Are Banks Failing or Nailing Customer Experience?

April 4, 2018 Nicole Klemp

As consumers demand more convenience and self-service options, banks and other financial institutions (FIs) have been putting more emphasis on expanding and improving their digital delivery initiatives. A majority of these organizations recognize the need to put Customer Experience at the top of their priority list, but only 37 percent of institutions actually have a formal plan in place, and less than 25 percent have a dedicated department for the function, according to research from Digital Banking Report.

Lack of emphasis on technology investment

There seems to be a mismatch between what customers value most and what FIs think is most important. Over half the institutions surveyed believe ‘customer support/problem resolution’ is their top driver of customer satisfaction, with only 21 percent recognizing ‘technology’ as a top driver. But isn’t that thinking a bit … backwards? If customer needs were being met through better digital experiences, they wouldn’t need to rely so heavily on “problem resolution” in the first place. It’s like treating the symptoms when you could cure the illness.

Today’s consumer expects to do business when, where, and how they want. Many traditional FIs are failing to keep up with data-driven, mobile technology, and the demands of a growing millennial customer base. And the longer it takes for them to catch up from a technology perspective, the more ground they lose to “FinTech” companies that focus on specific financial niches — like Lending Tree and Rocket Mortgage. 

Find a good balance of digital and personal touches

While the number of people handling their finances online continues to grow, there are still some things many prefer to do in person. Seventy-one percent of all banking customers visited a branch an average of 14 times over the past year, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 Retail Banking Study. Traditional FIs should still see their in-person branch network as an advantage over their FinTech competitors, but must find a way to marry that personal service with better technology and automation.

“We are increasingly seeing that online interactions play an important role in the experience, as consumers’ expectations for transparency and communication increase,” Craig Martin, senior director at J.D. Power, told Information Management. “In many ways, the consumers’ broader online experiences are shaping their expectations for what is possible and how they wish to interact.”

Financial institutions are complex, and often made up of multiple business units and thousands of individual branches. When multiple legacy systems are being used to run the business and service customers, the experience can be slow and incohesive (and frustrating). A more streamlined technology strategy, based on a single cloud-based platform, can help FIs become much more agile.

Appirio works with financial institutions like yours to help transform technology strategies and create better experiences for customers. Check out our Digital Customer Experience Strategy Guide for tips on a multichannel approach to connecting with customers. 

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