of customers’ behaviour on every channel and optimise services to adapt and improve the experience. By considering needs and preferences, financial institutions can provide a tailored and seamless experience no matter where the customer is or what channel they are using.
3 Simplify the authentication process
New expectations for ease of use mean customers expect frictionless service from their bank or building society. Frictionless banking means making the complicated simple to ensure every customer interaction is straightforward and intuitive.
A particular point of friction for customers is the difficulty they experience when trying to authenticate and sign into their account, with 43% of all survey respondents saying they are dissatisfied with the user-friendliness of the authentication and sign-in processes of their bank or building society.
This challenge can be addressed by leveraging customers’ mobile devices to enable authentication, replacing fobs and card readers to deliver better, smoother experiences. Financial institutions can integrate new technologies such as biometrics into authentication processes to deliver enhanced security and greater convenience.
4 Leverage digital channels to connect customers with relevant financial products and services
The emergence of non-traditional providers gives consumers more choices and the opportunity to engage with brands they believe will meet their digital needs. To stay ahead of the competition, banks and building societies can use data to optimise services based on a deeper understanding of how customers behave and where they are in their financial lives.
Excellent digital experiences go beyond simply facilitating the needs of the customer. These experiences can add real value by making it easier for customers to buy and use services they might not otherwise consider, or even realise are available. More than half (54%) of all survey respondents said they would be more likely to use additional services from their current financial services provider if they could sign up and manage them easily online.
The key is to make sure that customers are presented with relevant services and that those services are presented at the time of need. In this way services are perceived as needed and valuable rather than as off-putting or annoying.
5 Support customers to organise their financial goals
Customers want to feel as if they are in control of their finances. When customers engage digitally with their bank or building society, they want to gain insight into their money and be able to manage their own account. This means the onus is on those providing financial services to create experiences that leave customers feeling informed and empowered.
Utilising cloud applications and automation tools can help quickly identify customers’ needs and preferences and enable financial service providers to create tailored services for various customer groups, helping them achieve better control and management of their finances.
The true opportunity in digital lies in empowering customers to live a better financial life, no matter when, where or how they access and manage their account. By offering services that are flexible, easy to access, and consistent across every channel, financial institutions will position themselves to flourish in the digital age of consumer expectations.