You can find out many things about customer experience in retail banking, when you talk to clients in the banking sector on a daily basis like I do. I am often asked to share observations regarding customer experience trends. We operate in 120 countries and things may be different depending on the part of the world you are living in, but many things are similar, nevertheless. In the following, I would like to share my outlook on trends and driving factors in retail banking.
Customer behavior transformation
Taking a look at more recent trends in retail banking, we can observe that customer behavior has changed considerably in the last five years. You can’t assume anymore that customers will take the same kind of rational decisions as before. Previously, we would have said that customers purchased a product, whereas now they purchase an experience. What that means in practice, is that they are looking for a bank that highly values time and communicates other values that the customer associates with the idea of a great customer experience.
This transformation in customer behavior in the banking sector is happening worldwide and requires that banks adapt their retail network to meet these new needs. To help explain what consumer banks can do to keep up the pace with transformation, I will tell you more about the three main drivers that push these new customer experience needs in retail banking.
Banking omnichannel: The seamless experience
The omnichannel seamless experience is the strongest driver and trend in retail banking. You can read more about omnichannel banking here. In the omnichannel experience, we see that appointment booking plays the most important role. Globally, banks are implementing appointment booking to make the customer journey seamless and to provide the customer the possibility to come to the branch at a time that is convenient for them. And most importantly, to make the customer journey safe. With appointment booking, you can plan staffing in advance and spread out the visits of customers over the day and over branches, to avoid peaks and keep the branch experience positive. Of course, internet banking, mobile app integration, self check-in service, and other features are also important to the omnichannel approach.
Banking experience: Personalization
Today’s customers don’t come into a branch to get service that often, so banks have very few opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell to the customer. Online channels such as websites are not optimal for up-selling or cross-selling; We are humans and trust other humans. Additionally, only bank staff members with high expertise can do efficient up-selling and cross-selling. Making the experience personal is very important then, to get customers to come into the branch. If you can manage that you will increase your up-selling and cross-selling possibilities and in turn increase the customer experience.
Branch transformation: Efficiency
The final key driver I see is efficiency, in particular the efficiency of the branches. Today it is really costly to keep a branch open. With increased costs for social distancing and security, efficiency for both staff and customers is even more important. With a customer journey management system in place, the efficiency will be improved for the staff, for the bank, for the branch, and in the end also for the customers. With a smooth and efficient customer journey, customers will not have to wait, and staff will be effectively used. As customers come into the branch, they will be directly and safely served by staff members and get a positive experience which will hopefully make them stay as loyal customers to the bank.
Given these three main drivers, you might find it interesting to drill deeper into how banks can address these new types of customer experience situations. If you are interested to learn more, you can download the Retail Banking Guide to read about how banks can optimize the omnichannel customer experience to increase business opportunities.