The customer banking experience has recently seen a major shift, with new changes and advancements in financial technology making big impacts in digital security and fraud management. In the last few years, the world’s biggest traditional retail and commercial banks have invested a combined $1trillion in digital business transformation efforts. Furthermore, while the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the only catalyst for change and disruption for consumers and financial services companies, it was a major accelerant.
Matt Fry is a Vice President of Customer Experience (CX) Strategy focused on financial services, fintech and InsurTech customers at Sitel Group. Prior to joining Sitel Group, he led organizations that provide digital consulting, predictive analytics and omnichannel CX solutions for Fortune 500 and disrupter clientele.
Here he shares his thoughts on how fintech is transforming the retail banking customer experience.
What did the pandemic highlight?
In the wake of the global pandemic, businesses and end consumers saw the latent need for solutions that operated on their terms. As the SMB and startup marketplace rushed to harden online infrastructures, the availability of flexible, bespoke payment, banking and related ecosystems outpaced the demand for homogenous legacy solutions. SMB and startups leveraged this already established network because it met them on their terms: timeliness, flexibility, scalability and personalisation.
Similarly, consumers demanded an even greater level of personalisation, options and flexibility in their relationships with financial services firms. It wasn’t the increase in consumer online purchases alone that led to the explosion of fintech platforms; it was the expressed need from consumers for buy now pay later options, flexible loans, lower rates and services without fees.
So, what are banks doing to compete?
Today’s consumers operate in a ‘digital-first’ world, expressing the need for convenience, personalisation and accessibility. With today’s marketplace of competing banking products, it is no longer enough for traditional banks to provide good service or to have the most convenient branches. Banks that are leading the race to acquire, retain and grow their share of consumers’ wallets have grasped the need to provide services that are seamless, personalised and available 24/7 on the channels consumers already spend time on. Simply put, those that treat each touchpoint as an opportunity to make (or break) a connection with their customers – win.
To meet the demands of modern consumers, traditional banks are now moving “beyond the branch” to offer online experiences that balance innovation, convenience and customer-centricity. Optimising the customer journey across multiple digital touchpoints represents a significant opportunity for traditional and newer banks alike to gain a competitive advantage, increase customer retention and continue building brand loyalty.
So, how can they deliver a smooth customer experience?
- Firstly, they need to understand the customer. Fortunately, banking and financial service providers are sitting on a gold mine of data that help them do just that, including detailed information into the customer’s interaction preferences, propensity insights and buying behaviours.
- Secondly, leveraging this data with speech and text analytics technology can provide a 360° view of the customer journey; unlocking customer pain points and identifying opportunities to adapt the overall experience.
- Finally, in the battle for customer loyalty, banks need to meet their customers where they are—literally. An integrated omnichannel strategy is key to driving customer satisfaction while delivering operational efficiencies for the business, allowing leaders to route low-complexity interactions to self-service channels, leverage AI for repeatable tasks and common queries (such as checking a balance) and reserve live agents for high-complexity and value-creation interactions.
What does the future of fintech disruption look like for banks?
No traditional banking product is safe from disruption; as a result, traditional banks are having to adapt more quickly and with more customer-centric precision. To compete in today’s disruptor landscape, banks are having to become more agile within core systems, but more importantly, in their efforts to unearth silos of customer data trapped in product and channel-specific sources. By moving to a single customer view across products and channels of engagement, organisations are able to analyse and extract actionable customer insights.
Capturing this information and ensuring it moves with the customer between touchpoints and engagements is only possible through the support of omnichannel engagement platforms, which include platforms that capture information in real-time and empower greater customer engagement and personalisation. This personalisation ultimately goes beyond upsell/cross-sell recommendations to include customer treatment tactics that lead to connections and lasting relationships with banks.
In fintech, focusing on the customer to deliver what they expect, how they expect it and when, across channels, is what separates winners from those who fall behind. Therefore, banks need to use the data at their disposal to create personalised customer experiences at each stage of the customer lifecycle and via all channels of interaction.