Future-proofing banking to be more customer centric

Banking is at the forefront of digital transformation and it’s still one of the world’s biggest institutions, with customer loyalty surpassing many other markets. But this is built upon a bank’s ability to be customer centric, making customer’s lives easier and creating a seamless customer journey.

An Engage Hub study in 2017 found that, on average, 48% of UK customers were considering switching their current account due to a poor customer service experience. And with mobile apps and online banking quickly becoming the preferred method for account management, customers are finding ways to avoid future negative experiences.

In July 2016, the British Banking Association (BBA) found that UK customers use mobile banking apps more than 7,610 times a minute – four billion times a year. But branches still haven’t disappeared; they simply have a new role to play. The number of overall customer interactions with their bank is expected rise from 2.3 to 6.3 times a month in 2021. So, banks need to focus on reducing friction, increasing convenience and building a customer centric culture.

How branches are changing

Mobile is at the heart of today’s digital lifestyle and customers have grown accustomed to the speed, convenience, and highly personalised user experience. They engage with brands at multiple touch points, including bank branches: customers still need to be interviewed to apply for a loan or mortgage; businesses need to process cash; and members of the older generation routinely visit their bank.

Branches maybe taking a different strategic path to improve their offering but visits are predicted to fall to 185m in 2021 – down from 476m in 2011. This creates a unique opportunity for banks to create a unifying force between physical branches and digital banking.

A 100% digital experience has serious security risks; so many customers are using digital alternatives for services that don’t require visiting a branch for a high level of personalised service. But banks need to strike a balance between adequate protection and a five-star customer experience. By making both touch points customer centric, banks can receive a high amount of praise and retain more customers.

Customer centric service

Gathering feedback is essential to reveal insights and the resources needed for banks to succeed. From the first touch point, the customer experience connects to every online, mobile and physical interaction, through to gathering real-time feedback.

Learnings from a customer journey can be implemented into the business to reduce friction and remove inefficient processes. In-branch, the difference between a seamless customer journey and a bad one is affected by how they connect to the service and their perception of whether they’re getting a personalised service, including the right expertise, offers and promotions.

Improving personalisation and ensuring that branches can become ‘experience centres’, will complement, unify and improve the customer experience. To take this on, some banks are deploying Internet and location-based applications, to enable customers to locate other branches, schedule appointments and prepare for a visit.

The future of in-branch banking

If banks can increase the positivity around their brands, they can generate customer loyalty, investment and focus on being customer centric. They can embrace an omnichannel strategy, using technology to reduce friction across all points of the customer journey.

The convenience and speed offered by mobile and online banking will expose banks that don’t adapt to changing customer expectations in this digital age. Branches need to change to add value, enhance the customer centric experience, and measure customer satisfaction.

Read more in our eBook on The Future of In-Branch Banking >>