The difference between retail “traditional” banking and its digital counterpart has, until recently, provided two quite different experiences for the customer. But as the world grows further apart, the way in which we access and handle money has become of increasing importance.
Matt Phillips, the Vice President and Head of Financial Services UK and Ireland at the financial technology provider Diebold Nixdorf, discusses this transition to digital, and how technology is being harnessed to meet the changing demands of the public throughout his guest-written piece here:
Retailers have long been learning about how we spend our money and how to make us spend more. They are using different communications channels to nudge us, whether it is an in-app discount code, tailored purchase suggestions, or the provision of home delivery services. Retail recognises that convenient communication results in increased customer interaction and ultimately sales. Convenience, multiple touchpoints, and a seamless experience are all traits of the retail industry that find a very natural home in the world of banking. Bringing these experiences to a new sector is not without challenges, but the opportunity is there for those who get it right. An opportunity to create the loyal customers many retailers have nurtured for years.
Customer expectations push companies to innovate and, at a minimum, keep pace with and learn from the best practices. Today’s banking industry is feeling the pressure to keep pace with the innovation the retail industry is delivering when it comes to customer experience. Where once the goal was to provide banking services on digital platforms, the focus is now on creating the best user experience for individual customers and their personal banking needs – stitching the digital and high street experiences together.
Despite the increase of digital banking use during Covid lockdowns, our research tells us that when seeking their own banking experience, the same proportion of UK consumers will continue using traditional banking services such as a cash point (33%) or in-branch (20%). There are also customers who prefer to use digital banking services with 63% using online banking in the last year and 43% using apps.
The data highlights that UK consumers continue to use multiple channels to access their banking services and that, at this moment, UK consumers are still keen to have a range of options when it comes to accessing banking services.
The Opportunity Is Now
As consumer behaviour continues to evolve quickly – particularly following the pandemic – now is the time for banks to seize an opportunity to reimagine how technology and in-branch experiences can truly work together. By amalgamating and innovating, to take advantage of a time of change.
But, where does a bank start when looking to embrace multi-channel integration? ‘Platformification’ will ensure that the customer journey is satisfyingly fluid as individual customers move between different channels in lots of different ways. A single platform will capture data we can continually learn and adapt from. The retail industry has led the way and provides inspiration for how this works in practice.
For customers, having familiar touchpoints that enable them to use their preferred channel, when they want it, will drive success. For example, if a customer had started a mortgage application online, why could there not be nudges or an adviser who could help them complete that process the next time they were in branch? A fully integrated service is about knowing your customer and being able to add value to their financial life in a smooth and unintrusive way.
Making Integration a Reality
So far, I have spoken of a goal, an experience that the banking industry should be moving towards. In reality, it is already starting to happen. The Diebold Nixdorf team has recently worked alongside TSB and Paysafe to launch a trial that enables customers to complete banking services such as deposits up to £450 in different community settings such as local shops or supermarkets. The trial has very literally bought the worlds of retail and banking closer together. The partnership has created a network of deposit-taking locations that can be the final point in an integrated banking journey. Allowing customers to use banking services in the most convenient way for them and providing a new way to ensure access to cash across the UK.
Benefits for the Bank and Customer Are Wide
As ever, customer loyalty and retention is of utmost importance within the industry. The competitive landscape of banks driving technology change to provide the best-integrated service will push the industry forward, ensuring customers are getting the best and most convenient services available to them.
Additionally, banks will be able to understand their customers more through increased information and data, leading to a continued positive cycle of being able to provide a more personalised service through leveraging the data.
Taking inspiration from the retail industry will continue to drive evolution in banking, with the aim of providing a simplified and convenient service for customers, while enabling the bank to even better meet customers needs and wants.